Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Kuala Lumpur: KL, ok?
The metro here is great: efficient, clean and cheap. The day started by hopping on, then changing to the rinky-dink monorail to get to the Golden Triangle. It’s a stiflingly hot and humid city, built relatively recently where virgin rainforest once stood. Sometimes the pavement seems irregular where vegetation seems to be making an impressive effort to reclaim the land. The clearing of forest is an explosive issue here in Malaysia. Coming in to land yesterday we descended over a carpet of lush, green tree cover which looked fantastic from a distance, but upon closer inspection bore all the hallmarks of vast palm-oil plantations. Elsewhere in the country, logging is a force to be reckoned with. The stewardship of the natural habitat seems to have been handled in a cavalier-like fashion here in the past; the green spaces in this city seem all the more poignant as a result. It’s a brash, modern metropolis, yet everywhere you look there are trees and parks.
By the time we’d made it to the Golden Triangle, it was time for lunch, so we ducked down into the Lemon Food Court for inspiration.
Nasi Goreng jazzed up with some sambal really hit the spot, but an unexpected and welcome dessert came in the form of churros with butterscotch and lemon dips. Chilled sugar can juice with some fresh pineapple chunks rounded off a really great snack… Suitably fortified, our curious pair hit the electrical goods mall, checking out the latest Viao laptops and netbooks, but not finding the Apple Tablet, even in the Mac store. Nevermind, it’s time to climb the fourth highest telecommunications tower in the world!
The Menara TV Tower has a lift that whisked us all the way to the observation deck in 58 seconds. At first visibility was poor, although the thrill factor was high as we watched fork lightening strike all over the city, but as the rain cleared it became possible to see the forest clad mountains to the west, shrouded in mist. Next to us stood the Petronas Towers, looking fantastic by day, and even more impressive from such a height!
At the base of the tower we visited a menagerie of exotic animals (the racoons were the most entertaining) and did some Formula One simulated driving (Jon beating Simon partly by virtue of the fact that Simon completed one-and-a-half circuits with his left foot on the brake…)
Meanwhile, back at the KLCC mall, it was time for some cooling down. Here the ice cream comes in such amazing flavours and weird, exotic colours. Imagine Black Sesame flavoured ice cream, which is actually very dark grey. But the taste, ahhh the taste! We went more mainstream for our bigger order: Honeydew melon (surprisingly accurate and very thirst-quenching) lemon&lime (sharp!) and a very mellow mango. Yum! |Ok, ok, it’s a mall; it’s the best mall in KL, so I suppose we should actually do some shopping. We did.
Ending up once more at the top, there was nothing for it other than to have supper. Jon gave the Penang-style stall a chance, with a massive bowl of fragrant, saffron coloured Curry Mee soup, whilst Simon went for the black-bean chicken from Little Wok, again aided and abetted by the fiery sambal. This level of fortification will help our pair of intrepid explorers, for tomorrow they are to spend the entire day travelling deep into the heart of a rainforest 130 million years old. If you don’t hear from us by Sunday, send a search party…