Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kuala Lumpur Bears

Where are all the kuala bears? 

This was the question that I asked myself as I walked through the super hot and humid streets of Kuala Lumpur. It was the first Asian city that I was calling home on my journey and I was super excited for the opportunity to see kuala bears. I would soon find out, to my extreme disappointment, that not only are there no kuala bears in Kuala Lumpur, but there's actually no koala bears either.

So what would Kuala Lumpur have to offer me then? I can confidently say it offered the worst weather of my trip and possibly my life. Every day the same 90+ degree temperatures, 80+% humidity and cloudy. Everyday it would rain...monsoon rain...for an hour or two and you did not want to be caught in that.

OK, so no koala bears and awful weather. Certainly this city must offer me something, right? 

Just as I started to fall into a deep depression, I looked up into the sky and saw a beacon of hope....no no, it was two beacons of hope.

My beacons of hope

The Petronas towers. The tallest buildings in the world

from 1998 to 2004. Pretty cool, amirite?

A picture of the Petronas towers (sorry about the two people in the way)

Now, I know what you're thinking. Who is that person in the picture with me? Half of him looks so much like me. Well, that is my brother Aaron....well my half-brother Aaron....brother from another mother if you will. He came all the way from western Massachusetts to visit me in Kuala Lumpur. He  is obviously much smarter than me because he was not expecting koala bears.

Aaron had never been to Asia before, but he had tried Asian food, so he had a good foundation for the trip.

Aaron eating Asian food...in Asia

Aaron and I visited all the tallest buildings in the city. There was the Petronas towers:


What did one tower say to the other tower?

And then there was the KL tower:

Nothing. Towers can't talk. Duh.
I'm actually standing on top of the KL tower in that picture, so its not very helpful.

KL Tower - pronounced kuh-le (not really)

That's a better shot.

But we didn't stop at just going to towers. We also visited the Batu caves, home of the monkeys.

One of our hosts at the Batu caves

So many stairs

This host politely asked us to leave

The caves are home to more than just monkeys, though, they also serve as one of the largest Hindu shrines outside of India.

Entrance to the Batu caves - Lord Murugan (under construction)

And of course Kuala Lumpur is full of delicious Asian food. There is one street in particular called Jalan Alor (we just called it food street) that is open all night and is filled end to end with restaurants and food carts.

Dumplings are a food street special

Durian lined food street 

If you dont know what durian is...you need to try it

Not a durian, but a jackfruit

Since there was a crew of us in the Remote Year group that worked nights (to match US east coast hours) we would often make trips down to food street at 2AM or 3AM. I split my days, working a few hours during the day and then 8PM - 2AM. Some people straight up did 10PM - 6AM. We called it the sucky hours crew. 

Roti canai - breakfast of champions

Another great thing I got to do in KL was attend a wedding. One of the local experts who was helping out Remote Year had a brother who was getting married and he invited a bunch of us to go. First, we had to pick up some sweet traditional Malaysian wedding attire:

RY crew in Malaysian wedding attire

That guy in the middle is Wan who invited us to the wedding. He's the man.

I've got that dictator look

Other random observations about KL:

It had sooooo many malls. And the biggest malls I have ever seen in my life. You could walk for miles indoors from mall to mall. It was mall central.

It also had a sweet birdpark:

I am one with the animal

It also had Koi competitions:

Yes, this is how a koi competition is held.....don't worry they have plenty of space in there

And lots of mosques:

A little over the top

Since Malaysia is a Muslim country, I took the opportunity to learn more about the religion.

Red's not my color

This was probably the most open, non-agressive, informative visit to a religious institution I've ever been privy to. The mosque is open to anyone (even during prayer) and they have English speaking volunteers who are there to answer any questions you have about the religion. I talked with them for several hours and even got to meet Brother Dan, an American who searched the world looking for meaning and found Islam as the answer. After being given my very own Quran, I gave in and converted. So, As-salāmu ʿalaykum my brothers and sisters.

Is he kidding?

The teachings of Quran weren't the only thing I learned about in KL, I also picked up information from the public service notices in the bathrooms:

Most important thing I learned in KL

And that was my month in Kuala Lumpur. Please enjoy these dances from the Malaysian wedding:

Total countries visited on my trip: 19 (Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, England, Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Croatia, France, Spain, Qatar, Malaysia)