Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
After 'landing' successfully in Kuala Lumpur, we decided to pay a night visit to the nearby Petronas Towers. Good decision- as we discovered in the following days, the Towers are mildly interesting during the day but at night with the spectacular lighting they are an awe-inspiring sight to behold. They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 (surpassing the CN Tower) and remain the tallest twin buildings ever built. The other thing we noticed during the day is that KL is buried in smog- the claim from locals is that massive burns in Sumatra are responsible but it may also have something to do with the traffic congestion, huge vehicle population, no breeze, and a heavy humidity that seems to trap the pollutants. We didn't even bother with a trip to the top of the Towers because the visibility could be measured in inches. We did wander through the mall at the base of the Towers- malls in Asia are always heavily populated because they are usually an oasis of air conditioning but this one made the Toronto Eaton Centre at Xmas time seem like a vacant parking lot. And it was 6 floors of high end shops with names like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Harrods, etc. The only people buying anything appeared to be Gulf State tourists and they were buying just about everything- I just can't process the image of one Arab dude in his Nike baseball cap and latest sneakers, blue jeans, Rolex, and LA Lakers jersey, leading a group of women dressed head to toe in those heavy black burkas (in this heat and humidity??) with just the eyes showing
We did wander through most of the more well known sights of Kuala Lumpur (including the highly overrated night market in Chinatown- can you still carry the Chinatown label if all the vendors are from India?), but crowded cities are rarely any countries highlight. The Royal Selangor pewter factory was interesting and the Bat Caves were certainly well worth the climb up 272 steps. Worshipers arrive daily with offerings of coconuts, fruits, milk, and flowers. With that much free food there's a well fed population of macaque monkeys chasing tourists around the caves- most of the locals seem to enjoy feeding the monkeys underneath the 'Do Not Feed The Monkeys' signs and then act suitably shocked when the monkeys get very aggressive?? We had talked about trying to make it to the Caves during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam which is famous for the procession of devotees who drag various objects to the top of the stairs via various hooks in their skin and body piercings!!
One last unrecognizable breakfast buffet at the hotel (apparently Captain Crunch cereal was never part of the Silk Road trading expeditions) and it was off to catch another bus for Melaka.