We’ve spent the last several days in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. I wasn’t all that impressed by KL, to be honest. For one thing, it’s not very pedestrian-friendly. Sidewalks suddenly vanish or have cars parked on them and many of the intersections don’t have crosswalks or pedestrian light signals. We had to just wait until we thought it was okay and then bolt across. There is both a subway system and a monorail, but the two are not connected very well. And the sights we did see weren’t that memorable. Besides all that, the pace of KL drove me nuts. I’m a notoriously pokey person and even I was annoyed with how slowly the people and escalators move. Since we came straight from ultra-efficient Singapore, we were constantly comparing the two (probably unfairly). “This would never happen in Singapore!” became our catchphrase in KL.
To be fair, we didn’t spend as much time exploring the city as we normally would have. Like clockwork, it rained every afternoon from about 1:00 to 5:00. When it wasn’t raining, we had errands to deal with, like mailing our insurance documents and going to the Thai Embassy to get visas. But the main reason we didn’t spend much time out and about was our awesome hotel. For our Christmas present, my mom, Jim, Al and B paid for us to stay in Traders, a five star hotel right across from the Petronas Towers, so we spent most of our time enjoying the luxuries of air conditioning, TV, internet, hot showers, a king size bed and room service. It was incredible!
There were a few highlights from the times we did venture out. Even though the Petronas Towers are no longer the tallest buildings in the world, they were still very impressive, especially at night. Traders is connected to a huge convention center that was hosting the “Comic Fiesta” for a few days, so we got to see many Asian nerds dressed up in elaborate costumes of anime characters. We also decided to try geocaching. When we found the tree the cache was hidden in, it was surrounded by about ten people. As we walked up to them, someone said, “Are you geocachers? We’re doing an article about geocaching for a magazine!” Turns out they were a few writers as well as the fashion editor and editor-in-chief for Esquire Malaysia. They invited us to come place new caches with them, so we tagged along. The editor-in-chief, Sam, was quite a character, to say the least. I’ve read that hummingbirds can flap their wings 80 times per second. That was the pace Sam seemed to operate at. I also got a kick out of his foul-mouthed wisecracks. And the most important highlight of KL, for me at least, was successfully using a squat toilet! Hopefully my days of toilet disasters are over.
Next we’ll be going to Ipoh, a town famous for its food. It will be hard leaving our fancy hotel and returning to our modest backpacking lifestyles, but I guess I better get used to it. After all, we’ve got a long trip in front of us!