It’s 8:30pm. I am lying by the swimming pool at the Maya Hotel, a trendy luxury five star hotel in KLCC, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I hear “Hello Miss Polly it’s 8:30”, announced by a friendly staff member of the Health Club, as she is passing by my lounge chair. That was my requested wake up call time, 8:30pm. Oh well. I want to keep sleeping. The sound of the water is so relaxing. I have only been asleep only 6 hours, since 2pm in the afternoon. But the health club and swimming pool closes soon and so does the KLCC shopping mall (Suria KLCC) where I need to buy my outfit and do other things. So I have to get up and start my day.
In 2015 I was living in Kuala Lumpur (KL). And while didn’t stay in an apartment or condo or house or anything like that, I didn’t feel homeless at all. Actually I was quite fond of my home of choice - the Hotel Maya KLCC Health Club & Spa. Living at a health club within a five star hotel or resort as opposed to living in a a conventional home was nothing new for me. In fact I had been doing this for many years in various places in Southeast Asia, after my separation from my ex husband.
I had consciously decided living this way was a actually a desirable and sensible way live, for several reasons:
- I don’t like to keep/own many possessions anyways and all my things can easily fit in a spacious locker. I usually prefer to throw away old and buy new all the time.
- I saw this as a really cost effective living arrangement as I could live in a five star facility with high standards of cleanliness and service, while paying only the cost of a fancy gym membership. For example, living in luxury-style 1 or 2 bedroom condo in KLCC might cost about $5000 per month, a monthly membership at a top level fitness club such as Mandarin Oriental’s heath club in KLCC (probably the most expensive in KL) was only about $1000 per month. Hotel Maya’s health club (also five star but not as prestigious or lavish as the Mandarin’s) membership was an even better deal at only about $200 per month. That a major price break from $5000!
- I always had naturally preferred being awake at night and sleeping in the day, so health club open hours were perfect for me! Example: Hotel Maya’s club was open from 6am-10pm , seven days a week. So I could arrive any time after 6am morning and stay ‘at home’ all day, away from crowds, sunlight and noise and pollution, etc., enjoy the peaceful environment, order coffee, food, whatever ( extra for food and drink of course), take lots of showers, use the steam room, sleep in a lounger by the pool (open air), get free bottled water, … many perks.
- I was looking for a friendly environment, and since was alone with no friends or family I could always have a pleasant conversation with the staff if desired since they are paid to be nice to all guests.
And so I had been living this way for years and I was not only satisfied with it, I was pretty much against normal living conditions. But often, as on this day I started describing at beginning of this article, I didn’t get to sleep early enough. I arrived pretty early at about 6:30am, but first I spent at least 2 hours washing myself and my possessions, meaning my dress, my flip flops, my credit card, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Anything that I bring home from outside always gets thoroughly washed and then, as the next step, either thrown away or placed neatly in a locker for future re-use. ( yes I even pre-wash garbage-to-be). Then after washing, I had headed downstairs to the Maya Hotel restaurant fancy breakfast buffet that was only about $15 for all you can eat. I didn’t need to take much, everything could actually be ordered a l cart style for the same price. I didn’t go to this breakfast every day, but often, when I felt like it. After breakfast I returned to the health club up stairs for more showering, swimming, yoga exercises, etc. Finally was asleep by 2pm. Things take me a while.
Ok, so now it’s 8:30pm. I need to get up. I don’t have any brand new dresses in my lockers (at Maya I used several lockers, and left them unlocked since the staff never checked on this). Only a couple of old dresses with imperfect memories attached were in the lockers. But I felt like starting completely new with new things that I have never touched before (that’s a common feeling for me, related to my ocd), so I planned to go to the KLCC shopping mall (Suria KLCC) before closing time(10pm) and buy a new dress at “Factory” store that sells my style (easy wash, easy dry, spaghetti straps, super smooth and simple mini dress).
I get up, take a shower, put on my bikini, swim a little, take another shower, brush and floss my teeth, use mouthwash, etc. Air dry a bit (I don’t like to dry with a towel as it makes me feel dirty), and then put a towel on to wear only, and head to the elevator and exit the hotel in a towel. Yes really I did this. I did this on various different days in the same way, although eventually Hotel Maya started charging me for the lost towels, which got a bit expensive).
I walked down the busy street with traffic jams at about 9:45pm at night all the way to the mall in nothing but a towel and with only a credit card in my hand. The walking time was about 10 minutes and I always walked really fast, because I was in a hurry to get something to wear as well as other purchases. The surprising thing is that no police ever stopped me and KLCC security never said anything to me on my may repeated visits.
Suria KLCC mall is a famous luxury shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur that’s located at Petronas Twin Towers, a famous landmark. It’s busy and has many entrances and I always chose the closest one. Many people are always leaving the mall at this time since it’s almost closing, so the door was always open. I head quickly walking/running up the escalator ( to level 4.). In front of the escalator on level 4 are the two shops I must buy at: Factory to the right, and Watsons drug store directly in front. I run into Factory shop all out of breath and put my credit card on the counter and exclaim ‘please wait for me while I go to Watsons. Just chose some dress for me and flip flops…you know my size dress size M, flip flops size 8-9. PLEASE wait because look at me no clothes, I’ll get arrested if you cannot help. “. The Factory staff just nods since they have seen my routine before. “What time is it?” They show me the time and I say “oh my god…ok just charge my card” as I point to a dress , “and then bring my card to Watsons please, otherwise they won’t let me back in to buy my stuff”. They agree and I head next door to Watsons.
I make it inside Watsons barely before 10pm (security of Watsons blocks new shoppers from coming in after that time). I quickly pick out my essential purchases: toothpaste, toothbrush, Liquid soap, foot cream, lipstick, listerine mouthwash, bottle of Watson brand water. I am very polite to the cashiers because they don’t like me and are usually (probably my annoying habit of being the last customer when they want to close up and insisting on not getting close to other shoppers because I obviously from my facial expressions see them as disgusting). I make it to the cashier and just in time the Factory staff appears with my credit card as well as a shopping bag with my new dress and another bag with my new flip flops. “ Thank you sooo much!” I say and I pay for my Watsons things and am promptly escorted out of the store,and the security guard of Watsons locks the door so the staff can get ready to go home.
So that’s great - I have my stuff for the day. Now I need to get back to Maya and sneak into the locker room that’s already closed so I can wash myself and new stuff and get myself ready for the night . I happen to know the locker room will be unlocked until the cleaners come in to clean about 11:00pm-11:30pm.
But first I need my contact lenses. For that I go down the escalator to level B1. I knock on the door of Optical88. The door is locked but staff still inside. They have my contact lenses that I previously purchased in a box of one day acuvue contact lenses -7.0). They come to the door and I take 4 pieces out. (2 pairs, both eyes are same power). That’s great I think - now I will be able to see! (After cleaning myself up first of course).
I walk outside of the glamourous Suria Mall using the main entrance that’s always open (office workers who work in offices above can access 24 hours). Out side the main entrance is the famous KLCC park with its giant man made lake. At night it’s lit up really beautifully and a popular spot for relaxing. It’s still very busy there at 10:30pm, but I only take a few minutes to take some deep breaths and pour water on my face using the bottle of water I brought from the Maya Hotel. Then I run back to the Maya Hotel and sneak in to the locker room of the health club before the cleaners come. After a super thorough shower of myself wilst washing of all the new items, I squeeze out my new dress very very much and put it on. I put on my clean flip flops, apply my clean lipstick, and then I head back to the lift (no one around still luckily). I exit Maya Hotel for the last time today with my possessions in hand (not just a credit card, but allow my washed purchases from Watsons).
I am now ready to start my day (night)! And I feel so clean, fresh and well put together! The whole series of events I just described was quite energizing actually. My first activity will be going to Starbucks to order many regular favorites and driving the staff there crazy as well. Then doing some yoga stretches outside Suria by the lake in the middle of the night. More on that and other typical nightly activities in another blog. Stay tuned!
Note: just in case you are wondering, this way of life I experienced in KLCC is no stranger than many many other daily routines I had in various locations during the period 2008-2018. After 2018, my lifestyle became a little more conventional but not much.