Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I went with a group of 14 to Kualua Lumpur (KL) this weekend over Chinese New Year!  We left because Singapore is mostly Chinese and everything closes down so we would’ve probably starved.  We still experienced some of the celebration of CNY in KL.
I thought this was funny.  Prosperity Pizza.
Who knew Ronald McDonald spoke Chinese?  It means “Congratulations and be prosperous”, but is used as “Happy New Year”
At first, we all thought KL was just a much dirtier version of Singapore (so basically just a regular city, we’re kind of spoiled with the cleanliness) with extremely gross squatters for toilets.  It was so hard to find a normal toilet and even harder to find a clean one.  We soon found out that it had a lot to offer and we had such an amazing time.  I found it much easier to get by using English in KL than in Singapore.  For the main language of communication being English in Singapore, a lot of people speak it very poorly or not at all.  It seems hardly anyone understands me in Singapore and if they do, they have such a strong accent it’s hard for me to undertand them.  On campus you never really hear anyone speak English, it’s mostly Mandarin.  Back to the main point, it was fairly easy to communicate with the locals.
On our way to KL
Flooded Malaysia.
Our room
Food street.
Food street.
Night time.
One of the Petronas Towers (second tallest building in the world).
Batu Caves
We visited the Batu Caves which holds a Hindu temple.  We climbed 272 steps to reach the top, but it was well worth it.  The caves were beautiful and it was really interesting to observe a different religion.  I got a fresh coconut there and then about 10 more throughout the trip.  They are so good.
In the caves there were a ton of monkeys that we played with!  They were so close it was unreal.  I was able to feed them.  They are really smart.  Some of them were throwing coconuts at people.  It was kind of scary because they were so high up.
These little guys were everywhere.
Elephant Observatory
The highlight of the trip was riding elephants!!!  I have wanted to ride an elephant since I was a child and now my dreams are finally coming true.  We went to an elephant observatory about 2.5 hours away from KL.  First we took the metro, then a bus, then a private car.  I’m really glad we went out there because we were able to see more of what Malaysia was really like instead of just KL, which is pretty touristy.
We bought some Malaysian food called Lemang from here.  It’s rice and coconut milk wrapped in leaves and cooked in bamboo over a fire.  It was quite good.
The lemang grilling.
Wandering Malaysia.
Seeing elephants was SO cool!!!  Their skin is so leathery.  It felt so weird to actually be riding it.  Alex and I rode the elephant together and then later I rode an elephant in the water with Vanessa, Julie, Emma, and Lily.  We got on the elephant while it was in the water and then it flipped over on its side!  I thought it was going to crush me.  It was like a ride.  After we got flipped into the water by this massive elephant, we swam down the river and played/bathed the baby elephants :)
ELEPHANTS!!! Apparently my Asian comes out when I get excited.  I was ridiculed for reppin my wisco t-shirt.  I think I look pretty cool.
Me and Alex just riding an elephant.  Nbd.
There is kind of a tree branch in the way, but I’m bathing a baby elephant :)
Playing in the river.
On the down side, I tried one of the grossest things I’ve ever tasted… durian.  Durian is a “fruit” that smells like sweaty gym socks.  I don’t know who in their right mind would ever try such a thing that smells so foully.  Well I guess I did, but I’m talking about the first person that ever tried it and thought, “hey, people should eat this!”  The smell is so offensive that it is banned in many places including the MRT stations and trains in Singapore (but pretty much everything is banned there).  
We had to pull the durian out of the shell to eat it and it was really mushy.  I personally think it tasted like extremely strong onion and garlic, only worse.  I think the texture only made it worse and the taste just lingers in your mouth.  You’re breathe also smells disgusting, which is pretty attractive.  Supposedly there are ones that are sweet depending on how ripe it is, but I don’t think that anything that could taste so bad could ever taste remotely good; no matter how ripe it is.
The durian was so pokey and it hurt to hold up!  This was before we tried it.
Shops in Chinatown.
Thean Hou Buddhist Temple
While visiting the Buddhist Temple, I learned the valuable lesson that getting lost is just part of being a tourist.  It took us forever to get there, but we eventually did :)
Unexpected hike trying to find the temple.
Found it!  Kira, Me, Cass, and Emma outside the temple.
My Chinese Zodiac.  I’m a horse.
Year of the Rabbit.  Cass, Me, Emma, Kira
Professional Mole Remover?  He was removing moles on the spot. Gross.
Sunway Pyramid
The Sunway Pyramid is a HUGE mall, but it’s kind of far away from the city.  From inside, it seemed bigger than the Mall of America, but I guess it’s not.  It had a theme park and and ice skating rink!  The mall was divided into different sections including asian avenue, fashion central, marrakesh, and digital centre.  On our way here I learned that Malaysia’s public transportation is pretty inefficient.
We also visited some other places throughout the city.  We went to Little India and checked out the night life as well.  I hope you like all the pics, Mom.  I tried to put up a lot for you.  Overall the trip was super fun.  I was able to do and see so much, while experiencing it with awesome people.  I can’t wait for my next adventure to Bintan, Indonesia scheduled for February 18th!

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