Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As I alluded to in my last post, we found Kuala Lumpur to be...how can I put this delicately...not our cup of tea. We started off on the wrong foot and kept hopping around on it until we left the city. I blame myself for this, really.

For one thing, Jason and I are not really city people. When we travel, we usually like to experience the natural environment and visit smaller towns. After being in Singapore, I think we needed a relaxing green respite. Instead we arrived in a huge city where it rained constantly and the people seemed rude.

Also, I got us lost. I'd booked accommodations for a few of our intended visits beforehand, which for the most part worked out fabulously. It enabled us to start off in "the" place to be and we didn't have to wander forlornly from hotel to hotel lugging our backpacks in the dwindling daylight searching for something within our budget. The unfortunate thing about this was that I read the directions to the hotel wrong.

We'd taken a bus from Singapore that could have dropped us off mere minutes from our hotel. Instead, we stayed on the bus until it drove all the way to the other side of the city. It was hot, sprinkling rain, we had no Malaysian money, no map of the city, and Jason had left his tennis shoes on the bus. And although this sounds bad, it was easier than almost any travel day of our Central American trip. Within a half hour we had solved our problems (minus the shoes) and were on the air conditioned light rail train to our hotel. However, the tone for our stay had been set.

Which isn't to say that KL is a terrible city; I liked it better than San Salvador. Of course I only spent a dozen hours there, shuffling between a sketchy hotel and a dodgy restaurant a bit shell shocked after a bus hijacking. So, I guess that's not a good comparison. :)

The saving grace in KL was our hotel - it was lovely. We also enjoyed the shopping - we acquired some great stuff, and the food - we ate at a yummy Muslim restaurant daily.

While poring over the pictures in order to choose some to post here, it looked like we had a good time. Although we did enjoy ourselves (as we usually do) because we were seeing and experiencing new things...I won't hurry back.

Not the best map, but it did it's job.

We stumbled across this nature reserve while walking in the general direction of the KL needle thingy.

That's what I was talking about. It's officially called the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower.

It's hard to see the color of these birds, but they're really pretty.

View of downtown KL from the needle thing.

Another view from the same spot of the Petronas Towers.

The park surrounding the Petronas was quite nice actually.

View from the train platform looking toward the National Mosque.

Peddling Street was around the corner from the hotel we were staying in. It was full of hawkers trying to sell everything from durian fruit to fake Jimmy Choo bags. Interesting to walk around, but the DVD sellers were persistent to the point of annoyance.

Mosque at night.

The food in KL was pretty tasty. We had some really delicious Chinese dishes as we were staying in Chinatown. Pictured above are fried dumplings and pepper chicken. Yum!

HotLink is a cell phone store. There was at least one shop on every block (possible exaggeration).

We took a public bus out to the Batu Caves on our last day there. The caves, or rather the largest cave, houses a Hindu temple. Apparently, it's one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. Indeed I did feel as though I was in India for a few hours that day.

Behind Jason and to the left of the big yellow statue, you can see the staircase up to the mouth of the cave.

Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu religion, so there were a lot of them wandering around the streets in many of the places we visited in Malaysia.

Up we went.

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My last breath of fresh air before entering the cave.

The cave is home to very aggressive monkeys, roosters, cats, pigeons, bats, and probably many more things that I didn't want to know about that day.

Opening in the top of the cave.

I was spooked by the monkeys, so I stayed close to the group.

This picture plays tricks with my eyes. My mind sees a Hindu Times Square, but no it's a souvenir shop selling very colorful religious souvenirs.

Ahhh, the air outside was so much better. It smelled of wet animal fur, feces, and urine inside.

The restaurant I mentioned eating at daily.

Their fish curry was one of my favorite dishes on the whole trip.

This is roti. I'm a sucker for anything bread-like. I even enjoyed watching it being made. The men throw balls of dough onto a counter, pull it into shape, and then fold some butter into it before it cooking it on a large griddle surface.

I just thought this was a cool picture that Jason took. Very colorful.

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