• Spring Festival Vacation: Kuala Lumpur (Feb 3 to Feb 7)

    by  • February 29, 2008 • China • 1 Comment

    Getting off the plane, it’s like woosh, HEAT! We’d gone from literally freezing in Shaoxing to a whopping 33 degrees in Malaysia — that’s like in the 90s for those of you in the non-metric world. Sarah’s cousin Joseph (who, with his wife Caryn, were our hosts) graciously picked us up from the airport, and we began a journey that would include a lot of walking around in 90 degree humidity, shopping, sleeping late, and, of course, eating. Yes, indeed, eating.

    The view from our room in Joseph and Caryn’s flat on the 25th floor, daytime and nighttime. The religious diversity in KL is astonishing; from the condo we could see a Hindu temple, a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple, a Presbyterian church, a Catholic church, a Thai Buddhist temple, and a mosque. In the distance you can see the Batu Caves.] If you were at our wedding all those many three and a half years ago, you might remember that the food was provided by the Malay Satay Hut, Seattle’s only Malaysian restaurant. That food was good, no doubt. But multiply that by a thousand and you get the variety, abundance, affordability, and utter deliciousness of what we experienced in KL.

    Joel checks out one of KL’s myriad fresh fruit stands. Note the Washinton apples sign! Freshly blended fruit juice is abundant and delicious in Malaysia, and sometimes comes in a plastic bag, which is awesome.
    Despite the warning from a Bank of China teller that my ATM card wouldn’t work in Malaysia, we were able to get plenty of Malaysian money (sorry, Chinese economy!), so we lived on a pretty generous budget thanks to our travel allowance from the university.

    Although we were outside of China during Spring Festival, we spent plenty of time in KL’s Chinatown, depicted here, for food, shopping, and general tourism.Although we never made it up to the top, we ate dinner in the shadow of KL’s enormous Twin Towers in KLCC park, a pretty lush place with a big manmade lake/pond and fountain.

    We visited KLCC Bird Park, one of the largest aviaries in the world, where we saw a whole lot of cool birds. Sarah’s holding a hornbill and a tawny owl here.
    Some monkeys were just hanging out, like this family we encountered on our way to the bird park.Also did a lot of shopping, or at least more than we’d done in the previous 5 months in Shaoxing. Mostly books (English books! Yes! although we’ve already read all of them now, pretty much), and a few clothes.

    We attended amazing Chinese New Year party at Caryn’s family’s bungalow (don’t let that word make you think it’s small), complete with Lion Dance, huge array of catered food, Carlsberg beer on tap, and a variety of guests including members of the Malaysian parliament. We mostly hung out with a Singaporean-Malaysian-Indian guy called Michael, who works as a bodyguard and told us some hilarious stories about having to put contact lenses into the eyes of one of his fussy, rich employers. He also told us a riddle that we have yet to figure out, involving a deaf man, a blind man, a dumb man, and the theft of some chickens. If you have heard this one, please tell us the answer, because we may never see Michael again and it is driving me nuts.

    The hired lions for the Chinese New Year party. They did some cool tricks, like eating various fruits and beer, scratching their ears with their hind legs, etc.
    We also visited a variety of Buddhist temples, including the one which Sarah’s paternal grandfather was a member of. We saw his picture hanging and a memorial plaque in the temple. Caryn told us he was a pretty well-known guy in KL; some of her relatives knew him back in the day.

    Sarah at the Buddhist Temple where her paternal grandfather’s picture is hung. Later on we had dinner with Sarah’s dad’s cousins, who we call aunties to make it simpler (or more confusing), and who regaled us with stories from their childhood in Malaysia.After 5 days in KL, we boarded a bus to the island state of Penang. Would our time there be as shocking and decapitation-filled as the unanticipated onboard film, Rambo 4*? Stay tuned…

    Also coming soon: a more in-depth post related to Malaysia’s many awesome foodstuffs.

    PS: You can see way more pictures of all this stuff, and the rest of our trip, at our Flickr page.

    (*Answer: no.)



    Sarah grew up in Colorado but considers herself a Chinese-Malaysian-English-American. Her favorite thing to do is read in bed, or some sunny spot on a couch.

    One Response to Spring Festival Vacation: Kuala Lumpur (Feb 3 to Feb 7)

    1. Mark Heng
      March 7, 2008 at 6:02 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing that our grandfather has a picture and plaque at the temple…Will have to check it out sometime…Great pics and stories and ‘tache! Looking forward to the foodie posts…

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