Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kuala Lumpur, “Confluence of two muddy rivers”

Kuala Lumpur, or KL as everybody seems to call it, was our first organized Princess tour. It was not an auspicious start! Patrick, our guide, has to rank down there with the bottom 10% of all tour guides we have had. His most egregious act—among many!—was having 35 of us stand outside, in the sun, before entering the museum (have I mentioned that it is at least 90°F [33°C]?) to wait for three women who went to the toilets, rather than bring us all inside the (air conditioned) museum to wait for them. Oh well, if that’s the worst that happens on this trip, all will be great!

Nevertheless, we did learn quite a bit from Patrick. For instance, the tolls to go to Singapore from KL are more than the “petrol” because the petrol is subsidized by the government. Probably needs to be since the average worker only earns about $400/month (1200 Malaysian Ringgits. Motorcycles pay no tolls and have their own lanes on the expressways (can’t call them freeways as they are definitely NOT free). The Malaysians do have a (figurehead) King but he only serves for five years and then has to give it up to another of the ruling heads of the nine states. How they decide who will be king next I have no idea but the current King is starting his second term (at about 93 years of age). Having seen the King’s palace, I don’t know how he can give all that up!

Flat Stanley didn’t make it to KL, he sort of slept in. He has had a lot of travel lately so he was probably pretty tired. But we’ll make sure he gets to Penang, our next port.

Singapore was a thoroughly modern city; KL is a mix of some very modern highrises and a few old colonial (from when the British ruled) buildings. We went to the Blue Mosque (not the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, of course, but the Malaysians are very proud of their Blue Mosque. We couldn’t go inside. I don’t think that was because we are not Muslim, probably just because we didn’t have time. We didn’t have time for a lot of places! But that’s the price you pay for only spending a day in each port.

And we saw the outside of the King’s Palace with it’s mounted guards. I feel for the horses as they aren’t ridden around, they are just stood in one place (albeit on a rubber mat like you might use is the kitchen to soften standing all day—of course, you probably aren’t standing in your own pee all day, either) looking elegant. And HOT!

And we got to see the National Museum. That was exciting. Did I mention it was hot? Flat Stanley made a good decision staying home!

But by far the most interesting was our visit to a mosque in downtown KL. Very strict, we—yes, WE, Randy and I—had to remove our shoes and put on a hijab (or something that was a complete coverup). Well, Randy had to put on the “gown” because he was wearing shorts and I had to put on the gown AND headdress (worn by who knows how many before we put them on). The most interesting, however, was not that we had to wear the clothing in order to enter the mosque, but that a man helped ME dress and a woman helped Randy dress! How weird is that!

All in all, an enjoyable day if hot and humid! I’d better get used to it!

Randy at the mosque

The mosque where we had to dress up

Just because you wear a burqa doesn't mean you can't use the modern conveniences!

the Malaysian's war memorial

Malaysia's Blue Mosque

The King's palace; too bad he only gets it for five years!

the King's horseback guard

Malay dances in the lobby of the KL Tower. Might have been better if they didn't block the exits from the tower!

Pam in the KL Tower with the Petronas Twin Towers in the background

Detail of the exquisite glass work in the lobby ceiling of the KL Tower

KL Tower that we were able to go up

The Petronas Twin Towers that we were NOT able to go up. The left tower was built by the Japanese and is fully rented. The right tower was built by the South Koreans and is only half rented.

Tiger beer is local

Our lunch restaurant. I had heartburn for hours!


  1. I am enjoying your blog posts, Pam. We had a blessedly cool Memorial Day weekend in Tucson - highs only in the 80's. I agree with you on the humidity - it makes such a difference. We lived in Asia, and I can remember the feel of the heavy air.

  2. So you know I'll pay close attention to the horse - I thought he had a carrot in his mouth when I first saw the photo! Had to look carefully to see that it was someone's arm in the background! :-)

  3. I love reading your blogs and pictures every other day. I subscribed as my mother is on this cruise too however she is on her own and only ever done one 2 week cruise. She is not fantastic with technology and this way i get to share a bit of your trip too. Her name is Kari from Wollongong and lives on deck 7 ( I note Randy does his walks there ) Lovely photos and glad flat Stanely is enjoying himself (and behaving) !