Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 20 2010

Kuala Lumpur

February 15, 2010

The Petronas Towers were shining in the distance across miles and miles of low-rise buildings outside the window when I woke up this morning- I’d forgotten where I was. Ouyang, who picked us up at the airport, drove us to a nearby breakfast place, where we were served delicious egg cakes with curry sauce and bubbly milk tea by a trio of taciturn, handsome Indian men.

After breakfast we drove about an hour out of the city to Batu Cave, a huge cavern set in a mountain, guarded by a large golden statue and entered via several hundred steep steps. Monkeys hopped up and down the wires next to the staircase as we made our slow way up.

The interior of Batu Cave is a truly magnificent sight; I could have spent all day there taking pictures and video of the worshippers, priests, tourists and other monkeys. Rays of light pierced the trees above, and drops of water and leaves fell from the holes in the cavern roof hundreds of feet above our heads. A white chicken was the source of endless entertainment for a line of children trying to touch it, and hairy priests tired red string around worshippers’ hands in small but ornate pavilion. Blonde European children were scooped up and photographed being held by smiling Indian men. Everyone seemed to be in a very good mood. On our way out I spotted one of the tourist stores; it was named “TC”. I’ve been seeing my name a lot in Malaysia; it apparently means something, but I’m not entirely sure I want to know just what.

The sun was high and hot as we drove back to the city, to the Petronas Towers Mall, where we met some more Malaysian friends for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. One of them, a Mr. Ng, travels to Laos a lot and gave us some tips for our upcoming excursion there. After lunch we went down to the small pond and took pictures of the towers for a while before getting back in the car with yet another friend, Gimzui, who took us out to Putrajaya, a brand-new area full of brand-new government buildings and a large new mosque. There we sat outside the gate chatting and commenting on the various hat styles we saw coming and going, until it was open to the public. Inside, shoes off, I shuffled around the edges of the shiny-floored mosque, circling it until I was in the front, where a woman told me about the various prayer positions. It was very hot, and a short bit of rain did nothing to alleviate the sweltering atmosphere.

We drove down by the government buildings, an eerily empty scene, not a soul in sight and few cars, and then to some of the bridges, which are fancy enough for some geometric shots. The sun was setting by this time, so we went down to a halfway completed bridge to take pictures of the scene.

Then it was back into Kuala Lumpur for dinner at another mall somewhere; I have no idea where because they all seem to be enormous and underground. After dinner, which ran late due to excessive chatting, Ah-lin, whose apartment we’ve been staying in thus far, took us back to the Petronas Towers for some night shots. Sitting on the left-hand side of his Benz as we drove around the city, it occurred to me that in comparison to KL, Taipei seems like a dinky little town. KL is a truly multicultural, international metropolis. It’s not quite Hong Kong or Singapore, but that’s why it’s interesting.

Tomorrow we’re apparently going on a road trip to the mountains.

posted by Poagao at 8:18 am  

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