Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Having survived the night we shall call, “One Night in Bali” (Cheryl will have to explain), we are now happily situated in Kuala Lumpur. We arrived at the clean, modern, brand-new airport yesterday at around 3.30 PM on a half-empty Malaysia Airlines flight. The taxi from the airport was rather long at just under an hour, but rather pleasant as the driver pointed out the sites like the miles of palm trees grown for palm oil. The taxi was a Proton, which is one of the two Malaysian car companies. And the ride was quite reasonable at $18.00.

We arrived at our hotel, the Alison Genesis (with a name like that it has to be good, right?) which is a pleasant new room with arctic air-conditioning and a view of the KL Tower (the communications tower that looks like a child’s rattle). The hotel is quite a bargain at $23.00/night.

After a brief rest we decided to taste what KL has to offer. Outside the hotel there are a few restaurant/hawker stands (the two kind of blend together); as we walked down the street, there were a few more, then a few more, then around the corner, and BAM, a whole street with hundreds of food stand/restaurants selling every variety of Asian food you can think of. Everything from deep fried chili frogs to meat floss (?). Deciding against the meat floss for the first night, we walked down the street trying to decide until one of the vendors grabbed us and sat us down, making the choice easier. We enjoyed a delicious meal of squid sambal, fried rice, and Tom Yum soup for just $6.40. With two beers that came to less than $10! It started to dawn on us that you could probably spend a lifetime eating in every restaurant here and probably never get leave your own neighborhood. Lunch today was in a sit-down restaurant in a mall, but equally good and cheap.

Kuala Lumpur is a strange mix of the future and the past. On the same street you see old Hong Kong style tenements and gleaming office towers; Motorbikes and luxury cars; street hawkers and Mega malls.

Although I am 6’5″-6’6″, I’ve never felt particularly tall–until now. Fighting my way through the traffic here, I feel like Kareem Abdul Jabaar fighting Bruce Lee in Game of Death.

We are going on a tour of the city tomorrow and then we will head to Port Dickson and points south as we make toward Singapore.