Friday, December 19

Day 113-Kuala Lumpur

I think I have discovered my new favorite city!, and I am bound to use an excess of superlatives when describing KL, as she is known to the locals. It is a very walkable city, with distinct neighborhoods like Chinatown, where one finds the typical onslaught of street activity (including a most unappealing red-light alley), or the Golden Triangle, were business, fashion and entertainment each hold court. There I encountered a stretch of food stall the extent of a small university, and endless array of any imaginable fruit, vegetable or animal parts cooked and seasoned to please.
Above the street loom characteristic landmarks, like the Menara Kuala Lumpur, the worlds 4th highest communications tower, with a viewing deck 800 ft above the clamour, and the stunningly gorgeous Petronas Towers, the world highest until 2004, but to me the most beautiful structure of the modern age. Outside of town lie some notable sights as well. I employed three different forms of public transport, monorail, lightrail, and public bus to arrive at Batu Caves, a splendid Hindu holy site, guarded over by a 130 ft golden Murgha statue (again, the worlds tallest). Endless streams of devoutees climbed the 272 steps to the cave entrance, only to be greeted by ravaging hordes of jungle monkeys. I sensed that each of us was held to varying degrees in an uneasy terror. Later I passed on the worlds largest covered aviary, instead opting to visit the soothing and colorful butterfly garden.
These escapades were acheived not without a price however. The 90 degree day was bright under the equatorial sun, so every misstep took its toll. It took a good half hour to locate the bus stop to the caves, and I ambled an hour out of my way before finding the cool of the butterflys. One might expect to do better by asking directions, but as an example of how that can go, I had earlier asked the owner of my hostel if he could direct me to the train station. Very proudly and with enthusiasm he assured me that he could, and proceeded to explain that I simply walk out his door, turn right to the main road, and then, well, he wasn't so sure, I would have to ask someone on the street. That was good for about 50 of the 2000 meters I would need, and I am sure he noted my disgust as I plunged, trusty guidebook in hand, into the steamy morning.

No comments: