Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Robyn and my last day in Thailand passed, for the most part, in the Phuket airport.  We decided that with 7 hours to wait for the plane, we could probably solve some of the world's more pressing issues if we really talked them over enough.  We made a list of possible issues: world hunger, increasing disparity between rich and poor, things like that.  In the end, we decided to narrow our scope to personal goals for the coming year and found that we basically want to eat more carrots and go for long walks by the beach.  Looks like 2012 is going to be an easy year!

Fearing that the world would be a rather boring place if we solved all of its problems, the aiport staff shuttled us onto a plane and into another country in an attempt to divert our discourse towards more mundane subjects such as how to cross the street without getting hit by a bus and the likelihood of getting abysmally ill by drinking Malaysian tap water. 

Their plan worked.  We got into Kuala Lumpur and jumped onto a bus, arriving finally at our guesthouse by 2 am. 

It seems like the end of our trip is just on the horizon so we decided to really get our act together when it comes to seeing new places.  By the next morning, we had already resolved to pack our day with adventure. 

We started off at a big outdoor/indoor Central Market where I had my work cut out for me convincing Robyn not to buy a 17th scarf.  From there we headed into China Town, wandering up and down the streets.  The smells of curry and incense were everywhere and, more amazingly, the smell of sewage was nowhere.  Merchants came out of their shops as we passed, attempting to sell us bootleg videos or trying to get us to get a tattoo.  I wonder how often that works.  Who is convinced by a stranger on the street that they should get a tattoo?

China Town, Kuala Lumpur

China Town fruit stand

We popped in and out of temples and, when we saw its distinct pinnacles in the distance, we settled on a walk to the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world.  On our walk, we became more and more blissfully aware at how different this city was from Bangkok, Hanoi, or Saigon.  People could walk on the sidewalks as they were devoid of scooters.  The streets were clean and traffic obeyed street lights.  The architecture was very modern in places with a distinct Muslim influence, and it seems like most of the population holds strongly to its cultural heritage instead of discarding it in favor of westernity.  There is a large Indian population and the flavors of Indian life proliferate.

The Petronas Towers poke their little heads out

Almost there...

Made it!

We reached the Petronas Towers after a long and winding walk, spent some time wandering the very modern shopping center inside, and then headed to Little India for dinner.  I tried to be adventurous with my order, choosing things that were foreign to me with no regard to spiciness.  It paid off in a deliciously heated spread.  Robyn was a little nervous about her food which exhibited some strange colors and a tendency to ooze blood.  I think she'll be alright.


After dinner, we headed back to the towers to watch a free concert which ended up being 15 minutes of hand-drum jams and then an hour of handing out free plastic clappers, 15 minutes of drums, free t-shirts, etc.  We ditched out and went to a movie, Rio, which was a nice treat after walking all day.  We'd been dreaming of going to a movie theatre for some time and it definitely lived up to the anticipation. 

David J Parker

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