A Travellerspoint blog

Summer 2007 - Malaysia II

Whirlwind Kuala Lumpur

30 °C
View Summer Vacation 2007 on agc_cwm's travel map.

So we finally rolled our tired behinds out of bed at 09:30, when we then showered, packed for the day and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. And boy what a breakfast it was! What a buffet: western breakfast foods, and lots of Asian specialties. Delightful. After seconds and thirds were had, we were quite full. I decided I had to have the recipe for kesari, an Indian dish, so the staff called the chef out of the kitchen and, through a translator, explained it to me. It was really generous of them to take the time out to explain it to me, so I hope I can do it justice when I make it at home.

After breakfast we caught the shuttle again back to the airport to catch the ekpress in to the centre of the city. The people trying to sell you stuff had finally set in for Andrew by this point, as people were asking us where we were going. The train was super fast and easy. Twenty-eight minutes to KL Sentral station (otherwise a one-hour teksi ride). Our ride was uneventful, and we saw a lot of green, which is a lot different than the endless houses you see in Japan.

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Because we were only in KL for one day, we decided to take teksis everywhere. Conveniently there are booths set up where your can buy a prepaid fare to the destination of your choice. It takes the haggling and fear of getting ripped off out of the equation, which is really nice when you're in a new city and have no idea where you're going or how far it is. Our first destination was the Lake Gardens. Our driver let us off at an intersection and indicated the direction of the butterfly garden, the orchid garden and the aviary. We walked up the hill to the aviary. It's the world's largest covered aviary, and we figured we should get a preview so we would know what we were looking at in the wild later in vacation. We were not disappointed. It was amazing. The first bird we saw was a rhinoceros hornbill. Totally cool, and bigger than I expected.

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We also saw lots of other species; storks, egrets, flamingos, pelicans, parrots, toucans, peacocks, eagles and so many more. We wandered around the aviary for an hour or so before stopping for an ice cream break.

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As we were continuing on our way, it started to rain. This was not a surprise: apparently it rains for 1-2 hours each day in the city, and it had been thundering all morning. It poured for a while, so we took shelter under a thatched roof and waited it out next to the parrot enclosure.

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When the rain finally let up, we continued through the rest of the park and ate lunch at the restaurant there. I had carrot-pumpkin soup and fruit salad, because I decided that I wasn't going to eat any bird-type product out of respect. Andrew had chicken tandoori and potato wedges. He also had a Tiger beer in honour of Jeff Hames' birthday. Hope it was a good one Jeff!

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After the aviary, we caught another cab to Central Market. Our driver was a case; he was telling us all about the weather in KL, and pointing out the other sites along the way, like the national mosque and the old train station. He was really friendly and helpful. Central Market was nothing like I expected. It was more like a shopping mall than a market, and more upscale looking. We bough a couple of souvenirs and moved on nearby Chinatown. This was more like a market, but instead of food, they were mostly selling knock-off goods. We decided we needed nothing from this place, and having had our fill of markets for the day, went on to Little India on a quest for spices. I found a big bag of cumin seed for dirt cheap, as well as some other Indian food to take home. Yum biryani. By this time we were tired of walking and decided to catch a cab to KLCC and the Petronas Towers, where we were going to meet Emily, a fellow Harvey High grad living in the city. Before we met, we found a bank for a cash advance, and then made our way to a bookstore. We didn't know what to do with ourselves, surrounded by English books for the first time in a very long time. I bought a couple of field guides, and Andrew, a novel. After this it was off to Starbucks (how Malaysian!) to meet Emily.

It was great to meet up with a familiar face in a foreign place. She gave us some insights into the culture of the city, and was a great gastronomic guide in the food court. We sat down to some delicious dinner and had a good long chat before heading out the check out the Petronas Towers, now illuminated. We took a lot of pictures and craned our necks for a while taking in all 452 m (1483 feet) of the towers. This year is Malaysia's 50th birthday, so there are flags flying everywhere around the city in celebration.

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After all this we were getting pretty tired, so we went to a grocery store to get provisions (read: snacks) before catching the train to the airport again. Emily made sure we were safely on our way, and we said our goodbyes. We got to the airport just in time to catch the shuttle back to the hotel again. It was a good day in KL, and I think we may have to come back.

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Posted by agc_cwm 00:05 Archived in Malaysia

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