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Published: August 19th 2008
We have been trying to make the effort to go out and discover our new surroundings. The first few weeks this really entails where can you buy this, get that, take care of whatever bill. But now we are more concerned with what there is to do in KL. Here is an overview of some of our recent adventures.
Pulau Ketam - Crab Island
At the end of the KTM line (which is directly behind our apartment) is Port Klang. Here you board a strange half-submerged old rusty ferry and travel to Pulau Ketam for a leisurely day. Its a Chinese fishing village on an island covered in Mangrove trees. The houses are all on stilts and a narrow set of sidewalks runs between them. The island has a full sized school, several temples and stores and a small hotel. You rent a bicycle and can tour the island easily in a few hours.
We happened upon a ceremony to which we were eagerly invited to watch and film. Having no idea what was going on, it turned very interesting very quickly. Three different people were in trances and being led about by assistants. Others were
Craig on the beach outside the Awana Kijal resort.
drumming, and the incense was burning, the air was thick with smoke. Then to our surprise they carried a large paper house down to the stream and started to fill it with replica paper, whether it was prayer sheets or replica money (like they use in China) I am not sure. Then they lit the whole thing on fire, including two very large puppets. As the house burned, the man in a trance flogged himself with a sword and whip until his back bled. It was one of the stranger events to happen upon.
Before we left the island we enjoyed an unbelievable meal of fresh steamed fish and vegetables. As we walked back to the ferry we looked down at the mud (tide was out) and discovered that "Crab Island is aptly named. Stray dogs were chasing crabs scrambling about in the mud.
Our fifth anniversary has come and passed. We treated ourselves to a weekend getaway at the Equatorial Hotel in downtown KL. It was a chance to explore the city on foot. We visited KLCC (the Petronus Towers complex) and Chinatown. The Petronus Towers were until recently the tallest building
This is apparently a KL treat, the fish that tastes like chicken.
in the world, and we can see them from our bedroom window, though quite in the distance. The place to see them in KL is at the Sky Bar at the top of the Traders Hotel. This place is crazy! The bar features a pool and hot tubs. Its atop a 30 story building with the perfect view of the towers.
Earlier in the day we visited Aquaria in KLCC, which was also pretty fun. It starts by displaying river fish, then ocean surface creatures, then mid-level ocean creatures and finally the really weird things you find at the bottom. The highlight is a tunnel with a moving sidewalk that goes underneath a giant aquarium. Sharks and stingrays and other creatures I didn't recognize swim around and over you. It was so much fun we did it twice.
Obviously after living in China for a year, Chinatown was a bit dissapointing. Nonetheless we found a good restaurant for lunch that served some familiar treats. The streets are filled with hawkers selling knock-offs, so I guess they have the basic premise.
Free Trip to Awana Kijal
Imagine this, our university sent us to a beach
resort for the weekend all expenses paid! We had to reschedule our Friday classes and left early that morning. About 3 hours of teambuilding was involved over 3 days. The beach was incredible. I spent most of Saturday afternoon marking on the beach, but nonetheless, if one has to mark, why not do it on the beach? We will have to return to the East Coast soon.
Durian Fruit Festival
Durian fruit is known is South East Asia as the King of Fruits, and may be among the foods least palatable to visiting Westerners that can exist. The smell is pungeant. Sweet, with a mixture of the scents of gasoline, garlic and onion. Its a spiky fruit which is cut open with a cleaver. Inside, fleshy parts can be removed. They have the consistency of a thick custard with a skin holding it in (like the film that develops on gravy when allowed to cool). The taste is sweet, with an underscore of onion. Durian fruits are not allowed in most high end hotels, as the odour permeates everything. Those who grow up with the fruit adore it.
I am actually catching up on my blogs while on vacation. We have one week off in August and are currently in Thailand (fodder for the next blog). Originally we had thought we couldn't leave Malaysia until January 1st for residency purposes, but it now turns out we had it backwards, and can't leave Malaysia from January 1st to July 1st. So we booked ourselves out of Malaysia at the very last minute and are having a blast.
The school is great. We love only having on prep. The university environment is also fantastic. Classes can be dismissed early, and no supervision duty.
We are watching the Beijing Olympics, and are mostly happy to be avoiding the craziness, but a little sad at the same time. To all our friends back in Teda, may you have a smooth start-up to your year.
Big Hugs, Beth and Craig
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