Day 43-45

Day 43: Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sitting in the Backpackers Travelers Inn in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Being my first trip to Asia and all, I have splurged for the air conditioned private bedroom and toilet. It is just what you might expect- bed, fan, stool, and small desk. The bathroom is toilet, sink, and the shower stall is the bathroom itself…. Seems the floor never quite dries all the way…. Tried to put the fan on it all day, but you have to insert the room key into a wall switch to get the electricity to work. So either you could lock the door or dry the floor, I went with lock the door. (Just figured out a work-around for next time this situation arises.) Oh, and by “splurged”, I spend $25 per night instead of $4 per night for a bunk bed in a dorm with no AC. Call me a crazy, lazy American if you wish…………..

Plane was delayed for about 3 hours yesterday from Sydney, so it was after 10 pm when I arrived at the hostel. Fortunately they have a bar on the roof. Went up there and chatted with some fellow travelers, a couple from England and a fellow from Mexico. Woke up, and sprayed myself down (can’t really call it a shower) and found some eggs and sausage. Turns out the sausage was really a hot dog, but oh well. Anyhow, I hit the streets with the camera and a map. Did a Chinatown “walk” as recommended by the Lonely Planet Travel Book. Then I walked towards the big KL Tower. Easy navigation method- look for tall thing, and walk towards it. Got there, took the trip to the top and looked around the city to plan tomorrow’s activities. Then looked for next tall thing, the Petronas Towers, and walked towards them. It started to rain, so I had lunch and beverages for a few hours. Eventually wandered into the tour office at the towers…

Me: Need tickets for next trip.
Them: Next available tickets 5 hours from now.
Me: I’ll just go to the museum then. I take 7 steps into museum.
Tour guide: What time is your ticket for?
Me: Don’t have one.
Tour guide: You do now, I have room in the group leaving now.
Me: Perfect

Seems the rain kept everyone away… so I got to go to the bridge tour between the two towers without a wait.

I was outside taking some shots of the towers and ran into a fellow doing the same. A dude named Azli, getting ready to head off on his own world travels this summer. He likes to photograph people and he is good at it. He wants to become a magazine photographer. ( www.flickr.com/photos/azlijamil01/ ) I think he is qualified, he has amazing photographs. We ended up chatting and looking at photos over tea.

There is a mall at the base of the Petronas Towers. It was pretty much packed, even though it was a Wednesday night. It is basically the same as an American mall, except with undersized restrooms and a few different stores. It is open 365 days per year. Apparently one of the lease conditions to open a store is that you must be open every day.

They had a free art gallery in the mall. Most of it was real good art, however tilted heavily anti-war, and a few anti- George Bush. One painting was named “Dreaming of Rome”. It had Bush’s portrait next to the ruins of the Roman Coliseum and some other dead looking stuff. I signed the guest book something along the lines of “Great art. And P.S. Bush Rules!” That should get some folks worked up a little.

Twice today, I was talking to people and they wanted me to come off the sidewalk and sit with them because their (sister/cousin) was headed to Texas for an exchange program, and they wanted to know about Texas. Seemed odd, so I told them I was in a hurry and moved along. I think the first dude was a pimp. The second one was this sweet old lady, maybe she was legit, but then again, maybe she wasn’t sweet at all.

Day 45: 21 March 2008, 11:05pm local time ((10:05am CST))

In Manila, Philippines. Holed up in hotel. Got in at 5:30 am…. Didn’t sleep on the plane. Haven’t left the hotel grounds all day….. and proud of it.

Anyhow, did a walk about yesterday in KL before heading to the airport. I went to the National Islamic Arts Museum…. I was hoping to gain a cultural perspective on modern issues facing Islam….. (such as integrating fundamentalists into modern society). In this regard I was disappointed. The museum was all old stuff. I left after I saw the time line on the progression of Islamic weapons. (think clubs swordsmuskets). The time line stopped around 1950. If there weren’t so many video cameras in the museum, I would have inked in the following onto the timeline…….
1972: Hijacking and murder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre)
1983-Present: Suicide Bombing. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombing) …… This kinda irritated me for an hour or so.

This just reinforced my ideal that the problem in the world lies not with Islam, but with extremists. Not only Islamic Fundamentalists, but with environmental zealots, right-wing nuts, and brain-washed liberals. Get rid of the 10% of extremists on each end of the many spectrums, and the rest of us would get along pretty well.

Got over that, continued the walkabout. Overall, very impressed with Kuala Lumpur. I never felt unsafe and met some great people while walking around. Apparently there is some cool stuff to see when you get out of the city. Malaysia could warrant a return visit someday.


Post a Comment

<< Home