Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Derby week in Malaysia

While Louisville enjoyed what looked like a chilly Derby week, we spent the week in steamy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Fueled by 20th Century oil revenue, KL has exploded from a minor British colonial outpost into a swarming city of 7 million with hundreds of skyscrapers and one of the world's tallest buildings, The Petronas Towers. Lots of glittering shopping malls, lots of traffic, and lots of different cultures in the mix.  The majority Muslim population is evident--most women in public wear a stylish hijab or a more conservative chador or niqab.  Western dress is probably the next most evident--lots of engineers and bankers in dress pants and button downs.  There are also large populations of ethic Chinese, Indians, and Malays wearing traditional dress.

KL Bird Park was a hit

Most of KL's architecture is colonial British period or newer--very few structures date before 1800s.

The Petronas Towers, finished in 1999, are the symbol of KL and symbolize Malaysia's efforts to become the economic hub of SE Asia.  They're pretty impressive, as was the view from the 89th floor.

Very cool day trip to KL's  Little India neighborhood. Needing a restroom, we stumbled into the restaurant below.  It was devoid of tourists and as we walked through the restaurant, we all could feel eyes upon us.  Whit remarked "it feels like we're glowing."  (The loo, by the way, was ghastly.)  Our family of six often draws stares even in big US cities, but this was a whole new level.  We sat for lunch, had delicious vegetarian curries served on banana leaves, no utensils for most, but we found some spoons.  Our waiter was nice but we never did find common language--no English, no Malay.  It was an adventure on many levels for us!

Beauty in the street stalls

Meg was so excited to visit this famous mosque, Masjid Jamek, one of the oldest in KL.  After bailing from a too slow bus, Scott navigated several kilometers, across swarming traffic with a real paper map to get us there in the heat of the day, only to find it was closed.  Ok we said, what time can we return assuming closed for mid day prayers.  Nope closed until September for renovations.  Oh well the outside was cool.


Here is what you see at many a traffic light after 5 separate screens starting with "Angry?", "Take a deep breath and count, 1,2,3,4,5  and..."

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