BootsnAll Travel Network

Kuala Lumpur and Chinatown, Jalan Masjid India, Chow Kit, Port Klang, snooker, transport, steamboat and Silent Witness

Chinatown is a tight claustrophobic mayhem of loudness. The clothes stalls and food stalls on its outskirts get attention from tourists doing a quickie. But when you do a quickie, what you miss is the small fruit and meat stalls hidden away in an alleyway that opens up into a hub of steaming hot bustling food stalls. Seb and I found such a place the other morning in search of breakfast. We felt a little chuffed with ourselves when we realised we’re the only ‘tourists’ there. We have ‘Yong Tau Foo’ where we serve ourselves by choosing different types of meat, fish balls, crab sticks, vegetables like aubergine stuffed with fish or meat paste, then they chop these a little and cook them and voila.

Like when we found Jalan Masjid India in search of Indian food for dinner; places where we see tourists, we leave; we see locals, we stay. It’s a game we like to play called ‘hide from the other tourists’. The Indian food we had was delicious. I had a drink called ‘Triveni’ a lovely concoction of grape, pineapple and ginger. Trust me, if you don’t like ginger, you’ll start liking ginger, especially when most drinks you get comes with milk and a massive dose of sugar; if you don’t like sugar; you’re going to have a hard time – ginger becomes a nice alternative to sugar. I was also introduced to ‘lassi’ this Indian drink – imagine pure thick mango juice – that is ‘lassi’. Fresh fruit juice is abundant here; though only what’s in season; now, starfruit, apple, pineapple, melon (the sweetest melons I’ve ever had in my whole life) to name a few. Too lazy to peel a fruit? No worries, you can get a packet of your favourite fruit freshly peeled in a plastic bag ready to eat. Sugar cane, barley juice, soya bean; and fruit mixed with milk seems to be very popular as well.

In Jalan Ipoh, we were given our sugar cane drink in a plastic bag tied with a string and a straw. The skill is to undo the string and re-tie just half of it leaving an opening for your straw, then you can carry your plastic bag of drink with you and drink it when you want. Before getting this we saw 2 school girls with plastic bags of brown and wondered. With our own plastic bag of limey green, we wondered no more. 

Chow Kit is another place we checked out in search of, yes you’ve guessed, food. Here, we found Malay food, well that’s what the muslim woman told us. Seb did a great job of ordering. When I asked him what we’re having, he tells me he has no idea. So we had ‘sup ekor’ and ‘sup tamyam’ – both soups I definitely would recommend. And we had ‘nasi goreng barik’ and ‘nasi daging masak merah’ – both I liked very much. I prefer how the rice dishes were seasoned compared to Indian rice dishes; the chillies are lethal; I picked them out.

It seems with Kuala Lumpur, Seb and I have managed to walk around the whole area, some places more than twice. If you listen to the taxi drivers, you’d think the place is as big as Russia but it’s not. Jalan Masjid India is about 10 mins walk away. Bukit Bintang, 10 mins walk the another way. Almost everything worth seeing is an easy walk away. Kuala Lumpur’s public transport is very good; as good as London (well, good meaning it’s there, it exists); you have a choice in your mode of transport when it comes to the centre core. I like the buses, the monorail, the LRT and KTM. Taxis; beware of those that quote you a high price before you start off. We’ve had people quote us crazily as though we’re drawing numbers from some lottery game. We just laugh and walk away. They don’t mind; us laughing and walking away that is. One guy dropped his price drastically but we carried on walking; and laughing. And it seems to be more costly at different times of the day.

We’ve spent almost a week here and Kuala Lumpur is smaller than we thought. We did think about other areas to visit and even other surrounding countries but in the end a week is a little too long to see Kuala Lumpur – but you get to be really familiar with it – and not long enough to see other major areas or country (you’ll just end up running around with your backpack). Today we decided spur of the moment to go to Port Klang assuming that it’s by the sea. Yes, there’s sea, boats etc; it’s a port but other than that, there’s not much else. It took us an hour to get there. We learnt that you can get a boat from Port Klang to Pulau Ketam popular for fishing. A wild card. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Just had Chinese meal called ‘steamboat’. At home, in London, my family has this a lot but I never knew what it was called until now. Here, there’s a pot of boiling water (with flavourings added to create soup) in the middle of the table and raw meat, seafood and vegetables to add to this bubbling pot of soup. Once cooked, you can dip the food bits into a choice of sauces. There were tourists galore as we were smack in Chinatown. It couldn’t be helped. We were running out of food choices and we were hungry. It was a great choice. The unusual thing was everything possible to eat they’d display on your table and they count by empty sticks you leave how much you’re charged – you pay for what you eat. That I’ve never seen before. It’s ingenious.

After the meal, I suggested we play a game of snooker. So we wander about looking for this place I think I saw but wasn’t quite sure I saw; and after doing a whole circle around Chinatown, we asked someone. And sure enough we found it. We went up some dodgy-looking steps and into a room full of pool and snooker tables. The place was empty except for an old man and a short round woman sat on a small table by the desk. I run off to the toilets and when I got back, Seb tells me he’s still waiting for her to get off the phone. As I look over at the podgy Chinese woman, she ends her phone call. I ask her in Cantonese if they were open. Yes, they were. We play pool first and then a game of snooker. Once each. Pool, it got a little exciting because I was lucky. Snooker, I was lucky a handful of times; sometimes it felt almost like magic – even Seb was amazed – you know, those long long shots where you can’t see the other ball those types of shots? Remember I’m blind. But you can’t be lucky all the time. So it was really a snooker game Seb was playing with himself and I helped out by popping in some red ones and I think one or two coloured ones. 

If you can describe the interaction between Seb and I; the best way to explain it is using the tortoise and the hare analogy. I’m the tortoise; he’s the hare. With the heat and the potential heat rash under the skin ready to pop out and say hello, I cover myself in fabric from head to toe – religiously and nun-like. So I’m either in my treking outfit; looking like I’m ready for a mountain or two; or recently, a thin white cotton top (with sleeves that cover my arms and more) and a long thin pink flowy wrap-around layered skirt; looking like I’m in some Chinese kung fu movie (Seb said). And everytime I walk in the streets, I put up my girly UV umbrella, and sometimes I have my hankerchief to dab my forehead with. I know, I know, I know. The UV umbrella covers more than my face. And with the sun beating down on you directly, it can be very uncomfortable. People – women mostly – use umbrellas here but less so than in Singapore, and less still than in Taipei and Hong Kong. And the hankerchief – well, I don’t like wiping my forehead and my face with my hands. Also, it’s very good for covering your mouth from the fumes in the streets. It’s only when you walk a lot that you realise how polluted Kuala Lumpur is. With London and Europe going through a heatwave at the moment of up to 39, I think you’d understand. People are either dealing with the heat, a tsunami or waiting for President Bush to rescue them from Lebanon it seems. Anyway, back to the hare and the tortoise. So I’m pretty slow when I’m walking around and Seb, he just zooms off here and there. I turn around and he’s gone. I walk a few paces and he’s back again (and seen the whole place already). We’ve had the ‘pace’ conversation where I’ve basically said I’m cool if he wants to do stuff on his own at his own pace etc on our small or even big excursions. He tells me he’s cool with things the way it is though he jokes around calling me a princess with my umbrella etc and making slow tortoise impressions of me. I counterattack by telling him that at least the tortoise can stay in one place, read a sign and know the answer way before the hare who has whizzed around asking 5 different people who don’t know and/or don’t care. Stuff that in and chew it hard. No, seriously, I’m pretty lucky to have Seb around because he loves talking to people and getting to know them etc. I would never have met Kelvin and Joanna (who we’re going to try and see again in Singapore) if Seb was not Seb. He makes travelling easier, having so much energy, I’ve breathed my next breath and he’s done 102 things already. If I was alone, things will happen, but just at a slower pace and in my own dawdling time. Sometimes I have to remind myself to not look at where he’s at, paces ahead of me and trying to get there quicker, but rather enjoy where I am (paces behind). Also, it’s easy to get lazy especially when there’s someone there willing to do everything for you; being the gentleman that he is, Seb does and I feel I must be constantly aware of this and avoid it because I dread that lazy feeling, when your brain goes dead and your body just follows. Like the rat incident; my mind was alive; everything sensitive and alert and my blood pumping; I like that feeling. It worries me a little that I can only feel like that when I am on my own, alone.


Thanks Angela, Emma, Tobias, Graham, Phillipa, Glenn, Jo Ho, Steve for your comments and praise on Silent Witness (and Bloodties). I’ve heard nothing but good things so, well, I feel really chuffed about it all. I wish my family would comment even if it’s to say sorry we didn’t catch it! : ) The most important people I guess would be mum and dad, what they thought, I guess.

Just to let you know that 7944 pages has been viewed on my blog and there has been 1241 unique visitors to date – I’m guessing ‘unique’ means individual.


Quote of the day
 If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. Quotations
Lewis Carroll (explorer). English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1832-1898

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-12 responses to “Kuala Lumpur and Chinatown, Jalan Masjid India, Chow Kit, Port Klang, snooker, transport, steamboat and Silent Witness”

  1. Amy says:

    You were brilliant in it. Sorry I have only watched the first episode but have recorded it, so will watch the rest with mum and dad. I will get mum and dad to watch this weekend and get them to comment.

    Good going sis!

  2. Andrew Wills says:

    Hello Maye,

    Long time and no speak, hope you are enjoying your travels!

    I saw you in Silent Witness last weekend, thought you were fantastic, a real stand out! You brought a lot of gravity to the situation.

    I’m not a fan of Silent Witness, I find some of the acting from the main players a little stagey, but you clearly trumped them!

    I remember you telling me once on the way to the ‘Aramitama’ set, that acting is all in the eyes, and it really showed, despite knowing you, I totally got lost in the characters plight, you became An, and it was only when you were off-screen that I remembered you were Maye!

    Brilliant! I’m really pleased for you! Well done!

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