We had 23 hours of actual travel time, from the moment we stepped in front of our door until we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. An adventure not to be compared with any other for me, visiting childhood memories for Hass.
I travelled my fair share but most of it had been in Europe. America I was my furthest and Egypt was the most exotic. I read and watched travel programs but nothing could quite prepare me for Asia.
Don’t get me wrong. I thought I was prepared for smells, holes in the ground toilets and the virtual no personal space policies. I have seen pictures of temples and markets and the food… And everything is exactly how I expected it, but so much more intense. Knowing and feeling, smelling and using are absolutely different pairs of shoes.
I also was prepared for the heat. I enjoyed the last summer in Spain, in which the temperatures climbed into the 40ºC. What I was not prepared for was the humidity! The first evening, as we went out for dinner in Kuala Lumpur, that before mentioned humidity swang it’s a hammer and knocked me out. Paired with the tiredness of just having travelled 23 hours and being hungry I was ill-equipped for the market street we entered. The spectre hustling and hustling just hit me as the humidity did. Waves of emotions washed over me and suddenly all preparation was forgotten. “Yay, we are here!” ” Eww, but it stinks” “Why is that dude so close to me and I’m supposed to eat something that has been hanging here all day…. ” where just a few thoughts that went through my head. As we finally settled and I had composed myself, my curious personality came back and made this experience again much more pleasurable.
Considering I never liked chicken sate in the Netherlands and grew to love it just before I left, I had to compare my memory with the local version of the dish and I was not disappointed. Complete different approach to the sauce but never the less quite tasty. It was interesting to just sit and watch the locals eat, stroll and barter. Even the signs of the food stalls can be very entertaining. Here is one in the background on which “Frog Porridge” is featured and it is one of the more curious ones we found.
The rest of our stay in Kuala Lumpur was pleasant but not really exciting. We tried to get accustomed with local food, humidity, temperature and find the right attire for the rest of the trip, therefore spend most of our time in shopping malls and have been at least partial success for Hass. We decided to do the touristy things on our way back since we have another 2-3 days in Kale (like the locals say here). We visited the Hard Rock Cafe and I had the hottest wings in my history of hot wings. To mark the occasion, we both bought our first Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt 🙂 A bit a shame that we do not have the Vegas and Hawaii ones too as we had been there last year.
Some of our time we spend in the hotel because it was quite special. The Majestic is part of the heritage program and is styled in colonial flair. The doorman was dressed up in a colonial explorer outfit. And the colonial cafe ‘celebrated’ their British occupation back in the time withdrawing room and gin, afternoon tea and even offered scones with real clotted cream, which I was hard pressed to find in England last year.
What amazed me most in these first few days, is the diversity of people, with the diversity of culture and religion, who apparently can live and work side by side. I wonder if that is just working on the surface or if years of occupation really melted these cultures together. Have they after all found a way to peacefully coexist? And how can we in the west learn from this?
Since I didn’t manage to write more, here a few pictures from the trip