Kuala Lumpar - Visa Renewal Trip 17 to 21 December 2007

KL reminded us of Singapore, a somewhat sanitized version of Asia, again with a wealth of shopping centres. We stayed 3 days in China town very frenetic and busy, and (in honour of my delayed birthday as we spent the day driving !) we upgraded to a 5 star hotel for one night, which was luxurious. The streets of China town are one big market, everywhere there are people trying to flog “genuine copies” of watches, DVDs, bags and anything really. Space is at such a premier that they use car stackers in the city centre. Even though KL is predominantly Moslem it did feel a bit more Christmassy here, as they do have some ex-pats and Christians, so we saw our first Santa!

The population is very culturally diverse and though historically there have been some tensions everyone seems to get along ok. A nice sign of this was in China town where a Hindu temple – Sri Mahamariamman - with some very impressive tiled panels and reliefs was next door to a lovely Chinese Buddhist temple. You see a number of Buddhist monks making the rounds begging. They have to do this to teach them humility and we always gave, but had a bit of a run in on one occasion. We had very little change on us so gave him 2RM but he kept asking for 10RM, this is the first time I have been required to haggle over a voluntary donation! Very un-Monk like behavior I thought!!

The food in Malaysia was amazing, we had a wonderful meal out for my birthday (sadly though the restaurant was strict Muslim so I didn’t get a birthday drink!) the food courts are superb, with all sorts of delicacies like pig’s feet pickled in vinegar, and fish head soup to tempt the jaded palate.. there was a big sign on the wall “DO NOT SPIT NEAR THE FOOD!!!” which is always reassuring!!

On the last day we visited the Petronas Twin Towers which are in the middle of KL. They are the tallest twin towers in the world, being 452 metres a piece. They do not sell tickets you have to queue up from 7am and you get given a slot. It is a bit like a school trip you are given badges and herded in to listen to a broadcast about Petronas (government owned Petroleum Company.) We were  allowed up to the sky bridge that links both buildings this is 170 metres high and the view was amazing. The building also houses offices, shops an art gallery and a concert hall.

We were able to meet up with the MAA (Malaysian Automobile Association) who look after the carnet to start sorting out the paper work for next month when we arrive back in Malaysia with the car. In the meantime it’s back to Padang to get our new 30 day visa and continue our trip round Sumatra.