We’ve just flown over the east coast of Malaysia and are headed for Taipei. There is nothing but South China Sea below me for the next 4hrs so a good time to capture my thoughts and will post later. I’ve scored a window exit row on this flight and then an aisle exit on the 12hr flight from Taipei to LAX. I can’t wait to be home but have to stay in LA overnight before actually getting to SLC at 1p on Friday, so I need to relax and settle in for the next 41hrs of travel. If you are trying to do the math, I left the condo today, Thursday at 11:30a which was Wed 8:30p SLC time.
|Leaving Malaysia for Taipei over South China Sea|
I left off in my last post on Sunday afternoon in Mont Kiara. I finished off the day with a swim workout and then dinner at the condo. The pool was great and the salt water (no chlorine) was very refreshing and might have even helped with my raw throat and cold. I couldn't help but think about how many people were possibly looking down on me since there are 8 high-rise condo buildings surrounding the pool. I started counting floors and windows on my backstroke but always lost count.
|Swimming in the Condo Fish Bowl|
Monday was a busy work day from the condo, but I took a break at to get some groceries and have lunch at the mall. I wasn't feeling like battling the menus, so chose Tony Roma’s. I haven't eaten there in the States, so couldn't compare but the place was packed. I got a chicken salad and potato soup. I figured this was going to be easy but the potato soup was all red meat and lacking potato, and once I moved the strips of chicken away, there were only a few pieces of lettuce. I ordered French fries and wolfed them down.
|"Potato" Soup - maybe I should have ordered French Fry Soup|
My roommate was still sick, so I was primarily buying groceries for her and took the roller bag so I didn’t have to worry about lugging all the juices and soups back to the condo. It was another fun shopping trip – I like visiting grocery stores more than museums these days. I was reprimanded for taking photos and escorted until I went to check out. This might have bothered me on Day1, but it was Day15 and I’m used to someone always following/selling/watching no matter what store you go in. I wonder if they list this skill in their job descriptions but if the stores in the States hired enough people to watch every aisle and chaperone every customer, we could start reducing the unemployment numbers.
|"Illegal" Market Photo - Pork Section|
|"Put the Camera Away Ma'am"|
Since I had the roller bag in the cart, I put items in and around it and was paying when scolded yet again for not putting the laundry detergent on the belt. I totally forgot and quickly paid for it and got out of the vicinity before I did something else wrong. After a stop at the currency exchange, pharmacy, and Boost Juice, I was headed up the hill with a full roller. This was also entertaining since the sidewalks are not even and the handle was built for a short Asian, not Xena Warrior Princess (my Malaysian nickname this trip).
|Roller Bag at Condo Door|
On Tuesday, I worked in the morning but with only 2 days left decided to do some sightseeing. I made sure my roommate was still alive and then took a taxi to the Batu Caves. The tourist crowd was light and I was able to take my time. The steps were steep and very narrow so I almost lost balance when I saw a monkey out of the corner of my eye. The monkeys were everywhere and looking for coconut handouts. The caves weren’t as interesting to me as all the temples and statues scattered inside. There were quite a few tourists and I saw others from the States – other than the accent, we are all typically loud especially in quiet Asia.
|Batu Caves - A few of the 272 steps!|
|Batu Caves Grand Hall & Main Temple|
On the way back down the steps, I went to the Dark Cave and paid for a 45min guided tour. They are trying to preserve some of the sections and allow the extinct Trap Door Spider and other creatures to prosper. There were 5 of us on the tour and as soon as we walked in I was very happy to be wearing a baseball hat and sneakers. There was bat poop constantly dripping and cockroaches everywhere! Once we got thru the first section, it was very educational and we saw cave formations, spiders, centipedes, and even a cave dog.
|Kuala Lumpur View from Dark Cave Entrance|
|Dark Cave - looking back to entrance before |
Stepping into Bat Poop and Cockroach Alley
I got in the taxi just before the rain hit and witnessed KL traffic in the rain. The motorcyclists pull off wherever there is shelter and wait it out. In some cases, they block a lane since there aren’t shoulders, which makes the jam worse but you really feel for them. The taxi driver dropped me at the McDonalds and wasn’t interested in taking me further to the condo so I waited out the storm until some of the locals started back out. I figured it was probably good to have the rain wash off the bat poop and was drenched after my 10minute walk.
|Condo Work Desk|
It took 16 days but that evening, I actually went into the heart of Downtown KL. We had dinner at an outdoor Chinese restaurant and must have been quite the sight with the constant nose blowing and coughing. We shared a few “vegetarian” dishes and each had 3 beverages going at once. After dinner, we walked thru a small section of the Pavilion Mall which is high-end and huge. We walked a few blocks in the hustle & bustle, including down a street with nothing but stall food. I finally bought some durian fruit to put in the freezer and try the next morning. After getting whiffs of it the past couple weeks it was going to be tough to eat, but the freezer method cuts down on the horrible smell and I had a small bite for the experience but that was plenty. I can’t even describe the taste or more importantly, the aftertaste/ heartburn. I also tried mangosteens, which are sweet like many of the other fruits.
|Chinese Outdoor Restaurant|
|Pavilion Mall - Christmas in November|
|Famous Durian & Mangosteens (front center)|
According to the plane navigation, we are just southwest of Manila. It feels like weeks since I was there, not 8 days. It also means this post is getting too lengthy, thanks for sticking with it. I'll cover Wednesday's day in KL separately.