A City Affair

It’s been a bit longer than usual since my last post. I’ve been busy getting all dewy eyed and gooey over my new love, Kuala Lumpur. Also I just spent a week with highly sporadic internet connection, it’s not just me.

After leaving the rural areas of Cambodia, I was feeling ready for some metropolis action. I was ripe to be wooed with impressive architecture; charmed by an extensive transport system; seduced by infrastructure. Talk dirty to me efficient sewage system.
So yaars, I’ve been busy having a fling with that foxy devil, KL.
Several weeks ago I met a woman who was so hard to like that you couldn’t actually dislike her, you just ended up feeling sorry for her instead. Let’s just put it this way, she had a lot of ignorant things to say about refugees and Muslims.
However she did say how wonderful Malaysia was, which come to think about it is rather surprising since she had such a vehemently anti-Muslim stance, and Malaysia is 60% Muslim…
Her main reason for liking it was “Malaysia is a lot more Westernised than the rest of Asia“.
Whilst it’s not a reason to actively dislike a place, that certainly doesn’t bode well as an advertising slogan: “Come to Malaysia, experience a foreign country that will make you feel like you never left home.
Thankfully she had it all topsy turvy. Malaysia kicks ass. The major metropolises of the West wish they were Kuala Lumpur. I think what she meant was that there is a high level of creature comfort in Malaysia that she associates with the Western part of the globe. Perhaps she should take in a few other places, like Dubai, Singapore, Japan…rumour has it they’re quite civilized.
But enough bitching about a woman you’ll never meet, here instead are a few reasons why I’m head over heels for Kuala Lumpur.
1. It is ridiculous easy to get around. As well as a clean, quick, efficient metro and bus system that’s super cheap (I’ve yet to pay more than 75 cents for a journey within the city), KL also has five bus lines running around the centre of the city, that are completely and utterly free. Let’s have a collective moment of awed silence.
2. Architecture. Even though Kuala Lumpur is full of skyscrapers, they are perfectly spaced out so that you don’t get the claustrophobic “Aghhh the sky is about to fall on my head,“ feeling. Many of them have green spaces attached to them, and the structures tend to be interesting shapes with attractive building materials. The old, ornate, shorter buildings are blended really well with modern construction to give the city a beautiful horizon.
3. Trees. Talking of green spaces, Kuala Lumpur is big on trees. In fact the city has launched an initiative to add an extra 300,000 trees to the already leafy streets!
4. Food. Oh my, it’s hard not to get fat here.
5. The cultural melting pot. This place seems to have every contemporary religion I’ve come across (admittedly I‘m not that knowledgeable about religions): Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism…I’ve yet to find a Jewish or Sikh temple but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. And guess what, no one is fighting about it. They’re all just peacefully going about their business, not being offended by people wearing a different style of clothing, or praying on a different day in a different manner.  And as if common sense peacefulness wasn’t great enough, you can also get mouth watering naan bread in the same restaurant as a delicious bowl of tom yam, and a piece of heart attack inducing fried chicken. Result!
6. Art. Beautiful paintings, gorgeous batiks, clever sculptures…it’s everywhere and I love it all.
7. Malls. Those of you who know me personally may be surprised by this one, I‘m not a dedicated fan of shopping the way some people are. I don’t get excited for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the January sales. I couldn’t care less about the label on my clothes, generally speaking I think designer brands are a giant, and often tasteless, con. But wow, the malls here can be something else. I suspect I am seeing them at the best time of year, it being the run up to Christmas they are all trying to outdo each other with their festive displays. I’ve seen working railways; ice rinks; dancing snow men; hundreds of snowflakes; ferris wheels. My favourite though is the Pavillion mall which has a 100 ft tree; Christmas choirs and yes you are allowed to join in; Christmas dancers; a snow flake tunnel; and to cap it all off.. fake snow raining down from the roof. You cannot be a scrooge faced with that. Did I mention they are also air-conditioned?
8. The Petronas Towers. They are as incredible as everyone says. So graceful and beautiful. From far away they are gorgeous, up close they are astounding.
There will be more to come on Kuala Lumpur.

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2 thoughts on “A City Affair

  1. Wildly jealous, everything sounds so exotic (and warm and sunny). So from an exceptionally mild but damp and grey UK, we wish you a happy Christmas wherever you spend it. With love.

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  2. Merry Christmas to you too! Christmas Eve was spent dancing the night away on a rooftop; Christmas day was spent wondering why my legs hurt. Father Christmas brought me mosquito bites this year…on my face. It’s a wonderful conversation starter: “Happy Christmas – ooh what happened to your face? Did someone punch you?”
    I remain as classy as ever, even in the tropics!

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