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Published: March 22nd 2008
On my second full day in Kuala Lumpur, we started off with a leisurely breakfast before making our way out to the Batu Caves. These are caves about 12km outside of the city which are a limestone formation and the site of a Hindu Temple. Sense a theme we're building here? You must climb 260+ steps in order to enter the cave as it is quite high up in the limestone and once you enter the cavern there are several places to worship inside. The Batu Caves are particularly well visited during the Thaipusam festival which occurs during the first full moon of the calendar year. Thousands visit the temple for blessings, to perform penance, or to pray for miracles. It is rumored that infertility has been cured with a visit to the temple during this great festival. When we were there, we wore ourselves out climbing the stairs, wandered around inside and observed several blessings while watching the monkeys cavort inside the cavern. Yes, monkeys.
After the caves, they let me loose on downtown Kuala Lumpur or the KLCC - City Center. I rode the skytrain in and went straight to the Petronas Towers for some window shopping and
gawking at the scale and design of the towers that distinguish the KL cityscape. Outside the towers, there is a nice park with fountains and plenty of seating where workers and students came for exercise or social time late in the afternoon. Following that, I made my way over to the original 'tallest building' which is the KL "M" Tower. After a long walk and some rain while underway, I made it to the top of the hill and entered the impressive building. On the first level they have a screening room where they showcase a film about the making of the tower, which was accomlished in 18 short months. Fantastic design. It currently serves as the major tv and radio communications center for KL as well as containing an observatory and revolving restaurant. I did not go up to the observatory deck, but enjoyed the film and got some great shots of the tower at dusk.
The sun sets and I begin to get hungy so I make my way over to Ceylon street which is littered with hip and interesting cafes and bars. Park myself at one with free wifi and send you guys a few emails
Stairs Leading to Batu Caves
There were 260+ step stairs. We took breaks.
while drinking a cold Tiger (read: Bud). Even found Jen on gchat and traded a few rounds of "What's happening over there?" She with her coffee and I with my beer. NICE! Sometimes the 12hour difference to the east coast actually works.
The following day I am scheduled to leave for Penang and so we take advantage of the morning and make a trip over to Putrajaya. This is the new federal administrative center for Malaysia and is a planned city that was established approximately five years ago. While the plan for long term growth is in process and construction continues, there is sufficient infrastructure in place such that some government functions and citizens have relocated to the area. However, it appears to be going on somewhat slowly, as there is not much to do there socially and families are still unwilling to uproot themselves entirely. The architecture is mostly modern Arabic. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the city are the 8 city bridges that connect the island to the area around it.
Island? You might be wondering. Yes, the city was actually established on an old palm oil plantation and part of the city plan was
Inside Batu Caves
Caves are a limestone outcrop. Here we are inside, looking at the temples and about to ascend to an open air platform where the monkeys frolick.
to incorporate water and create harmony between nature and architecture. So they created this island from nothing by digging trenches and building damns on nearby rivers. Stephen shared a book with my all about the construction and I am astonished as to how much has been accomplished.
It was eerie to be in a city that seemed practically deserted. The sheer size of the buildings and bridges bring to mind a massive city teeming with people and the streets were fairly empty of cars and people on a weekday. I've never experienced anything like it before.
During our brief lunch, a young woman asked if she could take a picture of me for her photography class. She was learning how to do portraits and little did she realize that she was sitting down with two photographers who had plenty to say about it! We talked her ear off (well, Stephen did most of the talking) and sent her away with more information than she really knew what to do with. Awesome.
(MORE PICS TO COME! UPLOAD IS TOO SLOW AT THE MOMENT)
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