CitraWarna Malaysia - Colours of Malaysia

Trip Start May 18, 2003
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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, May 25, 2003

An early start today with a visit to the Petronas Towers. The view from the Skybridge was not as high as from the Menara Kuala Lumpur but still quite breath-taking. I wanted to have a quick peek into the Petronas Concert Hall at the foot of one of the Twin Towers but the security guard was not going to let me in without a pass. Boo-hiss!

Afterwards Daniel (a Canadian staying at my hostel) and I went down to the park outside the KLCC shopping mall. There was a children's paddling pool and Daniel went in to get his feet wet. The children there were having a whale of a time, at times like this you wish you were a kid again when the whole world seemed like a big playground.

Back at the hostel I met up with Maria and Jennie (from Sweden) and we all headed down to Merdeka square for the festival, stopping off at the bakery on the way to get some tasty buns. Once we got to the square it was already quite busy. Unfortunately we were not able to get that near to the royal enclosure and were about forty yards from centre stage (where I was last night).

CitraWarna Malaysia - Colours of Malaysia - opened with the Malaysian national anthem once the King and Queen arrived. A jolly tune with a samba beat, if I heard it on the radio I would not guess that it's a national anthem. Having said that, after hearing the Swedish national anthem later in the evening I wouldn't have guessed what that song was for either.

It was the King's birthday today also, so it was a double celebration in the city. I got the feeling that Malaysians are quite keen on their royalty. There was certainly a lot of flag waving and everyone was having a good time.

This event marked the start of a month long festival of Malaysian culture, so perfect timing for me. There were over 5000 performers in the parade, some of them singing and all of them dancing. They were dressed in the traditional costumes from their respective states in Malaysia, very diverse but all very colourful. Each act show cased the unique cultural aspects of each state with varied music and dances. One act included blind-folded dancing in between fast moving bamboo sticks.

In my life I can't remember witnessing anything quite as fantastic as this colourful parade, it was the best possible start to my tour of Malaysia - introducing me to the variety of culture and traditions present in this amazing country. It will take something quite special to top this on my travels.
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