Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Malaysia – The first Harry Potter costume

Hello everyone!

Jason left Sunday morning, so I spent my hungover (you would be after that Around the World drink) day in the beautiful Lake Gardens. It’s reminiscent of Central Park in New York, but you are always aware that it is man-made.

On the way I walked past some wonderful old buildings in the Islamic district. The architecture has been very different in each Malaysian city I have visited, which makes it a very interesting place. The centrepiece of this part of KL is the national mosque. At this point it was closed to visitors, so I went through the big park.

The main attraction here is the world’s largest bird park. That may be, but I prefer to eat birds than to stare at them, and I’m certainly not doing the latter for £4. Instead, I popped across the road to an orchid park, which housed some very pretty flowers. I’m beginning to develop a strange interest in looking at flowers and feeling happy inside. That was free – no one was at the desk for me to pay my 1 ringgit (20p). Bargain!

I returned to the mosque after seeing the national monument, which is your bog-standard men-doing-work-lifting-the-flag-yay-we-are-free monument which many countries seem to possess. I’m wondering if new countries just outsource to one company who make all of these and they change the faces and the language at the bottom. I returned to the mosque as non-Muslim tourists were allowed inside for an hour from 3pm.

I’ve been in a mosque before – one of my better travel stories that – but this one required you put on a special gown before entry. As you can see below, that turned me into a cross between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. As you would expect from an important religious building, the inside was lavishly decorated and rather pretty. Apparently a non-Muslim must convert if they marry a Malay who is Muslim, which may help to explain the lack of mixed couples walking the streets. Certainly relative to Korea, at least.

I spent the night hanging out with two very pretty Swedish girls from my hostel, and am now typing this in KL’s airport. So what do I think of Malaysia? As usual, I don’t feel as if I’ve seen enough of the country. Jason was a great person to do this trip with – from his fluency in the native languages to his passion to try as much local food as possible, the trip was infinitely more fun with him onboard.

In short, I like Malaysia. It may not have captivated me in the way that a few countries have, but it was a very nice transition between living in Korea and returning home. The people are friendly, our destinations had a lot to offer and the cuisine was very good. It has similarities with Thailand, but that wouldn’t do it justice – all I can say is that it’s a very unique country, and that you should go and explore it for yourself. So yes, definitely go – just not during rainy season...

Love you all


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