The bus ride from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur was not a great one from me. I had awful motion sickness, and the sun was baking down on me. The bus company that we used was very good though, so at least we had comfortable seats. There were no people standing in the aisles, and no unnecessary stops or pick ups, so we consider that a successful bus journey. We made it to Kuala Lumpur in good time, and early enough to take our time getting to our hostel.
The Chill-Inn (KL hotel)
We had pre-booked our accommodation while we were in Melaka. Things looks pricey for KL, so we decided to stay in one of the popular “backpacker” districts. Chinatown was said to be buzzing with Chinese New Year only a week away, and this meant that almost everything was already booked out. We took a hostel in the quite aptly named, “Little India”. Our hostel was a huge red building on a somewhat dodgy street where entire cow head’s could be bought. Yes, we live in China, but we still found it unusual to see a fresh cow head on sale, right next to the carrots and tomatoes.
Our hostel interior was a nightmarishly-bright green. Of course, the Hostelworld pictures made the rooms look far more luxurious than they were, but we were satisfied with what we found. Our room was simple, but clean. There were no ensuite rooms, so we had to use the communal bathroom down the hallway. This was a bit hair raising! There were 3 showers, and they were co-ed, so even brushing my teeth meant being glared at by a man, if I didn’t hide inside a shower cubicle, and lock the door. I seemed to be the only foreign woman staying at this hostel. After showering, I would get dressed, wait until I heard no voices, and then run like mad to our room. There are no words to describe the way that the men were looking at me. It made me feel pretty creeped out.
Our room had a key-card but sometimes it failed to work, so if Justin was showering and I was done, I would have to go to the front desk to go and get it fixed. Of course, walking alone meant that I was solicited by creepy men hanging out in the lobby at least 2 or 3 times before managing to get back into our room!
In our room we noticed an arrow on the ceiling above one of our beds. At first we were unsure of what this was. However Justin soon figured out that this was the direction of Mecca, and the arrow indicated the direction in which Muslims were to kneel and pray. Being in a country with such a high percentage of Muslims is something new to us, so we had never seen something like this before.
The Qiblah (Arabic: قبلة, “direction”), also transliterated as Qibla, Kiblah, Kıble or Kibla, is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during salad.
Although the view from our room wasn’t extraordinary, there was something fascinating about it. I stood at the widow quite a few times looking down into the streets, and alleyways.
After settling into our hostel, we decided to take to the streets and do some exploring. As sometimes happens, we had no game plan. Our main prerogative was finding some food, and coffee (for me).
From the moment we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, we had a problem with men (and their prying eyes). I was not wearing anything revealing, but it was hot, so I had skirt and tights on. I was sure not to wear anything too revealing, especially because we had seen a lot of Muslim woman near our hostel, and we didn’t want to offend anyone. Despite my attempts to “fit in”, I attracted an unusual number of looks from men. They were not ashamed to hide the fact that they were staring, and this made Justin quite uncomfortable. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem, but honestly the looks were quite vile.
I have to admit that this aspect of Kuala Lumpur made us quite uncomfortable because it seemed to be unavoidable. Admittedly, we were staying in an area were woman almost entirely cover their bodies, so I must have been fascinating. However, there’s looking and then there’s undressing with ones eyes!!!
While out walking we spotted the KL Tower towering above the buildings off in the distance. We wandered into some quieter streets, and saw a church on a hill. We like old churches, so we went to check it out. Along the way we walked passed a collage and were handed cans of Coca Cola… Four ice cold cans of Coke! Nice – How refreshing on a hot humid day!
St. John’s Cathedral
(Opened in 1883, making it one of the oldest buildings in Kuala Lumpur.)
People form many different nationalities worship at this cathedral.
About a 5 minute walk from the cathedral was a totally different religious sight.
The contrast of religious diversities is very evident in this city. It is a cultural diverse place, with different areas representing the various faces of Malaysia.
The above two pictures depict the difference in simply walking 5 minutes away from the main tourist areas. KL has it’s shiny, clean areas, but nearby you can also see the less fortunate areas where life is not as easy.
We had finally worked up a huge appetite, so we stopped at this cafe for a bite to eat.
We sat outside because the inside areas were air-conditioned, but reserved for smokers.
Hmmm… Finally, ice coffee!!
The lunch options were vast… Most of them were fried bits of unrecognizable meats, so we decided to go with some fried rice.
Biryani is a food made with spices, rice and and meat/ fish/ eggs/ vegetables. This style of cooking originated in Iran, but in India the recipe has developed slightly into an individual cooking style. Justin had never eaten Biryani before, and it had been a while since I had, so we decided to get that and egg fried rice. It was very tasty!!
Egg+meat fried rice.
With our bellies full, and our afternoon free… we decided to walk around and see what caught our attention.
This shady area offered a little bit of relief from the heat.
Pitcher Plant Water Fountain – I do not know what the significance of this sculpture is, but it was very interesting. We walked around here for a while, admiring the plants, and the view of the surroundings.
A time capsule was buried here by the Mayor on June 26th, 2000.
Once again, the KL Tower was visible from where we are. It seemed to be quite a useful navigational tool when we didn’t feel like taking out a map!! 🙂
Day 1 (to be continued…)