January 21

I'm taking the train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur today. It's about a 7 hour trip. I could have taken the bus or flown, but any method is basically all day so I decided to go for the train.

There's a small market across the street from the Singapore station where this woman was making sandwiches for about $1.50 usd. Four sandwiches to be precise. You got the whole loaf of bread with the jam, margarine, and peanut butter for $1.50.

I ate the whole thing.
The train was a good ride through basically the jungle...
...and hours of these palm groves from which they produce palm oil (if I got it right from the internet...).
C.O.L.D. It was so cold on that train. I had to get out my airplane socks it was so cold.
After having eaten the loaf of bread sandwiches I wasn't hungry again until long after dark, and I usually don't go out after dark, but I was hungry and this place was just down the block.

I had to have the Thai soup even though I'm here in Malaysia, and it was puuuuurfect - all the right ingredients that the Thai places in LA don't always have with just the right kind of heat, not just adding red pepper flakes. Oh so good.

I say puuuuurfect because...
...it's my first cat of the trip! He hung around my seat the whole time. Aww, kitty kitty!
January 22

Welcome to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, according to their promotional material, the "World's Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary".
It was fun and the weather was perfect - almost totally overcast but balmy and with the occasional misty-rain and soft breeze I was cool and happy.
I spent some time trying to get these guys hidden in a bush and then after that I noticed 100 more.
Eating papayas. Looked good to me too.
This whole tree was full of nesting birds and it might be that they have over-reached critical mass with some of the breeds.
A feeding tree, one of many.
The KL Tower, Menara Kuala Lumpur, one of the landmark buildings of Kuala Lumpur.
The dome of the Islamic Arts Museum and a minaret from the National Mosque.
Another shot of the dome.
The welcome sign...
...and the welcome plaza.
They had a large collection of illuminated Qurans and otherwise their displays were highly curated in that there were just a few perfect examples of the topic at hand.
There was a large display of historic mosques all built to scale with very interesting write-ups. I'm glad to have seen it.
Waiting for a taxi under the portico of the museum.

They have an uber-style taxi system that I loved. All the participants are metered taxis that have chosen to join the system. In this case the museum did the transaction for me and previously the guest house did it but it worked just as uber does - you know who's coming and you know how much it's going to cost.
The buffet part of one of the many establishments such as this one in my neighborhood. Over to the left is the place where they bbq the satay sticks and cook the fresh flat breads. There is also a beverage and dessert area on the right.

These are all open air places under a roof and crowded with local people and tourists alike.
I am feeling very warm towards Kuala Lumpur after these two days. Let's see how the next few days develop.

That's my guest house, the three story aqua blue building at the very far end of the street. I'm in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood.

From a KL website: "Throbbing with activities of various kinds 24-7, the hip and happening Bukit Bintang remains Kuala Lumpur’s trendiest shopping and entertainment district. Combining historical charms with contemporary chic, this area has managed to retain its popularity over the years, both with locals and visitors alike."
January 23

I walked for hours today not exactly lost but not exactly found either, wandering through huge shopping malls and long long corridors both above and below the surface of the earth.

This is the biggest mall, Paradise, at the edge of my neighborhood Bukit Bintang.
It seemed people were coming from far and wide to take pictures with the vast displays for Chinese New Years.
From this mall you can hook up with a spider web of pedestrian walkways that take you around the new business centers at the Kuala Lumpur City Center.

I took a wrong turn up here but not problem, I just turned around.
Finally making it here, to the KL Petronas Twin Towers. That bridge up in the middle of the picture is one of the stops on the tour.

I had to wait a couple of hours for my chance to go up there but I was glad to have gotten a ticket at all. And half price for my senior citizen status!
This is the plaza of the two buildings and under here and stretched beyond is a gigantic shopping mall.

Notice the businessmen hanging around the doors smoking. I didn't go into a single place where people were smoking inside and that was pretty fab and not what I expected at all.

Also you can see the flags hanging on the left. They are getting ready for Federal Territories Day on February 1st. The Federal Territories include Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya. Malaysia includes these three Federal Territories and thirteen states.
So many local people and tourists gathering around this spot for a photo.
On the viewing bridge.
Looking back at the crowd.

Each hour they had about five groups of twenty moving through the various stopping points so it never got too crowded and the staff who led us around were more than helpful to answer any questions.
That large construction site is going to be a tourist center according to one of the guides. You can see you can't see very far because of the low-hanging clouds which made for such comfortable walking but not so great for the views.
Awesome caps on these buildings. We have moved from the bridge to a much higher floor in Tower Two looking onto Tower One…
...and Tower One has a better view of the communications tower but is fully occupied by PETRONAS and won't be having anything to do with tourists any time soon.

The communications tower is just a few meters shorter than the PETRONAS towers and depending on the angle can look taller because it is positioned on a hill, or shorter if you are far away.
Looking down.
They had some cool technology including holding your ticket up to a screen and seeing some 3D images and fun facts about the towers.
For some perspective.
Foot Massage!

In my neighborhood there are dozens of these places. They do full body massage too but I've only had the foot massage...twice. It costs between $12-20 for an hour depending on the time and the place.
A food stall street in my neighborhood, everyone getting their business dressed up for Chinese New Year.

Everywhere I've been so far (Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur) is fully into it and they've all started more than a month in advance.
January 24

My tour-mates, ((get the name of the company)) some real cutie-pies, getting the knack of making Malaysian tea. We were a group of four and that was so great. The guide was fabulous and with so few people we all got to ask any question we wanted.
For our first stop we were in a halal place and had some extremely tasty and interesting food.

They make a very very thin dough, as thin as a sheet of filo, and then fold it over very lightly with various things inside. The cone is the same sheet cooked in that shape with sugar.
As I am writing this it has been three days since the tour and I have forgotten almost everything. I'm sorry! For me especially.

We are visiting the original Chinatown and the original Little India. A few events happened including floods and wars resulting in the destruction of the timber structures of which the city was primarily built.
The oldest of what's left are buildings from the British era in the 1920s which, according to the guide, are being lost at every turn and need to be protected.
A walkway covering with the decoration in the shape of a traditional kite.
I think this was the first Buddhist temple, or the oldest Buddhist temple left...I forget...it is very unfortunate all I forget when I don't write about these things on the very evening of doing them.

This place is where you pray for peace of mind and heart...
...and this place is where you pray for prosperity.
Next we went to the first or was it the oldest Hindu temple.
Those two guys were playing for the ceremony above after which we all got to break a coconut to release all your bad feelings. It was great!

You whack that coconut into the pit. I was so intent on having it break that I broke it with a fury and splashed coconut water all over my bag. Now I have souvenir marks by which I will remember this event.
Those are the flower stalls that border the temple. The guide bought us all these bracelets.
Second stop: a long hall of food stalls. We settled into a table and the guide brought us things to try.

Sweet beverages are always on the plan.
And tasty treats. I would name them if I could remember.
Our group.
The fish guy.
See the sign at the top-middle, where it says 'banana leaf food'. It's a southern Indian restaurant you reach by walking down that long narrow hall and...
...up a flight of stairs to this place. You get rice and scoops of various foods that you eat with the five fingers of your right hand.

We all enjoyed the food and the adventure.
Our excellent guide offering another delight as we walked through another food court.
If I remember rightly, the oldest mosque in KL.
Another example of the buildings around Bukit Bintang.

I enjoyed another foot massage(!) and then went home early to get ready for tomorrow's trip to Myanmar for the next phase of this trip.
HomeAsia • Malaysia • '15 Jan: Malaysia

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