My skin itched everywhere. This uncomfortable condition was partially caused by the layer of salty dried sweat on my skin, partly from my cracked, sunburnt skin, and partly from the bites of mosquitoes whatever insects had infested my mattress.
I was sweating in the shade, feeling nauseous from the smell of sewage and filth rising from the gutters and laying fallow in the thick humidity of the windless street. Smoke from my cigarette refused to dissipate, clinging to my skin and crawling back up my nostrils.
I was suffocating. “I’d do anything for a breeze,” I thought to myself.
Desperate for an escape, with hours to kill before my flight back to Kuala Lumpur, I wandered into Underwater World, the local aquarium in Langkawi.
I was actually really impressed with the place. they had Rockhopper penguins, sharks, stingrays, and marmosets, in addition to the usual selection of marine and freshwater fish. the place was quite, air conditioned, and clean. the snack-stop half way through even had a machine pumping out movie theater-style popcorn — you’d be surprised what sights, sounds and scents can remind you of home. A little taste of the west on this small island in Malaysia.
At the end of the aquarium walk, I was presented with the main attraction of the aquarium – the Weedy Sea Dragon. I’d seen these things before (maybe only on the Discovery Channel), but I took some time to really study this unique creature.They are like seahorses, but longer, with twisting, humped bodies that seem to randomly sprout seaweed-like appendages.They float arbitrarily through the water and seem to generally hate life.I mean, their entire existence consists of doing everything they can to resemble a floating piece of seaweed to thwart would-be predators while waiting a chance encounter with a member of the opposite sex so they can spew their respective gametes into the sea and hope for the best.What a life!
So I’m standing there, admiring this strange and beautiful thing, and thinking to myself, “why the hell does this thing exist?”
I was in awe of its absurdity.It made me wish I could ask Darwin how the hell a dragonish seaweedy anomaly like this could come into being. What was the point? and more importantly, what was the evolutionary path that led life take this form? Maybe god does exist and he was just feeling especially creative and mischievous that day.
It was splendid and ridiculous and weird.
And then I turned around to leave the aquarium and I saw something even more splendid and ridiculous and weird.
A one-armed Malaysian transvestite.
I shit you not.
He / She was ogling the Sea Dragons to my left with high-pitched giggles and one flamboyant, flailing arm. He / She wore an extremely low cut top, showing off her man-boobs.
I didn’t stick around to study this unique creature, but from what I could tell, she was originally a man and she was missing an arm. I accept all kinds of people for who they are, or who they want to be – but this one was really.. unique… and her squealing yammering voice was incredibly annoying.
Strange, but true.