Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Day Fifty Nine: Kuala Lumpur

This is a big modern city and if any of you happen to see George Evans tell him that it is also the city of the Proton car, they are made in Malaysia and you see silver Protons everywhere. I’m not sure if this would make George happy or not for if you owned a silver Proton and parked it in the street you could so easily forget which one is yours as there are so many of them, however I would imagine that spare parts would be very easy to obtain.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur for our walking tour after a one hour coach drive from Port Kelang (or Klang as it is sometimes written) and were immediately struck by how cosmopolitan it is for there are mosques, churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples sitting side by side on the crowded streets. There are two distinct parts that we were taken to, first the old part where we were shown examples of the old British Malaya architecture and these were right next to huge mosques and as we walked the streets we were gradually drawn towards the new thriving bustling KLBC or the Kuala Lumpur Business Centre at the centre of which rises the famous twin towers. We did get taken to a small shopping mall which was nicely air conditioned and managed to buy some pashmina shawls (or were they scarves, I will let Hilary tell you about those) and of course some postcards. Then we were led to an Indian style restaurant for a morning tea ceremony with a difference. The tea is prepared not with regular milk but with condensed milk and I think that sugar is also added, at least that is what we think our guide Mr Cheong told us but his English was sometimes not too distinct. We actually had two guides on our coach, Mr Cheong who is Chinese Malay and Mr Sock who is Indian Malay plus the coach driver who is Malaysian Malay. As I said this is a very multicultural place and also a very multi religious place where Muslims, Hindus and Budhists live in what appears to be perfect harmony. The tea once it is made is then poured many times from the pot into a jug, not from a distance a few inches away but with the pot high above the man’s head and the jug held down by his knees, a distance somewhere between 3 and four feet. We were told that the more often this is done the more potent the tea because it gets a bigger and bigger foamy head on it and Mr Cheong also told us that some of the tea pourers also do tricks such as holding the jug behind their back before pouring the tea over their shoulder. The tea was very sweet of course and Derrick would have loved it, I am sure that he once told me that he had tea made with condensed milk when he lived in India so this may go some way to explaining why he loved sweet tea so much. The tea was served with a small dish of mild curry type sauce with very tasty pancakes to mop up the sauce, Hilary and I shared on and managed to polish it off but the true Brit sitting opposite decided that no foreign muck or drink was going to go into his insides and sat there arms folded watching the rest of us tuck in.

We continued touring around the temples of Kuala Lumpur and were shown into a Hindu one first, no shoes allowed and buy your own garlands if wanted, followed by a Buddhist temple which was very serene but a bit tatty outside. We noticed that Mr Cheong entered into the prayers and was very knowledgeable about this one so we assume that it could be one that he attends regularly. Then it was time for lunch and I wish I could tell you where this was in KL as it was a huge dining hall and when we arrived we found all the Oriana tours had been directed there, not only us C Tours but we could see A’s, B’s, D’s and E’s so the owner got a lot of business today. I nearly forgot to tell you that as we were rushed through Chinatown to get to the coach for lunch I stopped at one of the stalls selling watches and despite or perhaps because of Mr Cheong pushing us to keep moving I managed to bag a bargain Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II for 60 Ringgits (about £12.00) it is genuine of course because the man told me so. We mad a stop to get pictures of the twin towers and then the last part of the tour was to go into the commercial side where genuine Prada, Nike, Levi’s and Rolexes were for sale. I nearly went into the Rolex shop to ask if they could let me have a box for it as the man on the market stall didn’t have one….
OK no time for Hilary to blog tonight as it is already 10.20pm, we have just come from watching Made of Honor, a chick flick at Chaplins as we didn’t fancy the theatre. She will blog tomorrow I promise and as we now have 3 days at sea before we get to Cochin in India we should also have time to get some more photos posted. The internet is a bit dodgy again tonight so I am hoping that this will go through. Goodnight and God Bless.


samw7 said...

On one of our trips to Washington DC, we ate in a Moroccan restaurant where the tea was very sweet and was poured in the same manner. It was one of my favorite experiences. Sounds as though KL turned out to be an interesting experience after all. Not much going on here. Starting to get focused on work, which is good as I have to figure out how to cover all the costs from coming to England. Looks as though it will all work out.
Love you both, Sam

Hayley said...

Hi Guys!

So glad you got to see China town! it is where we stayed for a week and spent far too much on T shirts etc! And i'm glad you got to see the Petronas towers too. I'm not into architecture that much but I think they are quite pretty and very photogenic. It sounds like you had a really cutlural day out which is always refreshing, and speaking of refreshing that tea sounded lovely! I'm getting more and more like my grandfather every day i think because i too share his tea sentiment :)

I'm really excited about you going to India...I'm not sure why but i feel that it is where, somehow, your journey really begins. Dunno what that means but enjoy! :)

I really wish I was there with you!


P.s. thank you so much for all your postcards they are so wonderful! xxx