Recent Entries

February 04, 2004

Being a Tourist in KL

I've been doing so much in the last few days, especially today.

Back a few days ago Kathy and I met up with David and Chris, who are doing a round the world trip as well. David has a blog on Bootsnall so check it out. We shared beer, travel stories, and tips over some tasty Chinese grub. It was good fun and we might get to meet up again tomorrow night when they return from the rainforest and ask if they saw leeches.

Yesterday, Kathy, Leticia (another Bootsnall girl from Sao Paulo, Brazil) and I went out to visit Angeline, yet another BnA girl who lives in Malaysia. We had a tasty lunch of fried squid, veggies, and sting ray. We wound up back at Angeline's house, having beers, and then heading out to the mall to chat over Starbucks coffee. See, life everywhere is the same!!

To make up for it Kathy and I spent today being the faithful tourists. We went to the Masjid Jamek, a peaceful mosque early in the day. It's in the middle of the KL madness and somehow it has a bit of tranquility even though the minarets have the backdrop of construction sites. We were pretty much the only ones there and had the run of the place. An amusing sign showed us the way to the ladies toilet or tandas.

Our next stop was the famed Petronas Towers. These twin buildings are 452 meters tall (that's approximately 1525 ft) but you can only visit the connecting skybridge on the forty second floor. That was plenty high up for me because I could feel the sway anyway. Kathy swears she couldn't but if I stood completely still, I could feel the wind move the bridge. Not a good feeling at 170 meters up. Here's a view down from the skybridge.

The PT have eighty eight stories (an auspicious number in Chinese mythology) and were designed by the American firm Cesar Pelli & Associates. They incorporated the eight sided star common in Islamic art, as well as giving the building five tiers to represent the five pillars of Islam.

They didn't forget the other "religion" of Malaysia, shopping, and there are several super posh malls which included stores like Burberry, Gucci, Prada and all manner manner of retail therapy/obsession.

Each tower was built by a different contractor, one Japanese and one Korean. The Japanese company completed their tower first, but it was the Korean firm that built the connecting skyway, which was the most challenging aspect of the entire structure.

While standing at the base of the towers, I got queasy looking up and they feel like they go on forever. Here is a view from Menara Kuala Lumpur.

We decided to spend another few hours at the Muzium of Islamic Art. THey had pretty kickass textiles, Qurans, and random art objects. The building itself is right next to the National Mosque, and looks like a mosque itself. On the way we passed this building with some nifty arches and some M.C. Escher staircases.

There is one major advantage to being in Malaysia over Thailand- I can read all the signs. Malaysia uses roman script to write everything so even if I don't understand what something means, I can at least sort of figure it out. For example, muzium is museum, teksi is taxi, and my favorite, bas is bus. There are bas minis all over the place. I've learned the Malay words for stop, toilet, and other things just by figuring out the signs. It makes me feel somewhat intelligent again!

Tomorrow is a huge Hindu festival here and I think I am going to give it a pass. The devotees show their piety by skewering themselves with pointy metal skewers and I don't handle that sort of stuff well. I'd probably wind up getting nauseous somewhere and having to vomit in a crowd, always a bonus.

As soon as I find an internet place with a card reader, I will put up more photos. It seems that when there is every type of technology available, as it is here, no one has it. Go figure. I'm tempted to go out and spent $240 on a PC independent cd-burner/mem card reader so I don't have to deal with this anymore.

Posted by Claudia on February 4, 2004 05:34 AM
Category: Malaysia

Designed & Hosted by the BootsnAll Travel Network