Our young marrieds, Jo and Ben, alternate Christmases. One year they spend with us, the next with Jo’s vast family. This year it was Jo’s family’s turn. It looked like our Christmas could be just Kate, Heather, Elmo and me. Kate’s work was due to take her to Kuala Lumpur so Heather and I decided to spend Christmas in Malaysia with Kate. Elmo could spend the time with one of his dog-walkers and his best doggy buddies. Kate, as is her wont, did all the organising. She used Rickshaw Travel, as she had for Indonesia.
On the morning of the 20th of December Heather and I flew out to KL; Kate having gone out a few days beforehand for business. We went out on an Airbus A380, the double-decker. It takes 494 people. I liked the tail mounted camera, showing our taxi, lift off and ascent. It’s such a large plane that it never felt like it was moving quickly – even as we left the ground I thought we were doing, maybe, 50 mph. And its size meant it was smoother in the air. Malaysia Airlines service is top notch, even for us ageing plebs in cattle. For economy their food is good. I watched new, lightweight movies. Only one was memorable, Despicable Me 2 still has me laughing.
Our first stop was Kuala Lumpur. Flying out of London in the morning you land very early the next morning. We went to our hotel, the Anggun Boutique, next to the street of back-to-back restaurants, Jalan Alor.
We set off with Kate. That first, uber-jet-lagged day, is a bit of a blur.
That afternoon we headed off to Peter Hoe. It’s a store, without a sign on the front, up on the second floor of an office building, near the Central Market, on the edge of China Town. We had great fun. Indeed, we might have had a bit too much fun. We’ll find out when the shipment (!) arrives. Peter Hoe, himself, was serving – we chatted for over a quarter of an hour.
A local colleague of Kate’s, Elida Bustaman came along with her husband, Din, and two of their daughters, picked us up and whisked us away for dinner. (It’s worth noting here that the only time it rained during waking hours in our two weeks was that drive in their car.) We went to Songket Restaurant. Elida and Din were embarrassed, feeling it was a bit touristy, with Malay dancing. Well, we enjoyed it: the food, the dancing and, above all, their company.
We then went to feed the monkeys at Kuala Sengor, taking a train up and down
The fireflies were amazing. I remember seeing fireflies, fleetingly, for a few nights during southern Ontario summers. Here they are on display, every evening, with boats going up and down the bank – like lights in Christmas trees. Needless to say, they’re not easy to photograph – so I didn’t.
For our final full day in KL we went to the Bird Park. It’s an open park, with vast expanses of mesh, allowing the birds a lot of movement.
Overall? The food is good – street food at its best. The diversity is fascinating: Malays, Chinese, Indians – all tossed together. There’s obviously money around – and poverty. Kate had stayed in the Mandarin Oriental and we went to tea there – very pleasant.
The shopping centre in the Petronas Towers has every top end shop ever – and is packed, jam-packed – dwarfing Westfields. My favourite shop there was British India, with its strap line “In an era of racism, oppression & injustice came nice outfits.” I have one of their polo shirts. No poncy prancing polo horse logo for me, nosirree-bob – try a polo elephant.
Then, maybe one on Malaysian street photography – and my blogging platform frustrations.