My other homeland I never knew...
02.23.2012 - 02.28.2012 35 °C
What a shame that I was simply transiting through Malaysia with no proper intention of discovering it. I have since made a mental note to rectify my error with a return in the future.
I left Krabi to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, on the most luxurious bus ever, it was a double decker with wide seats which swallowed me whole and actual foot rests that popped up like a Lazy Boy. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if these were Lazy Boy chairs. AND there was only a total of 3 whole seats across. Pure luxury. If you hadn’t already notice, let me bring to light the festive Christmas colour theme.
The overnight bus dropped us off near Chinatown at 5:30am
I enjoyed a veggie breakfast at KFC (weird concept) while searching for possible accommodations on their free wi-fi. I started to roam the streets and came across some very bizarre,… well bazaars.
Some appeared to sell proper packaged goods, but most seem to have just emptied out a box of goods full of random items from the house; like a single shoe or dirty jeans. This stretched on for several blocks and side alleys.
It was very strange as it was a Friday morning and I never saw it again in the other 2 mornings while in KL. (That’s the lingo everyone seems to use for Kuala Lumpur, I never got the memo but now I know).
The accommodation I settled on was called Grocer's Inn which later I found out via a free walking map touring old KL that it was a historic building. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century it had a great European flare and was indeed quite lovely. This was a different kind of surprise, I found it right by the reception welcoming all guests: a decrepit skeleton of a gecko somehow still maintaining its steadfast hold on the wall.
The walking tour map was a wealth of information, but I kept straying from it. Here are some of the highlights I noted:
Dried goods. A very fishy smell, but I grew up loving the scent & taste of fish and strangely find the scent pleasant.
The very ornate Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in KL.
Here’s a close up
The British occupation left behind beautiful and now historic structures. It’s not very visible but it was raining in the picture. The 3 days I spent here, it rained very hard for no more than an hour and always between 2:00 and 2:30pm.
The chants from the Jamek Mosque were blared over extremely powerful speakers. Its deep bass wails lured me easily from a distance of 1km away. The walking tour map indicated these were the only wild palms left in the city and gave it a very special look.
The ever bustling Petaling Street, the heart of Chinatown.
KL Tower set amidst a large patch of rainforest in the city center. As soon as I stepped foot under the arched entry, I was attacked by mosquitoes. The bite count was up to 5 within my first minute. Waaahhhhh!!
The thickest bamboo trunks I’ve come across, most have been thin, perhaps the girth of a person’s wrist. These were much, much thicker.
The Petrona Twin Towers. They truly were an impressive sight. Here they are by day.
And by night. It was spitting rain and slightly overcast and wisps of clouds swirled about the tall peaks.
A bustling city, it somewhat makes me think of Blade Runner.
I went into one of the many shopping complexes and discovered a National Geographic Store/Café. There were shelves and shelves of all copies of the magazine and I hungrily digested one of their tasty sandwich and many backdated copies.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It stretched for 2 large city blocks and the colours changed from blue, green, purple, red, orange and yellow (I know because I have a picture in every colour)
The reason why I refer to Malaysia as my other homeland was because I kept hearing the Taiwanese dialect spoken around me. I had assumed that the dialect was specific to Taiwan (hence why it’s called Taiwanese) but I was wrong. It’s official name is Hokkien and it’s also spoken in Malaysia, along with Tamil, Malay, English, and Mandarin. I had join a tour that would take me to see a firefly breeding ground and my guide explained to me the above, it felt oddly comforting to be speaking with him in a mix of English, Hokkien and Mandarin. I was SO looking forward to seeing the fireflies only to have it end up in disappointment. There wasn’t billions of them as advertised, but definitely hundreds. They were in trees flanking the water bank and flickered like weak Christmas lights bordering on a power outage. And to top it off, I received in exchange 20+ mosquito bites even with the heavy coating of 55% DEET.
Earlier on in the day the tour brought us to old palace grounds where it was swarming with monkeys.
They were on the roads, on the cars, in the trees, on the fences. Eating, bickering, swinging, they outnumbered the tourists by probably 10 fold.
I moved on to Melaka, a UNESCO heritage city.
The vibe of this city was calm, relaxed and friendly. Here the café which belonged to Traveler’s Lodge, where I stayed 2 nights.
The old part of town consisted of beautiful buildings, a blend of part Chinese and part Dutch. Full of colour and flavour.
They had these bicycle rickshaws heavily garnished with fake flowers, some had lights that flashed at night and others suped up with speakers and blared music.
This is St. Paul’s Church in the city centre.
I headed for Bukit Cina which was supposed to be the most elevated area in the old city. Climbing up the stairs I encountered no one. I heard the rustling before I saw these. I thought they were beastly ants, but I can’t say for sure.
They had thick bodies, an even thicker head and if possible the thickest set of mandibles. I had to be very precise with my footing but still had trouble keeping my camera still as I felt very prickly and itchy attempting to take these close ups. They are all slightly out of focus because I kept pulling away too soon. Ugh!
I walked to the pier to purchase a ferry ticket into Indonesia and found myself caught underneath the edge of a heavy brewing storm. The sun shone brightly on one side, and the other heavy dark storm clouds waiting to spill its guts.
I found out that the ferry was going to set me back $40 US but only cross a measly 100km. I researched some flights and to my delight found that via Tiger Airways, I’d be able to fly a distance of 1000km to Jakarta for $45 US. There is only one phrase to describe my sentiment.