Posts/February, 2014/

Day 1 in Kuala Lumpur: Masjid Jamek, Chow Kit Wet Market, Petronas Towers, Malls, Jalan Alor

Monday, February 24th, 2014

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The retarded sky dolphin.

Our Saturday Cathay Pacific flight to Kuala Lumpur ate up 21.5 hours of time, and due to the time change, arrived at 2AM Monday morning.

The driver from the hotel wasn’t there yet, so J made some expensive phone calls to see where he was. Minutes later, the diminutive fellow approached and showed us to a well-worn, tall minibus.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport is in the middle of nowhere, and it feels even more so at night when all you can see is endless dusty roads and palm trees.

After an hour drive, we were dropped off at our hotel in Bukit Bintang. Anggun Boutique Hotel was a relief after the long flight: nicely appointed room with AC and piping hot water. Our room was on the third floor, and only had an interior window.

We went to sleep quickly, and woke up via alarm so that we wouldn’t miss the complimentary breakfast on the rooftop restaurant.

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Alone on the rooftop.
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Chicken congee. Now this is breakfast!
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Ginger chicken.
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Looking down into the hotel lobby.

We enjoyed the food, mild morning weather, and the sounds and smells of a new city. My blood was beginning to buzz over the excitement of being in SE Asia again, so we started our walk.

Our first destination was Masjid Jamek at the intersection of the Gombak and Kelang rivers.

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White wall, red door.
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Rooftops. Notice: someone has been dumping trash out their window.
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Two odd businesses.
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Steps.
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Stairs shaded by fig trees.
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Sidewalk.
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A variety of architectural styles.
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Petty theft auto.
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Apartment shrine.
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Under these lose covers was a 4 feet deep trench.
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Garbage and vine.
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Buttress much?
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Panels and marker.
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A perfectly lit playground.
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Leaf sacks.

Robocop HQ?
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Classy awning.
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Miniature door.
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Yellow and blue.
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Unmarked buildings.
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Colorful signs.

The arcade.
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Lost luster.
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A colorful scene.
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A row of narrow buildings.
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The mosque where the rivers meet.
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Islamic inspired tower.
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Water pipe.
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Fresh, sulfury water.
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Construction.
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Malaysian hipster.
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The scooterist.
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Dumpers.
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J at the mosque.
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The open-air prayer halls.

By 11AM, it was already dreadfully hot and humid. We wandered through the sari district north of the mosque, navigating by the keeping an eye on the Petronas towers.

Near the Chow Kit wet market, we found a small neighborhood of old wooden houses with lawns that somehow had avoided becoming high-rises.

Each house was unique in color and design, and most were shaded by either mango, banana or rambutan trees. Chickens and scrawny cats wandered around the lawns, and a goat approached me backwards so that I could scratch his rump.

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Flowers.
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Mesopotamian collapsing pylon.
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A specially shaded CCTV.
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Awning issues.
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Balconies.
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A well mopped floor.
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Roof sprinkler.
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Bike.
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Garage.
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Yellow lettering.
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Watch your step.
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High security gate.
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Abandoned town houses for sale.
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Open floor plans, good light!
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The rebel.
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Apartments.
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Bananas.
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Old wooden house.
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The itchy goat.
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Colorful sign.
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You can never have too many flags.
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Chunks.
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Entropy.
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A nice porch for sitting.

The Chow Kit wet market was winding down when we arrived, and most of the meat and fish vendors had already started packing up their smelly goods. We wandered through a few aisles and bought a bunch of dwarf bananas and a kilo of jack fruit. We sat at a bench in the shade of a monorail to eat our fruit and watch the world go by.

Afterward, we criss-crossed through the market again to check out some of the areas we missed.

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Jackfruit.

Old spiral staircase.
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Fish.
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Squid.
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Chilies.
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Our anonymous banana man.
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Jackfruit.
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Cleansers.
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Our fruit-eating view.
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Paint.
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Fuse boxes.
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Shallots, garlic and dried fish.
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A vendor takes of photo of her smiling cow heads.
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Fish filets.
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Seems clean…
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The back rooms.
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Packing up.
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A woman rests her legs.
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Crates.

To avoid the heat, we took a monorail line close to the Petronas Towers. We were willing to pay the step prices for a view from the crosswalk, but it was closed on Mondays. The hotel wasn’t too far from the towers, so we walked back.

On the way, we stopped at a sparkling and cold food court in on the malls to get lunch. Unlike at home, food courts in Asia aren’t depressing places. Often there is a wide variety of great, hygienic food at reasonable prices. We both tried beef rendang. Verdict: delicious.

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Construction seen from the monorail station.
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Gate counterweight.
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STOP.
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KL City Park.

The Petronas Towers.
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Measuring something.
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Stairs.
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Cat, interrupted.
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Lot 10 mall.
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The non-mall, outdoor food court.
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Shady alley.
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Robot flagger.
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Life-affirming architecture.

At the hotel, we took a nap until the evening.

We walked a block to the colorful and bustling night market street of Jalan Alor. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, and not very cheap, but worth seeing once.

Most of the restaurants have food Chinese influence, and there are a few places serving Thai food. Other places try to capitalize on serving weird meats like frog.

It’s impossible to walk down the street without getting greeted by a menu-toting hawker. J and I went down the street twice before deciding on a Thai restaurant. Our food was actually really good, but not Thai cheap.

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Jalan Alor.
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Night durians.
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J.
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Frog.
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Grill masters.

After a hot day of walking 13.3 miles, we were in bed and asleep by 8PM.

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