Day 3: “Finding ourselves”/gap yah

With each day comes a new surprise, and today was no different. I think I’m getting over the culture shock now, but the day began with something incredibly reminiscent of home. To be precise, a 45 minute train delay today got us talking about our experiences in Blighty with Southern railways. Anyone who’s had the pleasure will know what I mean.

Anyway, our first stop was Little India, a place we sought out for lunch because of its vast array of vegetarian options. However, because we are too wimpy to try street food right now, we headed for the franchise I had sampled last night at KLCC. As usual, Saravanaa Bhavan was delicious, and I was delighted to find out that they had a branch in Wembley. Next time I go there to visit my friend, I know where I’m going to eat. Also, this particular franchise had impressed my “prestige” university friend (and other half of the Dynamic Duo) Mohammed, who knows his way around Indian food. Praise indeed!

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This arch symbolises the friendship between India and Malaysia.

Back on the metro now to Independence Square. It used to be a cricket green when the British colonisers occupied it, and because nothing changes, you still aren’t allowed to walk on the grass. Weird mock tudor buildings line the square, within view of the national masjid (mosque) and Malaysian-style buildings.

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You can also see MUD “the musical”, which is allegedly a must see.

Our final stop for the day was Chinatown. The Old Market had some charm to it, and we’ll probably be visiting tomorrow to pick up some souvenirs. However, we were a bit disappointed with the rest of the area, because the marketplace mainly consisted of fake designer goods. Just like every other tourist trap, really. Not to worry though – the Hindu temple we stumbled across made it all better.

Upon entering Sri Mahamariamman, we took our shoes and socks off and were welcomed by a very friendly guard. Drums and horns signalled that a ceremony was about to start, so us and a couple of other European tourists joined in to watch. Walking about barefoot in the rain, hearing the music and listening to the ritual was the highlight of my day. Call me cliche, and probably a stupid white “gap yah” type, but I genuinely did find it somewhat spiritual and uplifting. Tarryne was taking sneaky shots of me.

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“I’m Hindu now, yah. Namaste”.

Opting to spend the evening in, we headed back to our apartments to finally enjoy the rooftop infinity pool, the main reason we booked this lovely flat in the first place. I went into the loo to freshen up. Although it’s an improvement on the no handwash/toilet roll situation that seems to prevail here generally (always take tissues with you into the toilet), this “soap” was questionable.

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Not to worry, though. Onwards and upwards to the 37th floor, where this view awaited us.

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It really is unbeatable. Fascinating, too. KL is a city of two halves. As you swim up to the edge of the pool, you’ll see the Petronas Towers, lots of hotels, and all the wealth that gravitates towards the centre of the city. Look down below, however, and you’ll see the slightly dumpy neighbourhood of Chow Kit, right next to the massive malls and hotel high rises that signify the start of the city centre. Very interesting.

My impression thus far of Malaysia is that the people are very friendly when they aren’t trying to sell you anything. KL also seems like a relatively safe city, other than the catcalling. We wish we had more time here, because there’s so much to see and do on the outskirts of the city! We still have a few days here, though, so we’ll make the most of it. Tomorrow we are going back to the markets to try our hand at haggling. I can’t help but feel that our British sensibilities will take over, and we’ll end up getting ripped off, just like Richard Ayoade in Travel Man.

See below at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/travel-man-48-hours-in/on-demand/58579-002.


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