Monday, December 7, 2009

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is a dynamic and modern capital. I came for two reasons--the delicious food and the fact that my flights connected there.

As my CS host Mike told me, eating is a national pastime. It didn’t take me long to witness and experience this hobby. The ethnic diversity of Malaysia, with its Chinese, Indian and Malay populations, contributes to its culinary greatness. On my first night, Mike took me to a local Chinese outdoor food court. There were stalls selling wonton noodles, dim sum, fried noodles, fried rice and other items. We each drank a refreshing coconut. To fill our stomachs, we savored chicken and beef satay (skewers dipped in peanut sauce); and curry laksa (noodles with tofu and meat in a curry broth). Other foods and drinks I sampled include nasi lemak (rice with curry anchovies wrapped in a banana leaf), roti canai (thin, flaky Indian flatbread), banana leaf rice (rice with veggies, dhal and curry laid out on a banana leaf; Indian), char key teow (thick noodles with prawns, eggs and shellfish), sugarcane juice and long-an juice (fruit). I simply ate and ate as everything was scrumptious!

The second reason I came to KL was due to my Air Asia flights. Air Asia is the biggest budget carrier in Southeast Asia with flights to many destinations. The airline is based in KL and thus many travelers end up visiting KL even though it was not there original plan. The airline is strictly no frills--nothing is free (not even water). To keep ticket prices low, the airline does not allow passengers to consume their own food or drink; the airline limits checked bags to 15kg; the airline has seats narrower than usual. I think that it is bearable to fly with Air Asia for a few hours. However, my eight-hour flight from the Gold Coast (in Australia) to KL was unbearable, mainly due to the narrow seats. I felt squished!

As for sightseeing, the most prominent landmark in KL is the Petronas Twin Towers, featured in the film Entrapment. My CS host Mike took me on a nighttime tour of KL on his motorcycle. I got the opportunity to view the magnificently lit towers. The next morning, I waited in line for one hour before obtaining a ticket to the twin towers’ sky bridge, which is on the 41st floor (the total number of floors is 88). Other attractions include the National Mosque. Chinatown, Little India and Merdeka (Independence) Square.

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