Religious Stainless Steel

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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KL is one of the very few places in the world that I have visited twice.  I was there eight years ago on my way to New Zealand when I took advantage of a free five night stay in a five star hotel for flying with Malaysia airlines.  I was a very inexperienced traveler at that point and I did not take much away from one of south east Asia's most modern cities so I decided to have another look.  There was absolutely nothing familiar when I walked through Chinatown to my hostel.  I remember thinking how foreign it seemed when I was first there.  After traveling for so long in much less developed countries my perspective has changed greatly.  The stainless steel skyscrapers and super fast metro felt more like home than anywhere else in Asia.
  The people are another story.

Malaysia has a ethnic trio of Chinese, Indian and Malay.  They seem to get along quite well and work side by side but they also have a strong sense of individual cultures and seem to stick to their own in their personal lives.  To add to the the mix there is most major religions are well represented.  I saw the many faces on the Hindu Gods, the magnificent domes of the Muslim mosks, the Buddhist temples that I got so sick of in Thailand, and even the odd Catholic church all with walking distance of my cozy guesthouse.  I found little India to be the most interesting because I have never been to the land of curries.  Silk and gold dominated the shops filled with eager shoppers.
  The bright colors and elaborate designs would really stand out in the crowds of black and white tops in the western world's modern cities.  The fantastic street food in the night market finally satisfied my search for spice.  Chinatown was interesting and one of the largest I have seen but it was overdeveloped, and let's face it, every city in the world has a Chinatown.

The Hindu guesthouse manager informed me that it was their new year consisting of three days of celebrations at all of the temples in town.  I walked around the block that he circled on my map but their was no party with free curry that was promised.  When I saw a large group of people walking in the same direction I thought they must be going to the gathering which must have been nearby.
  My anticipation grew as I followed the ever swelling crowd for several blocks.  Eventually I realized that I was heading to the stadium rather than a temple.  To my horror I saw Celine Dion tickets clenched excitedly in the the hands of Malaysia's elite.  No I did not go.

KL has a lot of museums and parks that I wanted to explore but had to skip because I only had a few day until I was meeting Brenden in Singapore.  I did manage to get to the largest open air bird park in the world.  It was a little pricey but well worth it.  At times it really did feel like walking in forest along a stream no people around, just exotic birds swooping overhead.   The parrots driving cars and riding bicycles in the bird show was also quite entertaining.

The only part of KL that was familiar to me from my last visit was the world's second highest skyscrapers.  I think I appreciated the engineering marvels much more this time around since I eared an engineering degree in the meantime.  The interesting cultures mixed together in a modern city make KL a great starting point for travelers looking to get their feet wet on their way to a south east Asian adventure.
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