Olympic Torch in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
We are currently killing time in Kuala Lumpur, whilst waiting for our Indian visas to be processed....
We had heard that the Olympic torch would be in town, so we thought it might be fun, to go check it out.
From doing a little bit of research on the internet, we knew that the relay would be ending at the Petronas Twin Towers, the only probably was we didn’t know at what time. We knew that that the torch’s tour of K.L would begin at 2pm, and figured we could kill any extra time in the shopping mall (SURIA KLCC) at the towers. We needed to get some anti-malarials anyway and succeeded in our mission, surprising quickly.
Pooped from too much window-shopping, (can’t afford the designer shops), we went in search of a good spot to see the torch.
A group of people nearby then asked if they might have their photo taken with us, to which we agreed. (See Photo). It was quite random and we have absolutely no idea of who they were, or where they were from. (Hope they don't mid us posting this pic).
We then waited a while, watching the police go by, people erecting fences, attaching chains to bollards then finally giving up. The protesters, police and other random people had all gone by now, so it was just us and the TV crew behind the fence. Nothing really seemed to be happening, so we decided to head back to the mall. After enjoying a nice cup of coffee, I disregarded the loos you need to pay to use and went in search of the free ones.
I never made it however, as Simon noticed that there was something going on outside…..so we decided to go and investigate.Aha, this looked much more promising. A tented area for VIPs, complete with red carpet (that everyone was tramping over), Olympic logos, plenty of police and sniffer dogs, entertainment, plenty of peaceful protesters and mucho flag-waving going on.
We skulked up and down trying to find a good advantage point, during which, much to my delight, Simon was given another two flags. Eventually we settled on a spot on a wall, next to a lady with many flags who offered us some cough-drop like sweets, mmm blackcurrant. (At least that’s what I’m assuming they were).
Here we sat amongst the protesters with me taking random snaps of the fountains, the towers and the general goings on; people beaming, flag-waving, sucking on sweets whilst listening to a youth group play something on instruments made out of recycled stuff. We didn’t really know what was going on, but were enjoying the atmosphere all the same.
I think some Malaysian sports celebrities may have jogged by at that point, but I can’t be sure.
By this time though it was about half past four and since we have been in K.L there has been a thunderstorm at this time each day. So religiously in fact that you could almost set your watch by them. I wouldn’t have worried but I had forgotten my umbrella and the skies had began to darken ominously. Then it started to pour down….the Chinese protesters went from being a sea or red and white to multi-coloured sea of plastic raincoats in seconds. (Needless to say I didn’t have my plastic coat either). * Not everyone speaks English, but everyone here knows the English for rain; umbrella; plastic-mac ect.*
Simon headed for shelter, I tried to put a brave face on the situation but was soon absolutely drenched.
It was disappointing to give in at this stage, but it seemed a bit daft getting soaked not knowing how long we would be waiting, if we would get to see the torch or if it would still be alight.
Still by now I really needed the loo, so looking like a drowned rat I decided to pay and use the posh ones.
(Incidentally, they are much the same as the free ones, but you get toiletries, candles and someone to press the lever of the peddle-bin for you!?!).
I decided that I may as well buy an umbrella for the trip home. On our way we were stopped by a man with a camera. He asked if he might take our photo for a local Chinese paper. We agreed and then he asked us some questions. Where were we from? We’re we having a nice time ect. After we had assured him, that we were having a lovely day, we proceeded to make our way to the supermarket. Unfortunately many other people had had the same cunning plan. Therefore I had to wait my turn as smart business men choose between the few remaining umbrellas: either a pink one; or a yellow ones with sweets on…after a few agonizing minutes everyone bought one, preferring the risk of embarrassment, than the risk of getting wet.
Armed with my new (pink) umbrella we returned to have one last look to see what was going on.
It was more crowded inside the mall, just before the exit. Suddenly I became sucked up into a scrum, people were frantically taking photos, passing babies, placing them on someone’s lap. I didn’t know who they were taking photos of…a former olympian perhaps, I didn’t get to see her. I was caught up in the bustle, For a fleeting moment I saw a torch, I took a photo.
The crowd was getting more excited, people catching glimpses of sporting celebrities through their periscopes. The entertainment was carrying on outside, people still having a good time despite the rain.
However now dry, and having may seen one of the torches we decided to call it a day and head home.
Although I don’t know for sure if it was one of the torches, I like to think that it was.
However I’m not sure that it really matters, because we got to share the dream, and had a great, albeit weird day out.