Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kuala Lumpur: She has a really good personality.

I hate to say this, because Kuala Lumpur is lovely in many ways, but it isn't pretty. It's kind of Tijuanaesque, in fact.

The skies are gray (owing to either an impending torrential downpour, or the smoke from forest fires in Borneo, I was never quite sure, but you kind of have to be entranced by a place whose smoke comes from Borneo), and while there are lush landscapes and beautiful modern buildings (such as the Petronas Towers),

just around the corner will be a burned out building that has been sitting there rotting for decades. (And I'm sorry - but I didn't really get a lot of shots of the ugly parts, so you'll have to take my word for it.)

No, KL couldn't be called pretty ..... But the people are warm, hospitable and multi-cultural. More so than any place I've ever been.

(These women looked exactly the same from the front.)

To me they were like ghosts wandering the streets. Holding hands with their husbands, or shopping at the Chanel cosmetics counter. (I guess when the only thing that shows is your eyelashes, you're willing to spend a bit more on Mascara.)

Everywhere you went there were extremes. Abayah clad Middle Eastern women intermingled with Japanese youths in mini-skirts, and Western women in tanks and short shorts.

The food was as diverse as the people.

And with the exception of this "Sausage and Vegetable" thing, was quite appealing. Malay food is much like Thai. But they also had a lot of Chinese and Indian, which I love. Plus, everything had coconut. I wallowed in a carb, peanut butter and dairy frenzy, all of which I've forsaken on American soil. (But seriously, could I pass up Peanut Butter broth for dessert? No.)

One stand at the mall sold "Pizza, Lasagna, Shepard's Pie, and Waffles." Because, you know, nothing says dessert after Pizza like a Waffle.

My "free" day in Malaysia I woke at 4:00AM, so I got an early start. This is the Petronas Towers at dawn.

I went to Batu Caves which is basically an ancient limestone cave which is home to the World's Largest Murugan (never heard of him before this) and Hindu temple.

I have to tell you, this thing is spectacular. The photo doesn't do it justice. There was something really powerful about it when standing there in front of it. I guess I can't always be sardonic, because I was moved by my whole experience here.

I climbed the steps.

A lot of them

And saw some very cool things

This picture gives a great perspective of KL. Natural beauty and a beautiful structure, surrounded by the gray skies and ugly buildings.

This one reminds me of my sister.

After the main cave, I happened upon another temple. (After I was chased by a big scary dog.) (OK, I wasn't chased, it ran up to me and wagged its tail.) (And it was the size of a chihuahua, but I was still scared. It totally could have been feral.)

It was 8:00AM and apparently time for a morning ceremony. Which for the first 15 minutes was nothing but a drum and some kind of blowy instrument. I stood back, trying to be discreet as I waited for something to happen, not wanting to intrude, but not wanting to miss a once in a lifetime experience.

I snuck a quick photo and and stepped further back, and almost ran into this guy.

There were monkeys everywhere! I guess I was lucky he didn't grab my camera, because I later heard stories about Monkey's taking things right out of people's hands.

Is that a Pineapple in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?

Anybody who's seen my ass knows I love butterflies, so after the Caves, I hit the Butterfly Park.

And here's what I learned ....

Live butterflies scare the shit out of me. (See above: Chihuahua ) Every time one got anywhere near me, I jumped, quiet screamed and then laughed at myself. Which probably made my fellow tourists a bit discomfited.

My fellow tourists. Abayah courtesy of Islamic oppression, shoes by Nike.

And now, a Public Service Announcement:

SERIOUSLY. No raping. No raping PERIOD. But, if you have to rape, please, rape the wall, not the children.

The Petronas Towers at night.

In closing, I felt it important to explain Malaysia butt washing. There is no "bidet" in Malaysia. Toilets come equipped with a hose which I assume shoots water and washes your butt. Public restrooms in Malaysia have these hoses, many of them in lieu of toilet paper, so always travel with tissues. Also, don't be alarmed by the soaking wet floors. It's very likely just the water from a recently used butt washer.

I was unable to determine how a recently washed butt dries.

The complete photo album can be seen here (I know, but there really are more, and some of them are really cool.) Hit "view all pictures" and watch in Slide Show mode for your best enjoyment.