|All religions enjoying Christmas.
December 20, 2007
I spent the whole flight and 70 km bus ride into Kuala Lumpur from the airport sleeping. Nice.
KL was easy to navigate right off the bat. I don’t have a map. All I came equipped with was the address of my hotel and the
subway station where to get off. Everything was rather effortless. Off to a nice start.
When I finally made my way out in the city, it was pouring rain. While many people who come here visit one of many malls in
order to escape the heat, I found myself doing so to escape the rain. It’s a good thing for all of the underground transportation
– it made it possible to never even feel a drop on my head since I got to the LRT station in Chinatown.
I was immediately taken in by the Christmas carols and decorations. And then I was taken in by something else once I finally
ventured outside (as it stopped raining)…
The Petronas Towers.
Wow! These buildings (or better known here as the ‘twin towers’) are simply stunning at night. But I’m going to stick to calling
them the Petronas Towers. I don’t want to sound weird and all…but it’s hard for me to refer to existing buildings as the ‘Twin
Towers’. Of course I know other buildings in the world can be called this. New York didn’t have a claim on this name. But
every time I hear someone reference these buildings this way, I just think back to the buildings that are no longer. I wonder if
anybody else around here has the same thing happen to them. Is it just because I’m American? Who knows? Just my mental
rambling taking place.
In any case, I’m staying in Chinatown and I think I need to get out. It’s far more claustrophobic than our Chinatown is at
home. It’s time to look for a new hotel…preferably near the towers. I have taken too much to the malls and Christmas music –
I think I am going to hang up my ‘traveling shoes’ for a few days and just hang out, relax and shop while here. After all, that’s
more or less what I would be doing at home right now with it being the holiday season.
Now it’s time to find a home for the next couple nights…
December 21, 2007
A new home was found. You can now find me on the club level of the Renaissance hotel. It’s a bit more but it’s worth it as it
makes me much happier being in this area of the city. My friends and I avoid Chinatown at home – why do I want to be
surrounded by all of the cheap knock-offs and tacky souvenirs while not even being able to make my way down the extremely
narrow lanes if I don’t have to?
And since a Vietnamese village girl thought I was pregnant the other day, it doesn’t hurt that there’s a gym at this hotel. The
question now is ‘How many sit-ups will it take to lose my baby bump?’ Probably more than my two nights in this hotel will
allow. Oh well.
I set off for a walk in my new ‘hood which led me to a <shocker!> mall. I’ve been so wrapped up in the Christmas music and
decorations that I totally forgot about these little things called ‘Christmas sales’! I feel like I'm in a small piece of
Penelope Cruz isn’t the only person who loves Mango. I do, too. Their Christmas sales are fab. I have a great new dress (if only
I had a place to wear it) and a couple of shirts. And to think that my shopping-day only got better – I’ve been looking for new
flip-flops for what seems like ages now. I’ve been walking my current ones into the ground. After all, the mileage has been
racking up over the past 4-5 months. The problem was that, even as worn in as they are, I just couldn’t part with them for
some mediocre pair. Today my flip-flop needs were answered when I saw a Reef store! And even better? They were having a
sale, too. Buy 1, get the 2nd at 50% off. So how could I not buy two pairs? One pair is basic while the other pair has little beads
on them (might look good with my new Mango dress?). It’s so fun having a successful shopping day. I can’t wait for Christine to
meet up with me so I can show-off my purchases.
I realized it’s getting a bit late – I’m off to the SkyBar at the Traders Hotel. I read that I can sip vino while getting a primo
view of the Petronas Towers. Time to go investigate.
View was primo. So was the atmosphere of the bar. It felt like I was in Los Angeles – the center of the bar was a narrow pool
and there were floor-level couches lining the windows. If I was with friends, I know the pool would have possibly been a hazard
for me. But since I was solo, I stuck to one glass of wine and then called it a night.
December 22, 2007
I now have my ticket. At 3pm, I will be off to go to the Petronas Towers.
I got over there around 8am today. Little did I know an earlier wake-up call was going to be necessary. Of course the queue
appeared worse than it was – once the ticket counter opened at 8:30am, the line moved pretty quickly. The snaking line
reminded me of waiting for a ride at Disneyland. Coincidentally, the last time I was in a queue that long was while waiting for
rides at Disneyland in August. This only reminded me of how thankful I am to not be traveling around the hot spots of Europe
and wasting hours in line to see museums and palaces. The beauty of traveling around Asia (and other continents, for that
matter) other than not having to spend a fortune – no long waits in line!
It probably sounds odd that I waited in line this morning just to go back later today. Here’s the situation (that I was unaware
of until this morning) – they only issue tickets in the morning. First come, first serve. When you get to the counter, you can
pick your time (assuming they haven’t given away all of the tickets for that slot). By the time I got to the front, many of the
morning time slots were filled so I opted for this afternoon so that I wouldn’t be rushed. This is actually a pretty good strategy
they have – of course, I wouldn’t feel this way if I unknowingly arrived around 9:30am just to find out going up to the Sky
Bridge would be an impossibility.
Now that I’m back at the hotel, I’m going to lay low for a bit – have some brekky, work out and possibly go swimming. I
realized I bought the wrong sized flip-flops yesterday so I have to exchange them later on at the mall. How fun – I have an
errand to run! Makes me feel like I’m going to be productive (even if it is something that could have been prevented by me
buying the correct size to begin with).
Yesterday I was thinking about going to Melaka for the day today…but that was before I realized how seeing the Petronas
Towers works. So Melaka will be put on hold for another time and my time in Kuala Lumpur will be me staying put in Kuala
Lumpur. I can think of worse things.
Silly me. I now realize that I was so consumed with all of the shopping here (yes, I managed to buy more today) that I haven’t
even talked about my impressions of Kuala Lumpur.
Before coming here, I was assuming this city to be similar to Singapore. I figured this because of the wide range of ethnicities
both cities have – and that the make-up of each (Indians, Malays, Chinese, Muslims, etc.) seems to mirror each other. The
only difference, I was thinking, was that it wouldn’t be as clean. And what do you know? I was pretty much dead-on. I actually
think one of the things that I like more about this city than Singapore is the fact that it’s not as clean. It feels like a real city vs.
Singapore where I got the feeling I was walking around Disneyworld.
I went to the Petronas Towers’ Sky Bridge a few hours ago. While waiting for my time slot, I walked around and took in some
of the information. Up until 2003, this was the tallest building in the world (now surpassed by one in Taiwan…and soon to be
further surpassed by the Burj Dubai). Now they are the tallest towers in the world at 352 m. They had pictures and a bit of
info on all of the other tallest buildings in the world. I was standing there wondering where the Twin Towers at the WTC would
have fallen. And then I wondered how long it took them to change all of the signage. Once again, I wonder if I’m the only
person who has these thoughts while here.
We started with a 3-D video presentation of the Petronas petroleum corporation. So now I know that Malaysia is very oil-rich.
The video also mentioned these towers were built as a sign of how successful Malaysia has become as a nation. It’s kind of
funny to think about everybody trying to out-build everybody to show how successful they are. But then again, no city is going
to get the major accolades for building the 4th largest building in the world, are they? We went up to the bridge and it was a
nice view. But I have to stay that it’s the outside of these buildings that amaze me. I understand this bridge is a great
engineering feat – and I appreciate that. But since I couldn’t see the buildings from the confines of the bridge, I wasn’t blown
away or anything.
I just need to say that these towers might be a couple of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Is it their shape? Or their
symmetry? Or when looking up, they are the only thing that the eye sees? I don’t know. All I know is that when I used to hear
about these or see pictures, I thought ‘Yeah. So they are tall buildings…’ The beauty of them does not come through on
pictures. Not at all. I adore the Burj-al-Arab – but these are different. Metropolitanly-speaking (I love creating words), I am
not sure any others beat these. (But since the Burj-al-Arab sits on the Arabian Gulf, it’s not lumped into this category.)
I also went up to the top of the KL Tower today (my day for towers, huh?). I went at a perfect time to see Kuala Lumpur go
from day to night. To say I saw a ‘sunset’ would be quite a stretch with all of the haze in the air.
I leave this city tomorrow. I really enjoyed my time here – even if I didn’t do much of anything beside looks at towers and
shop. Hey – if I ever do come back, at least I will have stuff to check out!
December 23, 2007
I had a semi-reunion today. With Christine – my friend that I traveled with for a bit while in India. We met up at the Kuala
Lumpur airport and spent a good chunk of time playing catch-up.
During our time there, another semi-reunion also took place. Someone I had grown up with from ice skating that I hadn’t seen
for years had told me weeks ago that she was going to be in Malaysia around this time. I told her the timing was a bit off as we
were heading to Indonesia. But it turned out that their flight came in the same day at Christine’s. It would work out to grab a
meal at the airport hotel for a 1-2 hour time slot. And so it worked out. We saw Kelley for a bit before it was time for them to
take off for the headlands and us to take off for our B&B near the airport.
Now we are at Jawadene – our B&B. We thought we would be in a decent, clean room in a house. We had no idea what this
place was going to be like! I only wish I had more time here – it feels like such a waste to leave at 3:45am. The house is
beautiful and they provide guests with full-access. To see the grill and BBQ out near the pool is enough to make anybody want
to stay longer. Well, next time I’m in KL…
|In front of the Petronas Towers.
|Two of the most beautiful
buildings in the world.