Hello civilization, so nice to see you again.

Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sunshine Bedz KL
What I did
Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Historic District
KL Tower
Jalan Alor Food Street

Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kuala Lumpur airport impressions:

-          Women fully covered in their burqas; Middle Easter men with headscarves; Japanese men that look like they jumped out of a Karate Kid movie with long white hair and even longer beard, skull cap and polyester white track suit; girls in dresses so ultra short I wouldn't wear them as t-shirts; Western business men; dreadlocked backpackers.
-          No one stares or bothers, it seems that anything goes and no one cares.

I hope this will be the civilization fix I so desperately need right now. I sense it can be just that while still keeping things exotic.

I don't recall speaking to anyone that liked KL, but I am quite enjoying it. My hostel is pleasant, friendly multi-lingual staff, clean with warm water showers. A shower head that points and sprays exactly where it is supposed to, a Western toilet with seat, toilet paper and flush. Clean sheets and beds. Hallelujah! Streets with more food options than you can count. The only person that looks at me (or rather my décolleté) is a young bearded man walking in front of his hijab-clad wife (or sister or mother – I can’t tell, she’s too covered up). I feel at home in this world again.

With a bit of a cold, my energy levels are low, so I take it easy on the sight seeing. I cover some must do’s: KL Tower, Petronas Towers and Historical District. And of course, it wouldn’t be Kuala Lumpur if I could resist the tempting shopping opportunities. Dang!

I came here trying to apply for a visa to India and because it’s a cheap hub to fly to anywhere once I know what my next destination is. After I learn that my chances to get that visa as a non-Malaysian are a pathetic 1%, I don’t bother wasting my time and money. Instead I book a flight to visit my friend Hubert in Hong Kong and see if I have more chances to apply for India there. Malaysia will have to wait to be discovered further some other time.

Things I learned from my deaf, old (Chinese) cab driver, named 'CK’ on the way to catch my Hong Kong flight:
-          Malaysia has the most accidents world wide. Why? Because you can buy your driver’s license.
-          Population make-up is 65% Malay, 30% Chinese, 5% other. Verified against Wikitravel those numbers are actually 50.4% / 23.7% / 25.9%.
-          The government is 90% controlled by Malay, who therefore protect Muslim people. Wiki confirms this.
-          The first Prime Minister’s name was Rahman. CK believed in some conspiracy theory that every PM since was elected based on the letters in the first one’s name. So the 2nd was called Abdul, the 3rd Hussein, the 4th Mahathir, the 5th Abdul and the current Najib. CK is excited that the next election leaves more options, now that the Rahman name is done with.
-          The PM of Singapore is the son of Malaysia’s last PM.
-          All of CK’s sons became Muslims, because they married Malay girls. CK is not happy with that.
-          A person who has the middle name of ‘Abdullah’ is a converted Muslim, not a Muslim by birth (or ‘real’ as CK calls them).
-          Indonesian Muslims can eat pork, because they are mixed (=converted) Muslims, not ‘real’ ones.
-          CK’s brother lives in ‘Hambo’. It took me a lot of effort to figure out that that is ‘Hamburg’.

The drive to the airport usually takes 45 minutes. CK admits that it takes longer when he talks. My ride takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Which I am quite alright with considering all the things I learned ;)
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