Kuala Lumpur

Trip Start Aug 18, 2006
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133
149
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Traveler's home hostel

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kuala Lumpur was a mostly clean, reasonably well organised city. Once again I found myself trapped on an expressway for the last 10km into town. I'm sure there must be a way around this problem, but I've yet to find it. I found a hostel near chinatown and met a couple of backpackers. They needed some supplies, so we went 'shopping' in the bazaar of chinatown/little india (the area is historically chinatown. The population are Indian), where stolen goods (elsewhere available legitimately for a dollar) were on sale for 10dollars. In search of a drink, we found ourselves at the Reggae Bar, along with every other backpacker in KL.

Intending to explore KL, I set off on foot at 9am the following morning. I made it as far as the colonial area, where some fantastic grand islamic architechture outshines the colonial heritage, before the oppressive heat forced me underground. I decided the middle of the day was the time for exploring KL's modern quarter, and took a tube (frosty aircon) to the KLCC shopping mall (arctic aircon), where the well-heeled buy, well, heels. I managed to lose myself, (I've always had a talent for this. The shops all look identical, there's no natural light, no breeze and there are 6 identicle levels, how anyone keeps their bearings in malls I do not know). Eventually I found an exit (not the exit, but in the right ballpark) which brought me to  the base of KL's most famous landmark, the Petronas Towers. 3m taller than the Empire State Building, these are the tallest twin towers in the world, and were, until the 2006 completion of Taipei 101, and only according to certain definitions, the tallest buildings in the world. More importantly, they look stunning. They are sleek, rounded steel and glass constructions 88 stories high, with a two story 'skybridge' connecting the two towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. According to Wikipedia, they also have the worlds deepest foundations. (get me with the research!) My brief foray into the outside world to gawp at the towers revealed  that the sun had not gone away, so I returned to hibernate in the comfort and distraction of a cinema.

The following day I visited the smart, modern Masjid Negara, one of S. E. Asia's largest mosques. By wearing my 'town clothes'- Pakistani drawstring trousers and long sleeves, I was able to escape the fetching, somewhat cultish purple robe that anyone revealing an inch of wrist or ankle had to wrap up in. The mosque, though huge, was mainly smooth, open spaces. Impressive, but short on interesting nooks, so it only took ten minutes to look around.
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