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Published: March 7th 2009
Orchids, Railways and Urban Monkeys Saturday 7th March 2009
We didn’t expect to meet any monkeys in the heart of the Kuala Lumpur but this city is full of surprises! Today we walked, got lost, walked some more, got lost and eventually returned to Chinatown having seen far more of KL than planned and met up with a troupe of monkeys on the way! They were hanging out in the trees between the National Mosque and the Lake Gardens.
First off we crossed the river and made our way to KL railway station just to see the amazing architecture. Designed and built in 1911 by an eccentric British architect, in Moorish style with more minarets than a mosque and arches and domes galore, it is a masterpiece of Edwardian folly; superbly ridiculous and very grand! Across the busy road is the equally ornate Railway HQ, dating from the same period. After this we went to the National Mosque but it wasn’t open to non-Muslim visitors at that time. We planned to go back later but never got there (due to getting lost in the huge KL Lake Park. Well, it was as good a place as any to get
totally disorientated because it is exotic and verdant and in parts is like a real piece of Malaysian jungle in the heart of the city (rain included). We met the monkeys on the way, very few people and also discovered the wonderful Orchid Gardens. What was to be a short Saturday morning stroll ended up being a seven hour marathon hike! However, it was a lovely day, we saw far more than expected and it was worth the now-aching calf muscles! Now it is time to chill out for the evening, eat at the Old China again and pack the rucksacks ready to leave early tomorrow morning to catch the bus to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands.
We’ve just phoned a hostel in Tanah Rata to book a room. We asked “Do you have air con or fans?” The reply was “It is very cold here; we don’t use air con or fans!” Well we’ll find out when we get there but cannot imagine it “cold”, maybe a little chilly at night but surely not “cold”. It will probably be baking hot during the day. We have had temperatures here in KL in the upper thirties with 100
percent humidity, thunder and rain so we are expecting it to be just a little cooler but still hot (maybe “cold” by Malay standards) and will probably die of heat exhaustion without any fans! If we don’t blog anymore, our readers can assume that we have succumbed to the heat!
We have really enjoyed Kuala Lumpur; it is a great city, with very chilled-out urban monkeys!
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