Yet Another Day in Kuala Lumpur

It’s a fact: I love this city. I’m not declaring it my favorite city in world just yet, but if you offer me a job here, I would probably move.

Kuala LumpurDay 2 meant, not only waking up early, but actually getting out really early in order to try to catch a ticket for the Petronas Towers Skybridge again. I don’t know if it’s because I came on a weekend, but in my experience, you have to be at KLCC at or before 8 a.m. or you’ll walk away empty-handed. Anyway, after queuing for about an hour, I got my ticket. It was around 9:30 and I had a ticket for 2:30 p.m. That was unexpected, but I knew I’d figure out something to do in the meanwhile, but first, I needed something to eat. To my greatest regret, I ended up at the KLCC Burger King, but since I hadn’t had breakfast in order to get my ticket for the Skybridge, I really, really, needed to eat and BK was the first place that sold food that I saw.

As you probably know, I do much better with animals than with humans—it might have something with the latter acutally understanding what I say; at least some of the time—so I decided to head to the KL Bird Park to wait for it to be time to go up the Towers. After wasting quite a while under the scorching sun looking for a taxi (I don’t get the KL buses well enough to use them) that didn’t want to rip me off, I finally found a guy who was willing to use the meter.

Bird ParkThe Bird Park was wonderful. It probably had something to do with all the animals and not so many tourists. As soon as I got there, while I swapped objectives on my camera to get the 70-300 mm on, a very nice parakeet decided that my shoulder and back were a perfect place to spend a minute or two. That’s what I call a welcome!

I spent a few hours in the aviary, which was extremely hot; so hot I actually started displaying symptoms of dehydration—nothing a bit of water and some shade wouldn’t fix. I saw a lot of beatiful birds, some of which I couldn’t resist taking a picture with and, since the aviary is actually in a bigger park called the Lake Gardens, I also got to see some more wildlife (just kidding, this is the other wildlife I’m talking about). But the most impressive part of the visit was probably this couple of hornbill birds:

Hornbill birds

I found them by chance when I took a wrong turn. I heard some pecking near the ground and when I got down I saw this couple hard at work filling up a hole in the wall. I have no idea why they would want to do this, but seeing the birds, less than a meter from me, handing each other small stones and mud to fill the hole was just fascinating. Needless to say that I spent way too long squatting with them while they worked.

After eating, it was time to get a taxi to KLCC; I didn’t want to miss my date with the famous Skybridge. When I got there, the lobby was practically empty, except for the volunteer that greeted me with a great smile (have I told you I love the people here in Malaysia? Everybody is just so friendly! OK, except taxis, I don’t like those…) and showed me where to get in line to go up. You have to sit through a short 3D propaganda video about Petronas, but I’m fairly sure I slept through about 5 of the 7 minutes it lasted. Once it’s over, we took the service elevator to the 41st floor.

View from the SkybridgeSo, what do I have to say about the Skybridge? It’s just really high, and it’s actually not that high when you think about it—you’re only half-way up the buillding after all.

So, what’s the big deal? You should to do it if you’re visiting KL. It’s extremely well organised and, since they control so well who goes up when, once you’re up there you feel like you have the bridge all to yourself and you can take pictures without fearing groups of tourists in every background. The view of Kuala Lumpur and the KLCC Park is beautiful. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? If you can’t do it, or don’t want to stand in line for hours, you’re not really missing that much either. How many of the Parisians reading this have gone up the Eiffel Tower?

MangoesI had been in the Chinese, Indian and colonial neighborhoods, so it was time to look for something a little more Malay. Luckily, I didn’t have to go too far from where I was to get there. You can really feel the different culture, but what impressed me the most were the wooden houses; especially since you could still see the huge highrises only a kilometer or two behind them. Life was much more calm in this neighborhood, compared to the Chinese and Indian ones; I was still in the middle of the city, however there was a much more rural feel. The fruit market may have had something to do with it.

Finally, it was getting relatively late and I was very tired because of all the walking and the heat, so I brought out my trusty Lonely Planet guide and decided to go visit a temple; I hadn’t visited any in Malaysia. The temple is called Tean Hou and, since the guide’s map shows it only 149.5 meters from a monorail station which I could reach easily, I decided to go there by foot. Huge mistake! It turns out the temple is 1.495 kilometers away from the station; uphill! Still, I was determined to go there, so after losing my was in a pretty much deserted part of what I wouldn’t call “town” anymore, I made it. “Sweating” is a euphemism to what was happening with me.

Tean Hou Temple

I took a few pictures and walked—hey, why stop know?—back to a “metro” station to head to the PWTC, where I was meeting with Sandra, someone I hope will not mind if I call here a friend now and who helped me decide what I was going to do while in Malaysia. It was thanks to her, by the way, that I was leaving for the Perhentian Islands the next day.