Weekend in Kuala Lumpur

We spent the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We’d passed through the city before but hadn’t really spent much time there. Although I know that Malaysia is mainly a muslim country, I hadn’t realized just how strong the Islamic influence is there–especially in KL. The architecture, the street names, the banks (we saw several “Islamic” banks), and the food all center around Islamic culture. While there were some western/Caucasian tourists, most of the tourists we saw were from other Muslim nations (as indicated by the women completely veiled in black except for their eyes). Of course there is plenty of westernization in a large city like KL–Hard Rock Cafe, 7-11 on every corner, McD’s, Starbucks, etc

As for our time there, we didn’t see as many sites as we’d anticipated, which was just as well since we didn’t need to spend too much money. We drove up in about 4.5 hours, checked into the hotel, met some friends for lunch at the shopping center at the base of the Petronas Towers. I was quite proud to say that I’d seen and been at the base of the tallest building in the world…until I came back and saw the news that the world’s tallest building is now in Dubai. After lunch it was pouring rain so we hung around the shopping center and tried to keep our 2 “monkey boys” entertained. We went back to our room, had a long nap and then went out roaming the streets with the 2 bachelor guys who’d come with us.

We ended up eating dinner at a street cafe/bistro–with dance music blasting, a band warming up for the evening’s entertainment, and the smell of smoke from the Turkish pipes provided by most of the outdoor cafes wafting into our nostrils. Not exactly a nice environment for a family dinner, but at least the food was good (Malaysian mee siam–spicy fried noodle dish, fried rice, Indian naan bread, satay–bbq’ed meat on skewers, lamb chop and fresh lime juice). It was a crowded Saturday night, so we headed back to our room after eating and browsing through a shopping center. Sunday morning we walked about 15 min to an international church in the downtown area near where we were staying. It was refreshing to see people of so many nationalities worshipping together. #1 bravely went to Sunday school by himself although he knew no one there. I was so proud of him that he followed a lady he’d never seen before in his life without hesitation and joined right in with the other children. He has the makings of a leader…if only we can nurture and develop that in him and help him temper it with gentleness.

It poured rain again that afternoon, so we were stuck with an expensive lunch in the hotel restaurant. It was a late lunch that preceded a long nap. Sunday night we went to the wedding dinner that was the occasion for our trip to KL. It was a typical Chinese wedding dinner like we have in Singapore, except that the bride was Japanese. As it turned out, we were seated at a table with friends of the bride from Japan. It added some stress knowing that Japanese culture tends to be much more formal than what we are used to. When I sat down and observed the Japanese ladies at the table, I suddenly felt the need to sit up straighter, hide my raggedly hand bag and bow every time some one said something. Only 2 of the 6 could speak English, but the main translator was struggling to make coherent sentences after several glasses of wine and beer. It was hard on the boys to be in that environment for such a long time, so as soon as it was polite to leave, we did.

Whew! Monday morning we took it slow, ate instant noodles in the room for breakfast and headed for the bird park. It was very nice to do something outdoors and more intersting for the boys. We had lunch at the Hornbill Restaurant there at the Bird Park and then started our 4-hour journey home. The boys slept nearly all the way back to Singapore. We stopped just before the border to eat a cheap dinner and fill up the car with cheap gas…making the most of the exchange rate that was in our favour. It was only 3 days, but we all let out a re-entry sigh as we set foot in our own house and headed for our own beds.

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