Thursday, March 10, 2011

Selamat Datang (Welcome) to Malaysia

I had a very tearful goodbye leaving New Zealand and a long delay to make things worse (only because I had plenty of time to sit in the Auckland airport thinking about my departure).  But I am happy to report I have now made it safely to Kuala Lumpur.

The Petronas Twin Towers
I arrived at 1am and decided to take my dad's advice and take a cab to the hostel in order to avoid the unknown dangers that could have been lurking behind every dark corner.  I got out of the cab in China town and although my last experience in Asia was in India more than 15 years ago, I recognized the smell and feel of the air before my foot hit the ground.  It's incredible what memories strong smells can conjure.  I made my way up to the second floor where I checked into my hostel.  I crashed safely in my bunk after 24 hours without any real sleep. I was exhausted.

On Wednesday I woke up to the hustle and bustle of the city.  Malaysia is a melting pot of people, particularly Indians, Chinese and Muslims have settled here over the years of growth.  It means that there are huge contrasts in the city and culture.  I opted for the hop on and off bus tour so that I could cover more ground in the two days I have.  I tried a small Indian stand for lunch, I toured the National Mosque and the orchid and hibiscus gardens, I chatted with the people on my bus and then, worn out, I returned to the hostel in the early evening.  And in case you are wondering...there really are motorcycles and scooters everywhere! 

Touring KL
Oddly enough the one thing I didn't expect (but foolishly should have) were all the Asians taking pictures.  Which seems stupid considering I'm in Asia.  They clearly use it as their practice ground because it was a struggle to get photos without them in it... except in Chinatown.  I guess that's like photographing a McDonald's they are everywhere.

Today I took the train out of the city to Batu Caves, a place of worship for Hindus.  It was quite beautiful once you got to the top but that may have had to do with the 300 steps that it required on a hot and humid day. 

Batu Caves
As I was leaving an "Indian gypsy" offered me an anklet for 28 Ringgits (approx. $10 USD).  He had slipped it on my ankle so I could see how it looked.  As I struggled to figure out how to unclasp it, the price continued to drop, and drop, and drop.  Pretty soon I told him I couldn't afford it with the 4 Ringgits I had in my pocket.  I was wrong.  He got 4 Ringgits and I received an unexpected lesson...even a 85% discount isn't unrealistic in Asia


  1. hi, my name is Aswad and i am from kuala lumpur, malaysia. how long will u be in the city? i hope u enjoy your stay. email me if theres anything i can help.

  2. oops forgot the email: