18.06.2008 - 20.06.2008 31 °C
Malaysia is quite possibly the most diversed city in Malaysia. Since it became independent from Britain 51 years ago in 1957, capital Kuala Lumpar (KL) had transformed from a colonial town to one of the most modern cities in Asia. The majority population of Malay lives relatively peacefully with minority Indians and Chinese, compared to its neighboring countries.
Nowadays, most tourists come to KL to see the architectural gem, the Petronas Towers. With many islamic element built in with its design and superior lighting, it is honestly the most impressive buildings of all the concrete jungles in the world.
The experience in KL was short but delightfully. After the airport shuttle dropped me off in front of my guesthouse on one of the busiest tourist street Bukit Binteng, I briefly strolled around the night market crowded with name brand stores next to mini-markets and street food stools. Wandering aimlessly, the sight of Petronas Towers suddenly caught my eyes. The highest twin towers in the world, Petronas Towers had brought Malaysia's architecture to a new height. The islamic elements in the tower design are not only asthetically beautiful, but architectural exceptional. Almost every angle reveals a different perception in the building's design. Almost every curve symbolizes the achievement of modern Islam. I sat next to the fountain outside the entrance watching passerby carrying bags of top name brand stores in and out of the shopping mall and testing my new Malaysia sim card in my mobile phone for a good while.
The next day, I took a local bus to the famous Batu Cave, the holy sight where tens of thousands of hindu believers gather every January/February with self-torturing ceremonies. When I was about to come out, rain started pouring from all directions, I was left to hang out with the monkey families outside the Dark Cave next door.
Back to the city, I took the Metro Rail subway to a neighborhood called Kampung Baru, inhabited mostly by Malay. Sitting in a small restaurant within this quiet neighborhood watching the Petronas Tower light up for the night, one cannot help but notice the gap between the few rich and the rest of common people in this developing countries. After a quick dinner, I rode the Light Rail to Titiwansa. KL is not a walker friendly town. Wrong direction given by the rail reception resulted in me walking alongside the highway for about 20 minutes, unable to cross to
the park where the Eye of Malaysia is located. Luckily, I was not the only lost soul. I finally hailed a taxi with another couple behind me and got to the park.
Although much smaller than the London Eye, the Malaysia eye is delicately positioned above a lake with nightly laser show. KL's skyscrapers from the eye on a full moon night look both peacefully and magically. After a short stroll in the park, I took a taxi back to Melaki Square, where a Bangledesh festival was going on. This is where the British administrative offices were located and so nowhere else in KL is colonialism so apparent reflected in these buildings.
On my last morning in KL, the guesthouse owner gave me, 'a Honggie' (People from Hong Kong) a lesson on how to pick a good cab driver. I decided to visit the Islamic Museum of Art, a graceful building designed with an entrance resembling the Kaaba in Mecca. The collection was equally impressive, with everything from fabric, utensil, coins, furnitures of different muslim communities in history to in-depth explanation of fancinating arabic calligraphy and mosque design around the world. The visit was well-worth it. My leaving the museum coincedes with the friday praying at the National Mosque and in no time, I was completely engulfed in crowds.