Monday, April 8, 2013

Four Unexpected Visits

Last week, I was going about my usual Malaysian daily routines when several surprising events came to pass.

1. On very short notice, I was kidnapped by my friend, Nasir, and his wife, and taken to their home for several days.

2. During that time, Nasir's wife, who was expecting a child in late April, suffered a sudden medical problem and rushed off to the hospital. Luckily, the original condition was quickly resolved, but the doctors kept her for observation and eventually decided to induce her labor.

3. It was my pleasure to visit her during her long waiting time. I was happy to see that she was feeling better, and glad to chat with a slightly anxious first-time mother-to-be. But I was also quite interested in exploring a Malaysian hospital.

I will readily admit that I had preconceived notions about tropical hospitals. Open corridors, palm trees, blowing breezes, nurses in starched uniforms, serious security officers, pastel colored walls. Hollywood is responsible for filling my head with these images, and we all know that the movies are often full of half-truths and misconceptions.

But this time I was not disappointed. Hospital Sungai Buloh was everything I hoped it would be, and I'm so glad I got this unexpected opportunity to visit a place that normal tourists rarely see.

4. Thank goodness, a healthy baby boy was born to my friends about 24 hours after my visit. His unexpected arrival was several weeks ahead of schedule but babies are often full of surprises. Tahniah and congratulations to the happy new family!

Sungai Buloh. It means Bamboo River, and apparently, I pronounce it funny.

Get me inside to that air conditioning.

While I waited for visiting hours to officially begin, I wandered around taking photos. 

Lots of hustling and bustling going on by the front doors. 

Fountains in the courtyard.

Line mania. 

Honestly, everywhere I looked, I was haunted by the sense that I'd seen this place in a movie.

^ Love these open air hallways. I entertained myself by imagining similar corridors in a four-seasons country.  Just think of the snow drifts that would pile up along this wall in the winter. 

While I was wandering around, a security guard approached me. Uh oh. What did  I do wrong? Nothing. He only wanted to inform me that I could now go up to visit my friend in maternity. But how did he remember me? Oh yeah. Mat salleh. White woman.

No-nonsense nurse. She frightened me.

Time to go. Goodbye, Sungai Buloh! I won't soon forget my interesting visit.

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To find all the stories of my amazing adventures in southeast Asia, go here:

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