The Muddy Confluence
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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There are hundreds of shopping malls in KL, we spent a while wandering around Times Square, which has a rollercoaster running through it and a cheap food court on the top floor. Times Square also had an enormous revolving Christmas tree and people dressed up as snowmen and reindeer. I find all of this very funny, especially as we visited on a day when the UK was covered in a blanket of snow. There were signs up wishing everyone a snowy Christmas, things would have to be very wrong with Climate Change for that to happen in KL.
Merdeka square is where Malaysia's independence from the British was declared in 1957, Merdeka means independence and it's fitting for the Brits that the square surrounds a cricket pitch, with a pavillion on one side and a little cathedral (looks like it's been plucked from an English village) at the end. The other two sides of the square have more Malay/Moorish buildings. It was interesting to note the Islamic details incorporated into the buildings all around KL, stars in the design and the number 5 (5 tiers on the petronas towers for example) representing the 5 pillars of Islam. Near Merdeka Sq is the muddy confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers after which KL got it's name, and sitting on top of the meeting rivers is the pretty Masjid Jamek, the Friday mosque. I covered up and we went for a wander around. Neither of us have ever been into the grounds of a mosque before and it was very interesting, and peaceful.
Although not as charming as Little India in Georgetown, we found an excellent Indian vegetarian restaurant called Saravanaa Bhavan with delicious poori, stretched tea (poured from a great height) and much more. We remembered to wash our hands at the sinks first and use only our right hands to eat. When we left we asked for a card and it turns out they have a branch in East Ham !
Asian Heritage Row was almost totally shut down for refurbishment when we visited, but there was a great little restaurant where we had marsala tea and chicken curry.
On Monday we made our way to the hard to find Philippines embassy to sort out our final visas, only to be refused entry because we were wearing flip flops. We were not impressed and a little offended, but not to worry - we get 21 day visas on entry and can extend them when we get there (we were just being prepared).
Chinatown was nothing very special apart from the crazy Christmas decoration shops where you can pick up any type of bauble imaginable and even buy a ready decorated tree!
Finally we hopped on the monorail, simply to experience the ride, and travelled out to Kampung Baru, the Malay district. There was a strong stench of bins, we'll never get used to it! But the area was quiet and village like with small wooden houses dwarfed by the sky-scrapers all around.
On Wednesday night we were awoken by our fellow hostel dwellers at 3am when they can back from the Reggae Bar. At 4am we asked them nicely to keep it down, but at 6am they were still drinking and talking loudly about things they didn't understand (mostly politics) and we were very tired. After breakfast we wandered towards Chinatown and found the lovely Winsin hotel, where for about 5 extra Ringgits we had an en suite bathroom, tv and proper wifi in the room. We may be too old for hostels after all ! We checked out of the Back Home Hostel at 10am, there was another couple ready to take our room, so the staff didn't even seem to care - and the lads were still drinking beers and stumbling around ! The Winsin was bliss !