Thursday, February 9, 2017

Random Thoughts, Then KL

Thoughts and observations about our first few Asian nations: 
  • I'd be interested to see Jakarta, Indonesia one day to see how much different it is than Bali. I know it's a big city, but I'd also like to see how it compares with the other Asian cities we've visited.
  • I was not surprised by how well English is spoken in Singapore, but I'm very surprised at how good it is in Malaysia, both Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Even the radio was all in English. It must be all the European influences of it's history. Even Indonesia's English was good (specifically Bali) but that's because it's a tourist hot spot. 
  • Singapore has fantastic food! They have 22 Michelin starred restaurants and a few on the World's 50 Best. Check out our photos and eating adventures on Instagram @ DrunkEats
  • Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia all had very similar food preparations. Even the names of their dishes were similar. (ie. mie goreng is a noodle dish of similar prep in each country) 
  • Some words in Malaysian are similar to words in Cebuano / Filipino. For example, "lelaki" in Malaysian means "male." In Cebuano or Filipino it's "lalake" or "lalaki." 
  • Many Malaysians and Indonesians look similar to Filipinos. Often times, they are confused for one another. 
  • There are many Muslim Asians in Malaysia. Maybe there are many also in Indonesia but we were at the beaches all the time, so we'd probably never have seen them there. Also, the island of Bali is one of the few places in Indonesia that is Hindu predominantly. What do you think about that DDrumpf? Are you going to start deporting those people or banning them from the United States? 
  • Local people (in any of the 3 nations) do not sweat even though it's uncomfortably hot and humid. Maybe their bodies are just accustomed to this type of weather. 
  • Malaysia is often the forgotten country of Asia (just my opinion). Maybe it's because their food is similar to others or their people look like Filipinos. Maybe it's because their neighbors (Thailand to the North and Singapore to the South) are so much more popular in cuisine and tourism. I'm not sure I can put a finger on it, but I think I can understand why. 
  • In the automobiles, we're back to steering on the left and driving on the right side of the road. It's been a while. The last time we experienced this, we were in Chile at the beginning of December. New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore all steer on the right and drive on the left side of the road. 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (aka KL)

We were warned not to take a taxi because they’re notorious for being cheats. But that’s what we did. After a short 2-hour bus ride up from Malacca, we ventured a taxi ride from a man who at the onset of the conversation was belligerent and rude. I knew we would be in for it. This older man didn’t help put our luggage into the car. Then after we got in the car he started to speed off without putting on the meter. In his heavily accented English, he tried to say that he would give us a good price and not to worry. But we were not having that. We demanded that he put the meter on, to which he scoffed and became immediately angry. We argued for a quick few seconds that seemed to last minutes until he put the meter on begrudgingly. He complained that we were checking our GPS to make sure he was going the right way because we didn’t trust him and asked us if we had money. To put him in his place we asked him if he had any money and if he wanted any of ours because we know he doesn’t have any money. Because yes, we have money to pay and yes, we’re checking the GPS because yes, we don’t trust your rude ass. And if you want our money, then do what you’re supposed to do. Drive and put the meter on. End rant. He drops us off and doesn’t stop the meter when we get out to take our bags, so we are sure to pay exactly what we saw the meter at when we arrived. The man still refuses to assist with our bags, but had the audacity to ask for 1RM more for the luggage (as if he helped with it at all). How rude (Michelle Tanner voice). Carolyn told him to calm down, leave, and go pray for his life to be better. Haha.

Since then, we’ve had nothing but good experiences in Kuala Lumpur. The rest of the people have been friendly. The Bukit Bintang area of KL is a happening neighborhood. The night market of Jalan Alor is sure to whet your appetite. We've eaten quite a bit here for very cheap. Literally a meal cost us 30RM, which is less than $8USD for 3 people. Changkat Bukit Bintang is sure to lure you into a bar or club. We popped into The Whisky Bar that had a wide variety of labels from all around the world. And then we spent the rest of our evening at quiz night at the local Irish Pub. And the massage alley could easily convince you to rest your feet and stretch your back. But keep this in mind. Negotiate everything. We didn't get any massages though.

We passed through the Central Market, walked down Petaling Street, and strolled through Chinatown. But all of these places seemed so much like others we've visited in the past. A brief glance is all we needed to satisfy our checklist.

We learned that Uber is super cheap here and more reputable and trustworthy than any taxi. So we took an Uber ride to and from the Batu Caves. It so happens to be the Hindu feast of Thaipusam coming up this 9 February so people are making somewhat of a pilgrimage to see the holy site. Devout Hindus are walking barefoot while carrying jugs of milk up 272 steps into the caves to offer to the gods. It’s certainly a sight to see especially with the giant golden Hindu statue standing at the foot of the caves.

Devout Hindu with jug of milk on her head making her way up the 272 steps. 

The foot of the Batu Caves where the celebrations for Thaipusam have begun.

Grab a bite to eat or find some local souvenirs. This market has everything you are looking for in Kuala Lumpur.

Me, Carolyn, & Mike at the base of the Petronas Towers

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