A Kuala Lumpurfect Day
Trip Start Feb 15, 2011
56Trip End Aug 20, 2011
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Fast forward five months and Aaron and I fly into Southeast Asia without much of a plan of what we’re doing, where we’re going, or how we’re doing it
To be totally honest, I nearly backed out on what turned out to be a highlight of our entire trip so far. I wasn’t feeling well, so I wasn’t in a good mood, and the prospect of walking around KL in the steep humidity and mid-day heat didn’t entice me. But the ever-prescient Aaron reminded me it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to see the city from a local’s perspective, and I sucked it up. The second we shook hands with Dexter in the lobby of our hostel, I knew I would be glad I didn’t wimp out. Not only was talking to Dexter like talking to an old friend – but he brought his air conditioned car!! This was no walking tour – this was a luxury guided tour on four wheels!
We started out by driving just outside the city to the famous Batu Caves which houses the world’s largest Murugan statue inside its limestone caverns
Back in our air conditioned car, we drove into town to the impressive Petronas Towers – at 490 meters tall stood as the tallest in the world from 1996 to 2003. According to our knowledgeable guide, the twin towers were commissioned to different architects – one Japanese and one South Korean – and it was a race to see who would finish first. It’s probably no surprise that the Japanese architect won, though only by a few minutes. We spent time taking photos and walking through the City Center nearby, and had our first introduction to Malaysian food at a local eatery. Dexter treated us to a local specialty known as nasi lemak – a coconut rice dish with peanuts, chili sauce, boiled egg and anchovies. It would soon become a staple of Aaron’s and my diet. Off we went again to see a few more sights of the city before Dexter dropped us off at our hostel around 5:30
Before leaving on the night train the next day, Sherry and Dexter drove all the way back into the city so we could treat them to lunch – though we had to make Dexter promise not to sneak away and pay. We headed to Chinatown, grabbed a large table, then walked around ordering various dishes from various stalls, then proceeded to sample all that we could. Our lunch feast paled in comparison to the seafood the previous night, but it was still a lot of fun to try all the amazing local dishes and attempt to repay their kindness from the day before. They even had time to answer all our Malaysia questions: "Why are people rioting in the city?", “Why does everyone ride their motorcycles with jackets on backwards?”, or “Where can we buy alcohol in a conservative Muslim country?” (answer: Chinese pharmacies. Nice). After our lunch in Chinatown, Dexter drove us to our final sight-seeing location: the Royal Palace. We didn’t spend too much time there since the gates are locked, but it was a nice wrap-up to our extensive tour of Kuala Lumpur and all of its sights, sounds, food and people. As we said our goodbyes to Dexter and Sherry, I must say my faith in humanity had been restored. After spending months and years on the road, you become accustomed to people trying to “nickel and dime” you everywhere you turn, trying to give you false information knowing that you don’t know any better, and get their hands on your expensive iPod or camera. But it’s nice to know that for every crooked or dishonest person that we encounter, their antithesis exists– as the Chans have extensively proven. Dexter and family- thank you again and even if you never make it over the US so we can return the favor, just know that it is being paid forward to someone else.