I never felt a strong desire to go to Malaysia but when I saw the cheap airfares from my previous location, Hong Kong, I decided it was a natural monetary choice. Malaysia turned out to be one of my favourite countries thus far. The people are friendly, the prices are right, the food is abso-freaking-lutely delicious, everybody speaks English and the best part, the diversity. Having once been ruled by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and lastly the British from 1795 to 1957, the country has a melody of flavours and architecture that kept me interested. But wait! It does not stop there! Apparently in the early 20th century the country was having economical issues so they brought in neighbouring Indians and Chinese to inhabit the land. The British left with most of their people just over 50 years ago but left behind their language, buildings and influence. The majority of the population today speaks Enlgish, Malay and either a dialect of Chinese or Tamil. It was really cool to see a scandalously dressed Chinese woman talking to a Muslim woman covered from head to toe then walking down the street to little India where people are blasting bollywood music.
Anyways, I’m always impressed when I see a country develop and prosper in only a few decades. The English left the country an underdeveloped economic mess and walking down the streets of Kuala Lumpur you can clearly see that the country is now doing well for themselves. Some pics:
Petronas Towers. When in KL, do as the KLians do.
There were so many languages everywhere and their alphabets/characters are all so different from each other. Malay was written in Arabic characters but more often it was romanized which was interesting. Their transliterations made more sense though. For example, 'phone' is written as 'fone' and I'm sure you get the idea :)
This chicken tikki masala spread in Little India set me back $3. It was so delicious! It's been on my mind ever since.
To enter this mosque you must be completely covered or they will provide you with a head shawl and/or cloak. It was too intimidating for me.
It rained sheets of water at some point everyday. I was stranded once or twice...or everyday.
You could buy bags of pre-cut fruit for about $.30 adding chilli sauce or other spices to jazz it up.
The Batu Caves were discovered quite recently in the 1800s. These caves became a place of worship and is now one of the most famous Hindu shrine outside of India. To get to the cave you have to climb many stairs that are crawling with mean monkeys!
These monkeys just lurked waiting for the opportune moment where they could snatch something from you. Why? Because they're mean and greedy. I wasn't the only one who was afraid of them. A little boy screamed and cried while he ran away from the circling scavengers.
Several shrines lined the inside of the caves in addition to the evil monkeys.
After a few days in Kuala Lumpur I decided to head north to the island of Penang. An old English port village with just as much diversity as KL but more charm.
A perfect snapshop depicting this town.
Unlike many other Chinese temples I've been to, you could enter the ones in this town and do whatever you want taking pictures or touching anything. Usually you're very restricted.
Whenever someone made a donation he'd ring the bell! This guy was quite the character actually.
You can see the colonial achitectural influence in this temple. Doesn't really suit it does it?
Signs in Tamil, English, Malay and Cantonese.
Off to bed I go in my little sleeper bunk on the overnight train. Tomorrow I’ll wake up in Thailand :)