On May 14th we travelled
to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. (Got a great deal from
Japan Air Lines, too!) We stayed at the Hotel Nikko (http://www.hotelnikko.com.my),
owned by JAL, part of the reason why the fare & accommodation package
was so cheap. We guessed that refuelling and reprovisioning
must be cheaper in KL than in Singapore, as their regular Japan-Singapore
flights carry on, mostly empty, to KL. We were amazed by the KL airport,
which rivals the new Hong Kong airport for size. During the
long taxi around the complex after landing, we saw very few other planes.
We were impressed by the shuttle train between the terminals though - especially
when it went under a plane taxing along. It took about an hour from
the airport to get to our hotel. We went for a walk after settling in,
and halfway between our hotel and the Petronas Twin Towers, we saw this
storefront. Needless to say, we felt we had to snap a photo the next
day. (Hope you like it, Brenna!)
In case you couldn't
quite make out the window on the right, here it is again. The left
advertises a Pre University course offered by the (to us) unknown Columbia
International College of Canada.
On Saturday, we
walked back to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the shopping mall that joins
the base of the Petronas Twin Towers (tallest building in the world, for
a while). Found a very nice Malay buffet there for lunch. Noting
the torrential downpour when we finished lunch, we decided to explore the
mall. If this photo looks blurry, that would be the rain! Searched
for any sign of public access to Petronas Towers, but didn't find any.
Finally, the rain letting up, we took a taxi to the Central Market.
Had fun exploring
the Central Market. Picked up a few gifts. You can find everything
from traditional batik to plastic ashtrays here. Had an ice cream
and rested after our explorations before heading off to Chinatown and the
beginning of the daily night market on Petaling St.
The moorish influence
in local architecture is rather striking. We passed this building
with its blend of old and new on our way to Chinatown. We got there
about 4:30 p.m., and many merchants were still busy setting up their stalls.
Had to duck folding tables being carried through the crowded, puddle filled
aisles. Jen took care of the bargaining for the handbag and wallet
we bought. We walked on up to the Saturday night "pasar malam" (night
market) in the back alley running parallel to Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman
(known as Jalan T.A.R.) This is local market, and is KL's longest and busiest
street market. Only saw 2 or 3 other caucasians. Food stalls
on one side (smelled great!) everything from teatowels to running shoes
on other. Definitely local -- hardly any copy watches!
Like many an
expat before us, we had dinner at the Coliseum Cafe and Hotel. Rubber
plantation owners and tin miners fresh into town used to stay here, and
while the bar does not perhaps retain it's 1920's aspect, it definitely
hasn't been updated since the 40's. But the scuffed vinyl covered
armchairs were deep and comfortable, and the beer was cold, as we sat and
waited for the hostess to call our names. Like everyone else we had
the sizzling steak, and it was great!
Soon we will have
enough photos of Asterix for his own web page! He is seen here with
the Twin Towers and the KL Tower (CN Tower look alike to left), in the
window of our hotel room.
we headed to the National Museum, with its displays of traditional Malaysian
costumes, customs, musical instruments, pottery, weapons and natural history
section (the stuffed animals are looking a bit scruffy these days).
The building is supposed to be reminiscent of a traditional Malay house.
The murals to either side of the doors show traditional Malay crafts on
the near side, and events in the country's history on the far side.
From the Museum,
we walked up to the Railway Station, an imposing structure. Couldn't
get through, as you need a ticket to cross to the far platform, so we ended
up walking along a busy main road paralleling the tracks.
a small park in-between busy roads with no sidewalks, erected to commemorate
menhir site found and destroyed during oil explorations. Asterix
was right at home!
to find our way through a parking garage and along a pedestrian crossover
above the railroad tracks, we were back on our route. The Textile
Museum is another imposing building dating from the colonial period.
If I'm reading
the description in our guidebooks correctly, the building in the foreground
is the former General Post Office designed in 1897. The Sultan Abdul
Samad building, with its distinctive towers, completed in 1897 is in the
background. Just after this shot was taken, the skies opened up again.
We wandered a little further along, then caught a cab to the KLCC, where
we had a bite to eat. We bought an umbrella, and walked back to the
hotel to collect our bags and headed to the airport.