Monday, March 14, 2011

Kuala Lumpur

Took the day off today from the usual – as strange as that may sound and went in to City Center KL.

We sailed up the Straits of Malacca last night and anchored in Port Kelang for the day today. The port is on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula and is surrounded by a mangrove swamp which is protected by the government, as are the endangered animals that live there and as is every tree!

Malaysia has long been colonized most recently by the British and it suffered its share of conflict – notably the invasion and occupation by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945 then the communist insurgency from 1957 or so onward. It was pretty unusual when our guide – a young woman described how to this day the Japanese are widely despised here for their occupation; perhaps not surprising given the suffering of the Chinese population. The riches that are / were so desirable were the natural rubber produced in plantations and tin mining. Today the natural advantages have been supplemented / supplanted by manufacturing / IT / broadband etc. Great wealth exists here now – though compared with Singapore the parallel poverty is much more visible.

Our day in the city center was spent almost entirely exploring the Petronas Tower complex – this building is immense and really imposing and the inside area in the one tower is essentially a shopping mall. The amount of time we had was unfortunately limited – we left port at about 8.30am and had a 90min drive into KL. We had to regroup at 3pm to get back here in time for our evening departure.

The sights in a city center / mall are somewhat repeatable but we spent a fair amount of time at the Japanese bookshop Kinokuniya where we browsed and I bought books and mags to stock up on my reading matter for the next 28 days. Check out how the staff greet the first customers in the morning with a bow!!!

Also hung out at the coffee shop for free internet access and got onto Facebook for the first time in ages.
Many of the designer stores had the usual merchandise ie Brioni, Ferragamo, Hermes etc but was amused by this window display which ran to the somewhat more gaudy.

Back in the cabin now and going to have a quiet night reading my new purchases – we are en route to the Andaman Islands and Port Blair 600 miles to the east of India. My day there will be spent at the beach – had an explanatory letter from the ship today that facilities there are a bit primitive but that its popular and has roaming sacred cows!! Are they telling me that it will be like the Ganges with people doing washing at the beach which will be covered in cow manure – I hope not but lets see.

1 comment:

  1. Did you get to the top of the Petronas Towers?