As of now Malaysia takes the lead as a most-freezing country. It looks like air conditioning is a symbol of status here and therefore exceeding 18 Celsius degrees inside a vehicle would mean losing face and honor for its driver. After 15 hours on a bus from Miri to Kuching, trembling, wrapapped in everything we had, leaving the bus felt like a resurrection. This story repeated in every single bus in Malaysia and I am sure Kuala Lumpur metro had its role in Szymon’s cold.
Ok, Kuala Lumpur. When travelling city to city it is hard not to make comparisons between them. Here again many of the “must-see” attractions turned out to be little disappointments. Again it looks like it is worth studying travel guides but not necessarily sticking with them. It helps to read what others recommend but it does not mean we will like it too.
At the top of Petronas Towers our sons jointly (!!!) agreed that Burj Khalifa, Dubai is bigger and had a better view. Mum, we can skip similar attractions for the future. Cool! While I still consider Dubai a city from a sci-fi movie, surrounded by desert until horizon, determined in its madness to be the biggest, greatest, etc.. Kuala Lumpur on the other hand is a dream of a drunk architect. Super modern skyscrapers mixed with ugly blocks of concrete in the “JW. Construction”* style. In between them there are old wooden houses standing on wooden stilts – poor huts covered in tin-plate and cardboard. All that surrounded by lines of motorways going in seemingly random directions. A strange mix indeed. And on top of that yet another Chinatown, one more Little India…. We started to wonder how this city differs from others.
This way we ended up visiting interesting Museum of Islamic Art. We also went to Batu Caves and Hindu Temples hidded in these caves. There are some construction works here and there but not really interfering with visitors. You can also contribute by carrying a bucked of sand or a brick up 300 stairs and so we did.
Nevertheless it is people we meet along the way to be my biggest fasctination. Citizens of Malaysia are mostly muslim (of Malay origin) but there is also a considerable Chineese and Indian population. Asian cities are a mixture of faces, eyes, skin colors, dresses and customs of all origins. This is amazing and it is also a great lesson of tolerance and understanding of other cultures. An antidote for our nationalist-catholic mono-culture.
*JW. Construction is a Polish construction company well known from building huge, ugly blocks of flats across Poland. Cheap but awful, massive blocks of concrete. Google for more.