Kuala Lumpur

 

Kerching!  Malaysia ticked off the list as we step on the ground for the first time in this country.  We took some time to get it all sorted this morning, arriving in Port Klang before breakfast and still seeming to be sorting things out until well after we’d returned to our suite and gathered our things together for what turned out to be a long day out.

 

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The mist was distracting as we made our first stop at the Blue Mosque.  Our guide, Kim, explained that this haze comes down at particular times of the year, but the more so when the Indonesian farmers are burning the stubble of their crops, ready for the new sowing.

 

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Edward’s friend Laura had given us suggestions for “must see” locations around her home city of KL, and the Kings Palace was top of her list.  We couldn’t go any further than the gates, sadly, but peered through the fence and took one  or two photos of the palace, giving the impression that we were the only ones there.

 

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When of course, that was far from the truth

 

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The world and his wife were there, petting the horses, pushing to have their photograph taken with the guardsman and so on.  We took our photos and moved right along.

 

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I began to contemplate how clever Mother Nature is to design these dangling plants to have a weighty terminal bud at the end of each stem, thereby ensuring that each one hung vertically from the tree.

Until I realised that they were strings of electric fairy lights, that is.

Duh.

 

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Moving right along, our next stop was the National Museum, which was really well set out and rather more interesting than we’d feared.

 

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I had several favourites.  Firstly, this “Kelewang Pucuk Berkat”, which I thought was a fantastic shape and elegantly formed.

 

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I adored these beaded slippers, the work of Nonya women and labelled “Frog Shoes”.

 

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Finally and most certainly to be further investigated, these folded pieces of headwear worn by the Sultans of the various Sultanates of Malaysia, each being described in detail with the background to the design.

 

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Quite how many variations on a theme there are for something so simple, is surprising.  Something to investigate further.

 

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Outside the Museum, we took refuge from the heat and waited in the shade of a huge “rain tree”, supposedly brought by the British from South America.  I really had no idea what kind of tree it is, but the umbrella-like shape was remarkable.

 

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Next stop was the war memorial, including this copy of the Iwo Jima bronze in Washington USA, to commemorate the liberation of Malaya at the end of WW2. Once again,  we were not alone in our wish to take the “perfect picture”.

 

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Impressive though the memorial is, there were also interesting textures to be identified and recorded in the form of the soil erosion management; namely this plastic sheeting which had been laid into a couple of the sloping gardens but which reminded me of crocodile skin!

 

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There were also the lovely coloured stems of palm trees

 

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and the most fantastic silhouettes against the sky.

 

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Back then, into the city, to the old colonial centre.  This beautiful structure was the State Secretariat building and right opposite, across the busy street was a cricket field and the site of the declaration of independence in 1957.

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Those half timbered buildings looked altogether out of place in this steamy heat.

 

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A first glimpse of the Petronas Towers through the palm trees.

 

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Lunch was a delicious affair at the Intercontinental hotel, the first course not staying on the plate for long enough to photograph!  Dessert was taken at a more leisurely pace, my favourite being the dumpling inside the leaf…yummy!

 

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Heading then for the Petronas Towers which were far too enormous for my little camera to cope with.  No excuses then for focusing on something a little more to scale

 

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the amazing patterns on this stem/root/whatever which was at pavement level and a bit of a tripping hazard for anyone looking up at the soaring architecture.  What a treat they missed!

 

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A short drive back then, through the old city with the “five foot pavements” left by the British – in other words, arcaded pavements where one might shelter from the bright sunshine or the occasional downpour.    Though the British shop fronts are replaced by – in this case Carrefour- the style remains.

 

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Finally, the Central Market, “inspired by Covent Garden” said our guide.  Well, yes, and equally touristy in our opinion.  I was simply looking for some “journal bling” from KL…preferably not made in China!

 

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From there it was an hour’s drive back to the ship, with perhaps thirty nine or forty winks along the way?  Tonight, we met friends for dinner in “Prime 7”, a very good grill restaurant on the ship and we find ourselves putting the light out on what has been another very good day indeed.

Tomorrow, Penang.  Batik.  Oooooh!

Penang–it must be Friday

In Singapore