Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is one of those tweener cities. It is developed in parts, with fancy malls and tall buildings, while other parts maintain a more traditional style. And although it is not as safe as say Tokyo or Singapore, it is much more secure than other southeast Asian cities like Manila or Bangkok. If you are looking for a starter city in SE Asia it would be a good place to visit. For the more travel savvy it does not, at least to me, offer anything particularly unique.

The one worthwhile aspect of KL is its ethnic diversity. While officially Muslim, and with a heavy Islamic influence, there are also strong presences of Chinese and Indians. So between the three main ethnic groups you can get a pretty wide array of food.

The Petronas Towers - which at one point
passed the Sears Tower in height, until
they changed the rules of measuring buildings.

A view of the National Mosque

Another mosque during Friday worship. While the call
to prayer is interesting, I can see how it would quickly
become annoying.

Something you rarely get to see -
the blind literally leading the blind.


Some of the more unusual animals encountered on my journey:

A monkey at Batu Caves. Monkeys are all
over the place, and they will steal your food.

Bats at the Sydney Botanical Gardens. Fortunately
they're not aggressive.

Goats. So they're not that unusual, but I milked them
for 2 weeks. Lots of other animals at the farm including
ducks, geese, chickens, horses, dogs, cats, and some geckos.

A real live wild koala.

Toilets II

More toilets...

Typical Australian toilets

The square toilet - not a good idea!

A squat toilet, on a train, raised two feet off the floor. A very bad idea!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Genting Highlands

High up on a mountain, Genting Highlands is a cool weather retreat for many Malaysians. It is a combination of a shopping mall, Las Vegas, and Disneyland on crack. They pretty much have every possible entertainment option you'd ever want. There's a casino, amusement park rides, a climbing wall, a snow room, bowling, video games, a Ripley's Believe it or Not, shops galore, and numerous restaurants, many of them American franchises. And people. Lots and lots of people. At least on holidays.

The weather is quite a bit cooler at the top. So if you want to step out and enjoy the scenery you might want to bring a jacket or at least something a little heacier than what you'd wear around KL.

Tips for taking the bus: We were there during a busy season - right after the Chinese New Year. I imagine other holidays and weekends are equally busy, but I have no idea what normal weekdays are like. Expect a long line, with lots of pushing and shoving. Check the time on your ticket, but it is sometimes possible to sneak onto an earlier bus.

There is a gondola to the top. Not sure where it
leaves from, or how to get there though.

The outside of the complex appears to be rather nondescript.

Insides it is a maze of restaurants, attractions, and shops.
There are about four or five different roller coaster type
rides that criss-cross here.

Crowds galore. The upper levels are a little less crowded.

The snow room. The only time most of these kids will ever see snow.