Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysian school girls

Allow me to take you on a photo tour of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

But first, let's look at Vietnam from the airplane (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam was a stop on our flight). I couldn't believe how crowded/awesome it looks, even from the plane. 

Below is the Sri Mahamariamman temple in Chinatown of KL (how the locals refer to Kuala Lumpur -- I'm all for making things simpler).

 First stop of the day, every day: iced coffee. Coffee from a bag is the best (which is typically what you get if you order "to-go"). And only 3 ringgit, which is less than $1 for two coffees! I am also convinced that there is, in fact, a McDonald's in every country in the world. Because there was one just around the corner wherever I matter which country I was in. 


After buying knock-off Chanel perfume for about $10 in Chinatown (it smells remarkably the same!), we made it over to Little India where we bought juices in flavors we weren't sure of and browsed the bazaar.  

While shopping, we noticed a henna place, so we stopped in and had our hands henna'd up.

Later that day, we visited the Batu Caves. Just a short bus ride out of town and we were there. Two hundred seventy-two steps and we were at the top, inside the cave. It was beautiful inside, but the highlights were definitely the crazy monkeys. 
I first noticed this monkey latched onto the bars that encased a shrine and its offerings inside the cave temple. He was stealing the food offerings. I held out some mixed nuts and he ran over, snatched the entire can from my hand, and then made a mess as he happily gobbled everything up. 

They were assertive monkeys, that's for sure. There was a mommy monkey parading her baby around, attempting to snag extra portions from the silly humans awe-ing over the small babe. And it worked in her favor, of course. Anna shared all the food she had with mommy and baby. When she was out of food, mom didn't quite believe her, so she jumped on Anna and dug inside of her bag to be sure. No food? Alright. She was off -- back up the rocky ledge that made up the right wall of the cave.

Outside of the cave, we had a tasty meal that was served to us on a banana leaf. We shared most meals and just ordered more if we were still hungry. In fact, what we did with our money was create a "pot" or a "joint fund" where we each threw the same amount into Anna's coin purse (it was always awkward when I accidently said, "Hey Anna, pay with our joint money" or "Just get the pot money.") But it was genius, because, whether it was food we were sharing or admission to somewhere, we could easily pay together. We only pulled from our separate funds when purchasing souvenirs. I dunno... I recommend doing it, if you're traveling with an honest friend. It definitely makes things easier -- you'll see.

 The Petronas Towers are currently the tallest twin towers in the world.
KL by night is absolutely gorgeous, as well.

The first hostel we stayed at was called the Backpacker's Travellers Inn. I can't lie, it was definitely the most disgusting place I've ever stayed in. But it was cheap. For only about 10 ringgit more, though, there's a place called Ribbon Stayyz Bed & Breakfast Guesthouse, which we discovered on our last night. It was clean, awesome, and still cheap (a little over $10 for both of us). 

Pharmacy with a F-A-R.
Speaking of our last night, it was supposed to be a Thursday and our plane would take off Friday at 8pm. We were coming from Tioman, which was a good five or six hours away from KL. We had planned to take the 10am bus, which would've given us plenty of time. Turns out it was full. So our only option was the 12:30 bus. We still could've made it...if it weren't for the several 30-minute breaks the drivers kept taking! I mean, I've taken quite a few long bus rides here in Asia and never has a bus stopped that much! Just our luck. We missed the flight by 15 minutes. 

We were to come back the next day at the same time to catch the same flight. I wasn't about the spend the next 24-hrs in the freezing airport, so we found a cheap bus going back into Chinatown. We were able to finish up our souvenir shopping that we hadn't quite completed, so it was a blessing in disguise. At least that's what I thought until we got to the airport and learned that the second leg of our flight was full, so we'd have to stay another night. I couldn't believe it. Back to Chinatown it was...but this time we found Ribbon Stayyz, so it was much more bearable. We hung out at the guesthouse for a while the next day and did henna on each others' feet.  We also met some awesome Japanese and French people (above). We got to take the flight that day and only had to pay a small fee, so everything turned out well. AND. My sweet mentor teacher let me take Monday off, since I didn't arrive in Korea until that morning. I happily dozed the rest of the afternoon away.

So, in the end, everything was okay.
It always is, after all.

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