KL is gonna rock you
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog› entry 5 of 19 › view all entries
June 3rd, 2010 – by: bigdaddymac
Today's escape begins in Malaysia. Home to grand prix and stinking hot weather.
Being a considerable distance from Kuala Lumpur and having only limited time again, I almost decided on staying on the ship – luckily I didn't!
We negotiated a 1 hour taxi ride to Kuala Lumpur, sightseeing to a few major sites of interest and a ride back for 90$ (US) for two of us (nurse Judy and myself). To be honest, the taxi driver told us the price was 90$ and we agreed, so not much negotiation was actually involved. But I still felt as if I had struck a bargain and even in South-Africa, R350 would not have gone that far.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, meaning muddy easturia and the meeting of two rivers is thus the basis of its name. That was a long time ago and since then 6,5 million people have decided to inhabit the area around these two dirty streams. And what a good decision too, as Kuala Lumpur has plenty to offer:
A metropolis of extravanganza busting out of it seams. Sprawling central gardens, imposing modern architechture, sweltering markets and a cosmopolitan mixture of people so broad, sometimes you wonder what country you're in. And that's only the public restrooms.
The taxi ride was a confirmation that people can drive like complete plonkers without causing any aggravation whatsoever to fellow drivers. South-Africans take note! Road rules seems to be irrelevant, as well as indicators and “first come, first serve” seems to be the modus operandi.
Our first stop was the Petronas Towers, once and now again the world's tallest twin towers, thanks to the help (perhaps not the politically correct wording) of the flying skills of the intifada.
Unfortunately we could not go up to the bridge that joins the two towers, as the 1600 tickets had been given away already....by 11:30...WTF??!!
However, this turned to out to work in our favour. The taxi driver took us to the Communications Towers instead, which is a much taller building with panoramic views of the capital. A handheld MP4 guided tour (that includes video for those of you who are techno illiterate) of the tower, after a 58 second journey to the top, at a speed of roughly 4 metres a second, was a short, yet pertinent guide of all that KL has to offer. The ticket included a free donkey ride or traditional dancing expo.
Having seen plenty of donkeys (no allusions here), we opted for the traditional dancing.
After that we headed to the Chinese Market, the emporium of Emporio Armani and other genuine fakes – yes, that is what they call them.
These markets are an absolute pleasure (aside from the heat that is). Shopping is a steal (no pun intended), the vendors are friendly with minimum physical contact and negotiation is straightforward: just walk away after enquiring about a price and on turning your back the price will automatically half. I found myself standing in front of many a vendor thinking “do I want this, because I need it, or because it is simply ridiculously cheap?”. Some sanity prevailed: I almost bought myself a leather manbag for 10$ (US), but then I realised I would never use it.
Food in the market was cheap and appetizing. I had a spicy chicken dish with rice and beans and finished it off with ice coffee in a can. All for under 1,5$ (US). (And editing this blog 24 hours later I can confirm my bowel movements to be normal and unidirectional...for those of you who were wondering)
Our taxi driver was waiting for us with a smiling face – probably because we spent all our money at his family's stores – and drove us back to the harbour accompanied by western tunes pumping out of the radio on station 94.5. Which goes to show, you can never escape KFM...
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