Friday, August 14, 2009

Koala lumper

Malaysia's capitol city seems like a grittier, less glitzy version of Singapore. There is very little to no glamor in Kuala Lumpur, but it is still an interesting place to explore. We are staying near Chinatown, which seems more like an outdoor mall than a place where Chinese people still live. Little India still seems true to its name though. Sari textile shops and Bollywood CD stores sit elbow to elbow with restaurants serving up rotis and other items hot off the tandoor. From there, it is a short hop to the British Colonial district with a motley crew of Tudor buildings dropped out of the Alps and buildings covered in scallops and cupolas, topped off with a large fountain in the shape of a carnivorous pitcher plant, giant red flowers adorning the lightposts, and Malaysian flags sprinkled everywhere for garnish.

Further north the neighborhoods become more "Malay" with Chow Kit's bazaar, where I was almost knocked out by the overpowering smell of durian and in Kampung Baru, where the open-air Malay dinner buffets fill you until you almost burst, but somehow you find room for odd homemade desserts, like breadfruit donuts and banana covered in coconut. From Kampung Baru you have an clear view of Petronas Towers and while standing among the little one story tin roofed restaurants it looks like it dropped from outerspace, but it is just one short subway ride away.

We haven't been up in the Petronas Towers quite yet, but we have been to its mall. We also went to The Mall to see its innovative food court architecture. The Mall's food court is supposed to look like a streetscape, but somehow fails to create a better dining experience than actually going to one of these neighborhoods and eating on the street.

Tomorrow we are headed out to the Forestry Research Institute to soak up our last dose of jungle, but Sunday morning before we fly to Hong Kong, we will try to nab a free ticket to the Petronas skydeck so we can appreciate Kuala Lumpur from the air before flying out.

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