Published: December 31st 2011February 2nd 2011
you know,from that movie
Flying into Kular Lumpar, wasn't quite as I had anticipated it to be. It wasn't miles and miles of a smoggy,metallic city but instead, as far as the eye could see of lush green forest. Or so I thought. As our aeroplane descended into the Malaysian Capital, the initial delight in seeing the lush green landscape soon turned to horror as literally as far as the horizon the 'forest' was infact hundreds of thousands of miles worth of Palm Tree oil plantations.
I had read before arriving in Malaysia that the countries biggest faux pas was selling off millions of acres of primary rain forest and making thousands of indigenous Malay tribes homeless, to private companies to rinse the fertile land for palm oil, but I didnt think it would be quite so immediately apparent.
Even after landing to a banging clanging dragon display to celebrate the Chinese New Year and getting a coach that seemed to take FOREVER to get to chinatown and central KL we seemed to be passing through miles and miles of Palm Oil Plantations for the majority of the 2 hour journey.
The sight of the plantations got tiresome and jimi and I soon
fell asleep, that was until, we saw the skyline in the distance and the infamous twin towers shimmering in the sun. From then on, we were wide awake.
Kular Lumpar is a massively mixed place, its bizarre. There are areas you walk around in and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in Delhi or Bangladesh. Streets crammed with Indian people, Bollywood music blaring out of tinny speakers and the intense noise of the traffic made us feel like we'd made a massive mistake when boarding our plane and we weren't in Malaysia atall.
KL is quite dirty, theres rubbish all over the place, drains uncovered that you can quite easily fall into if your staring up at the massive structures and it's insanely busy. 10 times worse than London. It was often quicker to walk in the road due to the people traffic on the pavements and as the car traffic is almost always at a honking standstill it was easier to weave through the over heating cars than the bustling crowds.
It is as though the creators of KL got as many different cultures as possible, put them into a cocktail mixer and poured it
over the streets. As we wandered around, we passed crimson and terracotta clad Monks, men in Arab robes, women in full length black Burkhas and buff black men in overpriced tracksuits and diamond earrings.
We stopped off at a street side Chinese place and had one of the tastiest meals in months,as well as being stupidly cheaper than Indonesia.
After our meal,we headed to the tourist information center to figure out what to do with our 3 days in KL,we came out so inspired with a list full of things to do we kicked ourselves for not coming sooner. Malaysia likes to boast of 'world records' everything is the biggest, longest, highest, bestest in the world.
Marveling at the twin towers at night,looking like a massive ice sculpture we made our way back to our pokey hostel the size of a small wardrobe. Only after discovering that the 7/11 sold Ribena and buying 2 cartons, one to hydrate with and one to savor with a joyful squeal.
Walking back to our hostel we passed this mental/drunk looking guy who had been there since the morning, stumbling the street corner shouting over and over. Sometimes blowing a
whistle at the floor, other times angrily fisting the air and shouting. When we got into our hostel, and still being able to hear him 4 floors up, we asked reception what he was shouting about. They laughed and said perplexed 'all our customers ask about him..' turns out hes a man employed by the buses to get passengers on the bus! We decided it would probably be safer to take the train if we needed to get anywhere.
The next day we got up early and took a taxi to the 'Lake Gardens' where we walked around the orchid and hibiscus gardens..which was nice but for the hibiscus being the national flower a couple of trees was quite disappointing.
We walked to the 'biggest free-flight aviary in the world' which looked cool but was more expensive than London zoo so we walked down the road to the National Planetarium. It was a crazy looking building – it looked like a psychedelic mosque! It was quite dated and loads of stuff wasn't working but we had a laugh and the much hyped 'anti gravity room' which jimi was really excited for turned out to be just a little room
raised off the floor on a weird tilt that made you feel dizzy under a strange 'spacey' blue light.
We went into the planetarium which was huuugeee and watched a film about the universe, narrated by Tom Hanks quoting Carl Sagan..very surreal.
We made our way to 'Bukit Bintang' after our Tom Hanks edutainment, it was similar to being in Times square just loads of different shopping complexes. We watched a cool Chinese New Year 'aerobatic lion display' outside of a mall where these 2 guys in a lion costume jumped and flipped on these cylindrical plinths. It was amazing and there was a huge crowd, but a bit like New Years, barely anyone clapped or cheered afterwards. It was weird and I felt really bad for the 2 sweaty guys that put on a heavy glittering costume doing dangerous stunts for our entertainment just to be met by a smattering of claps.. (and some loud whoops from 2 westerners making up for the lack of appreciation ^_^)
After we thought we'd clapped hard enough to make up for the lack of support, we went into the mall to the 6th floor where there was A THEME PARK.
It was huge and had 'the worlds longest indoor roller coaster' which jimi and I got on straight away 2 or 3 times as there were no ques! Result!
Before heading back to the hostel I grabbed some fruit from the supermarket. Jimi and I mustve looked like two people that have never been in a supermarket before, squealing like kids and running about at the sight of familiar and missed foods that no where else in Asia seems to think is a necessary staple in the diet. Particularly Salt and Vinegar crisps, hob nobs, and a whole variety of cheeses. Jimi and I then immediately decided we could easily live in Malaysia.
On our last day in Kular Lumpar we went to the KL tower where you can see the city from a silly height and going through the security scanner was optional lol. With our 'adventure' ticket we got a few REALLY random complimentary things- including a 'zoo' where there was the BIGGEST snake I've ever seen it made me feel pretty ill..along with 2 headed turtles, a hedgehog, some chipmunks, monkeys and rabbits :/
There was a free pony 'ride' which jimi and I
qued for until we realized we were in the exclusive company of small children and they were being walked around some traffic cones we had been queing by. With our youthful looks we probably could've got away with it. But I don't think our conscious would have.
Next on our adventure ticket we had an F1 experience. Sitting in a MDF F1 car doing a lap on a racing course on a ps2. Afterwards, fancying curry, we ended up in an English pub eating Bangers and Mash and playing cards talking about our trip to Borneo the next day. All what you'd expect in a day visiting KL!!
After having such a crap time in Indonesia, KL was a welcome relief. It was modern and the people were so friendly. Its by far the coolest city ive ever been to. Who can argue with free pony rides and the worlds longest indoor roller coaster? I cant.
There are more photos below