Shah Alam Madness

Trip Start Mar 08, 2010
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Trip End Sep 04, 2010


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Flag of Malaysia  , Selangor,
Thursday, May 13, 2010

We found a couchsurfer named Adida in Shah Alam willing to take us in after we returned from Pulau Tioman. We had already spent a week in Kuala Lumpur, so didn't feel the need to use Shah Alam (a suburb) as a base for the capital. We wanted to just check out the suburbs.

In Lonely Planet, Shah Alam is described as "a staunchly Muslim city, where all closes early and bars are illegal", which would naturally paint a negative image of the town for young backpackers. Boy did we see a different side! Our host was the most amazing, energetic, enthusiastic Malaysian we've met yet. She lives in a block of student apartments, surrounded by cheap restaurants and tea shops open 24/7. Malaysians dont take time off to eat. Even sleep is put off if there is the opportunity to eat delicious food, which there always is. 

Adida showed us the "Blue Mosque", Shah Alam's crown jewel and main (only) tourist attraction. It is gorgeous! The second largest mosque in SE Asia with the second largest religious dome in the world (they're second in a lot of things apparently) but the tallest minarets in the world at 430ft high. They sort of look like rockets. We didnt enter, although there are free tours available, we just sat outside and marveled at the beauty of this enormous building. It can hold up to 24,000 worshippers!

We arrived Wednesday, which apparently is discount movie ticket day everywhere, so we took advantage of 6 MYR tickets ($2) and saw Iron Man 2. I give it a C, but it was a good movie to watch in theaters because there was so much action. Good times. We have also been enjoying trying as many types of movie theatre popcorn as possible, and this theaters caramel corn gets an A.

The next day, Adida left early for work, but we slept in, dropped off our laundry at the laundromat next door and went exploring. Exploration led to a shopping day (perfectly natural with how many malls they have in this country!). We tested out 3 malls downtown, took some pictures of the Blue Mosque during the day, tried some yummy local food, bought a few things (we found an entire season of Law & Order for $10) and then went back to Adida's place to watch our new treasures. 

When Adida got home she took us out to dinner with some friends (at 10pm! I was starving) where we ordered "gearbox soup", which consisted of a cow hip bone, with some meat left on it and a straw in the middle of the bone to suck the marrow out (Terry & I both tried it - not so nice). The soup was actually a really nice, spicy soup.

After dinner, around midnight, she took us to this place that can only be described as Malaysian Christmas in May. Its a huge lights display set up in an office park consisting of trees, houses, horses, flamingos, butterflies, lanterns, etc. all made out of christmas lights and in every color imaginable. It was really fun to explore. Theres something about that many lights that makes you think of Christmas and be happy. There was no one sad there, and for it being after midnight on Thursday, there were a lot of people there.

In a few hours, we will catch a bus up north to Penang, a small island on the northeast coast, referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, and revered for the amazing food it provides. I am excited to do some exploring. Not so much for the bus ride, but its  a necessary evil, Im afraid.
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