An 8:30 start on my vacations is a luxury. So this morning was relaxing, though waking up mid-dream to an alarm is always quite… Alarming. Especially when said dream is a bizarre, realistic, feasible portrayal of me and my best friend auditioning for a strange musical/theatrical performance. Never got to the casting list part but I think I’ll survive without knowing somehow.
One massive breakfast later (I’m getting quite good at limiting my. Hours somehow), we were off to Kuala Lumpur. My guide must know by know that it is physically impossible for me to be even remotely conscious during a long drive. Luckily for me, this means I’m always just a nap away from my destination. A nap and a passion fruit, mango, and pineapple smoothie away (approx 2 hrs).
Our first stop in Kuala Lumpur? The National Museum. While the galleries explaining colonization and native culture were interesting, the real winner was the special exhibit on Masks of the World. If only I’d had more time to explore it! I was mesmerized by the colors and designs from Africa to South America to Asian islands. Demons, fertility gods, clowns, and ancestral masks. Human shaped, animal shaped, mysteriously questionable. I had no idea I was so into masks until today.
Next stop, literally a quickie, was the Royal Palace. Closed off to the public, I still managed to snap a few shots while avoiding the yakking Chinese ladies beside me.
Can I just say that the Backstreet Boys are playing in the lobby at a five star hotel? Awesome.
Then it was off to the National Memorial, designed by the same creator of the Iwo Jima memorial in the US. From there we through drove Lake Gardens and off to the National Mosque merely half an hour before the weekly Friday afternoon service that all males attend. Our last stop was a large square, Merdeka Square, surrounded by beautiful architecture in the forms of Moorish, Islamic, and European. A short walk brought us to the converging rivers- the reason for the name Kuala Lumpur. The merging of rivers and the money that followed.
Lunch was under fans in a covered open patio looking out to the Petronas Towers. Beef soup, Indian tiffins / tins (prawns, okra, Malaysian chicken, tofu and mushroom, and veggies with chili sauce) and durian cream dessert. I love trying new things but my stomach isn’t always on my side. In fact, every time I’ve traveled to southeast Asia I’ve come home with some strain of e. coli. What can I say? Gotta catch ’em all!
Check-in at 3pm resulted in bed collapse and browsing KL guided on search I evening excursions. By the time I finally got my act together (and abandoned wifi in the lobby) it was 4:30. I took the metro (similar to Bangkok’s electronic coin method) to the Little India stop only to not fid it and walk around toward the next station, KL Senter, which I think is a major train hub by the looks of it. Immediately I knew it was silly to venture out to this area and Chinatown when all I really wanted was to eat Middle Eastern food by the hotel and lounge in the pool. I figured out how to pre-pay a cab (avoiding traffic increments to the meter) and hopped in one that dropped me off at the Petronas Towers to buy a ticket for Sunday morning before I return to Singapore. Getting back to the hotel from there could have been fairly direct if I had known where to go, but at least I got to explore the gardens behind the towers, walk through the convention center, peruse the shopping mall, convert money, and located a Persian restaurant for a scrumptious meal of mint tea, tabbouleh, eggplant garlic spread and an enormous flatbread. A quick return to the hotel gave me a chance to swim for half an hour before it closed at 8. Perfection.
Now I’m still in the lobby at 10:20 pm. The serving ladies think I’m crazy, laughing my head off as I skyped my boyfriend earlier. They kept hassling me to order something. Isn’t this the lobby? I asked. Fine. I’ll have a cafe latte. Surprise! It comes with cookies to justify its ridiculous price. It’s 5 stars after all. The cookies on the other hand, 2.5.