10 March 2014
30,000 page views and counting - WOW! That is HUGE for our first 18 months on the road. Amazing! Thank you to all of our fans! And our fans who are telling friends about the blog, and creating new fans!
Come join us on the road!!
Okay, so just one more Thai shrine - I'm not sure why there's a ladder, maybe to help the spirits reach the offerings? Or the statues then can move around? I don't know, I just enjoy the logic of adding a ladder to the shrine.
And our dad's hat enjoyed the wait at the airport by hanging out with this cardboard flight attendant.
We flew on Malaysia Airlines, and yes, it was just a little scary, but our flight went smoothly. The flight attendants had the most gorgeous uniforms that I've ever seen!
We arrived and went through some of the easiest, smoothest passport control and customs of anywhere - no forms to fill in, no long lines, just go up to the window, hand over our passports, get a stamp, chat with the agent a big, and go collect our luggage. Our visa is good for three months, so as we told the agent, we'll see how much we like Malaysia before we know how long we'll be here. (And we seem to really like just about everywhere!)
The Malaysian flag is wonderful, with the sun and moon. And then there's another flag, often seen as banners, with the motto in Malay and, well okay, I don't really know what language. But I love the colours and the tigers!
Our hotel is in the Pudu area, across the road (Jalan Pudu) from the central bus station. The subway trains also go to this station, so we have easy access to most parts of the city. Plus we're between the touristy area of Bukit Bintang (BOO-kit bin-TANG) and Chinatown, so there's a lot to see and do.
KL, as locals call Kuala Lumpur, is a major city but easy to navigate since it really isn't huge and spread-out like Bangkok. (I always liked that name, Kuala Lumpur!)
And the Malaysian culture is a fusion of Malay, Chinese, and Indian people who live here and created this nation.
And of course the food is a mix of all these cultures, with some leftovers of the colonial countries - we've only been here for two days and have had satay, croissants, dim sum, and a burger (guess who ate that?). There are chocolate shops all over, chocolate seems to be considered a separate food group (as it should be).
Richard noted there are so many different kinds of faces among the people of Asia, and we can really see variety of all those various groups of people here in KL.
Plus the clothing! Being a bit of a fashionista, I'm drawn to the colours and fabrics and styles that swirl around us. We saw a group going off to a wedding, and we suspect it was the family of the groom - the groom was decked out in purple with gold trim, and had some sort of dagger tucked into his sash. (We're hoping this is purely symbolic and not to be used in any way!) The rest of the family was arrayed in various shades of red to purple, with gold embroidery. What a gorgeous group!
There are also men with white robes and head coverings or turbans, looking like maharishis or maybe Biblical prophets. Women in head-to-toe black with just a little opening for their eyes. The majority of Malaysians are Muslim, and the women are dressed very modestly but colourfully. (I don't know how the women can be so covered up, the temperature is roughly 35 C or 100+ F - I would absolutely melt under all that clothing! But they barely look warm. I don't know how they do it!)
As I said, the clothing we see is just gorgeous!
We walked around Bukit Bintang today, and found strands of lanterns all around, flags fluttering in the wind, wonderful little shops and places to eat, beautiful light posts and rows of palm trees, and just more people.
We were on a mission to find memorial candles (yahrzeit candles) - or at least candles that might burn for roughly 24 hours. These seem to be few and far between in Asia, although we have found a few reasonable substitutes. Air freshener candles work well, and while those were easy to find in NZ and Australia, they aren't so easily obtained in Asia. After much wandering around from store to store and referral to referral, we finally were sent to a huge shopping mall and found a gift shop with some candles in glasses. They're blue. With a few seashells scattered in the candle, which is gel, not wax. This will be interesting. But it's the intention to follow the tradition that matters, right?
After all that walking in the warm KL afternoon, yes, we succumbed to a drink at Starbucks. Where they created a new version of my name. Fibbie'o. I'm not sure why Phebe was turned into Fibbie'o, but I kind of like it. (Sort of Italian!)
And of course the hat had to visit a foo dog. Or are they foo lions? In either case, the Foo was happy to have a jaunty hat for a spell.
We rode the monorail and then subway (which is partly an el) home, quite an experience. The token used is a little plastic coin, like a large tiddly-wink. It gets swiped over a reader which then opens the turnstile. When you reach your destination, the token goes into a coin slot, and the turnstile opens again so you can exit. Sophisticated system, which is why the plastic token seems so incongruous!
Anyway, we're enjoying KL at the moment, and are making plans to explore more of Malaysia. We both want to head north to the island of Panang and the city of Georgetown, as well as south to Malacca. And then there's the archipelago of islands west in the Andaman Sea, where there's great diving. Then the central highlands are supposed to be lovely and cooler. Plus the east coast of this part of Malaysia, or maybe over to Borneo for the two areas that are Malaysian, up north.
Hmmmm, three months might not be long enough!!!