Monday, February 13, 2012

Kuala Lumpur

KL is the largest city in Malaysia with a population of of 1.6 million in the city and 7.2 million in the greater klang valley area. KL receives 25,000,000 visitors per year. Lots of muslim Arabs, Europeans, australians and Asians but i have not run into any canadians nor americans. The traffic here is unbelievable and they say it is the worst in the world next to Vietnam. When the lights go red but cars think nothing of blocking the intersection bringing traffic to complete gridlock. Cars do not yield for pedestrians so you take your life into your own hands and walk between cars when the traffic is gridlocked while motorbikes dodge around you-they even come up on the sidewalks.
We are spending 5 days in KL as it is the shopping mecca of Asia.
One of the shopping complexes near our hotel has six floors and over 600 shops- even too much for me to get through in five days. KL has everything a shopper could want from high end designer stores where the prices are similar to north America to lower end shops with great deals to dozens of street markets where you barter. Marianne and I had fun bartering for knock off sunglasses at the Chinatown market. When the young man didn't have what we wanted he left us in charge of his stall and went to look for the glasses we wanted. We had loads of fun while he was gone trying on glasses and attempting to make sales but I don't think this will be my new career.
The speciality here are shoes and purses. I have only purchased four pairs of shoes and one handbag-I won't talk about the clothes, prescription glasses and watches that have made their way into my luggage.
Marianne and I took the hop off and on bus and got off to visit little India and the Petronas Twin towers.
Little India was very pretty and clean with lovely street decorations, the area was refurbished last year for the visit of the prime minister from India.
The twin towers are truly spectacular especially when they are lit up at night.
They were built in 1998 and were the tallest buildings in the world until 2004. The two towers are mainly office space and the lower area in the middle is a large high end shopping mall where we stopped to have lunch. The outside of the buildings look as if they are a pewter type material and glisten in the sun. I would not say that KL is a beautiful city but it does have a number of modern buildings with fabulous architecture. Each building is designed to incorporate something special and different from the others i.e. shape, type of windows, materials used and one building is a changing billboard at night by using different colored lights.
KL is a city where you can get all kinds of treatments very cheap for less than $20 you can have a 1 hour full body massage or one hour foot reflexology a 1.5 hour facial is $40 and to have a hair shampoo and head massage is $11. Needless to say we have been buffed and puffed while here and brian joined us -- love the shampoo and head massage. The foot reflexology almost sent me through the roof. These Malaysians may be small but they have hands of steel.
I have had an opportunity to try a number of different foods while in KL most notably stingray and it is quite delicious. We also went on a food tour last night and ate in local places we never would have gone on our own as you can see by some of the pictures. Some of the food we tried:
Hala Indian Muslim restaurant we had roti disu, murta bak, original Penang and Kay
Authentic chettinad cuisine restaurant we had lassa vis, chai tea and ate with our hands off banana leaves - mutton curry, itli, roti telur, masala vasa and - when you are done and have enjoyed the meal you fold the banana leaf towards you and you never eat with you left hand.
Then off to the roadside restaurant for satay (yeah a food I know) and watermelon juice
Last stop was a Chinese restaurant where we had noodles, fish balls, pork balls and tripe (we skipped the tripe).
I will not explain each of the foods as you really had to be there but it was a great evening with our guide and a young Australian couple who were on the tour with us.
KL is currently hosting the united buddy bear exhibition just down the street from our hotel. The United Buddy Bears are an international art exhibition with more than 140 two metre tall fibreglass bears. Under the motto: We have to get to know each other better, it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully more than 140 countries acknowledged by the United Nations are represented, promoting tolerance, international understanding and the great concept of different nations and cultures living in peace and harmony. The bears stand hand in hand in a peaceful circle. The canadian bear is a little disappointing as I could not figure out how the artist was illustrating canada to the world - ok maybe I am just not artsie !
KL is an interesting place to walk around and people watch as you never know what you will see. Often you see young Asian men dressed as women and sometimes it is difficult to tell whether they are a man or a women. However when I was in a public washroom an Asian woman came out of the cubicle and I went in only to see the toilet seat was up-- guess that was no woman! On that note I will sign off as we are off to Melaka malaysia 2 hours south of KL and 3 hours north of Singapore.

1 comment: