On my third day, I had an early morning pick up for some sight seeing. I would have loved to hit the buffet again, but I knew I didn't want all that food sitting in my stomach while riding around on a bus with limited walking. Plus, I didn't want to wake up too early. I settled on a scone from the bakery in the hotel. Oh, and a cup of coffee, of course.
Traffic in KL is horrendous. Really, really bad. And the driver was running late because someone on the tour did not show up. Coupled with the traffic made for a very stressed tour guide by the time he picked us all up. The good news for me was that I didn't have another tour until the evening planned (with the same guide) so I wasn't too stressed about the time.
Our first stop was at the National Museum. They also have a native museum here to see what their native people lived like and may still be living like. I don't think I had really realized that the Malay people are not necessarily the indigenous people.
Here are some of the native artifacts:
I am not so sure I would have enjoyed hunting in the jungle with dart guns.
This is a traditional coffin.
Then we headed into the National Museum.
This is known as lipstick bamboo. Makes sense!
Here is a funicular from Penang.
Some examples of transport throughout history.
Inside there was lot of information about the history of Malaysia, from the Portuguese, to the Dutch, and the Japanese. Of course there is also a lot of history here with the British since they gained their independence from Britain around 50 years ago.
I thought this dragon cannon was cool.
This is a King's throne.
Dragon head that would have been on a boat.
I loved these wood carved doors.
Definitely Portugese explorers!
This area is all about settlers in Malacca, which is where I am headed on Day 4. They were first settled by the Portuguese and then the Dutch. This was a major location on the trade routes.
Rubber trees and obtaining the natural rubber was a huge industry here.
Tin was another huge industry, and still is with the making of pewter crafts. This is a tin mining machine.
Here is a scene showing the coconuts, which is popular here.
More displays outside. These are some boats.
Then we walked around outside and looked at more Native displays, like houses and burial grounds.
Here is what a cemetery would look like.
Cannons! Good thing they don't really fire.
Statue for use with burial.
This is known as a megalith and according to our guide it is a living rock and will continue to grow. It is also used for burials.
The next stop was at the King's Palace. There are 13 states and 3 federal territories (boy do I hope I got that right!) in Malaysia. For those 13 states, only 9 have kings. They are just figure heads and the power lies with the Prime Minster. They have royal residences in their home states, so this one is for Kuala Lumpur.
Here I am out front, dying in the heat and humidity! Yeah, this was the hottest day yet with full on sun exposure...not overcast like ever day so far.
Very grand looking.
Through the gate you can see the palace in the background. According to our tour guide they serve as king for 5 years and then someone else gets a turn. Their current king in KL is the only king to ever reign twice.
I zoomed in so you can get a better idea of what the palace looks like.
They have guards out front and they do the changing of the guards, just like the British.
They also have the the guards on horses.
After the palace we headed to their Independence Memorial.
The sculpture/statue back there was made by the same guy that did one for Washington DC.
Flowers in the water! I thought that was a nice touch.
Here is the monument.
Behind it is this fountain with a nice view of the city in the background.
Here is the National Mosque. It is hard to see because we didn't have a good angle.
This is an office building now for the train station, I think. It sits across from the old train station.
Lots of little motorbikes.
This is the old train station. Very ornate. It is in the Indian style, as designed by the British that were already in India, of course, so this style travelled with them.
This is the building for offices that is still in use.
For the next stop we visited these fields that are now open to the public. It used to be an exclusive sports club for the British. It is known as Independence Square, which is why in the next picture there is a huge flag pole.
Across the street is this beautiful building. This is the former high court building and now has offices. It is known as the Sultan Abdul Samad building.
More of Independence Park.
The second to last stop for the day was to the Royal Selangor pewter factory.
This is a replica of tin that is used to make pewter.
We went on a tour and looked at lots of items made from pewter.
A replica of Petronas Towers.
Here is the factory, but I think most people were on their lunch break.
Here is a worker showing us how to fill the mold with melted pewter and then it hardens into the shape.
Here is the hotel metal.
This is the mold.
Here we watched her shave down a cup to see how it gets smooth edges.
These are the shavings. They felt so weird. Almost soft. These are, of course, recycled.
These are some finished products we looked at.
Here is a lady showing us the hammered technique.
More of the factory floor.
Special order for someone in the States.
Out front there is this pewter cup. You can see (if you look closely) this has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The final stop for the morning was to get some great shots of Petronas Towers. This was definitely a great spot!
I ended up leaving the group here because I wanted to stop for lunch on my way back to the hotel, which was only 15 minutes away. I couldn't quite decide on food so I ended up at an Irish pub and got this veggie panini. Not too bad, but I wasn't too hungry so I left most of it. I knew I had a night time food tour coming up so I figured I should save room.
When I got back to the hotel I decided to take a trip to the pool because it was so nice outside. There is a lot of haze/smog right now so the fact that the sun was out and shining meant it was now or never for the pool. I was given a nice spot in the sun, but not too exposed. I came prepared with my textbook for nutrition informatics, which is the class I am taking this summer. I had a chapter to read and I could think of no better place than at the pool.
I went for a quick swim. There were a lot of people around and I didn't want to be that creepy girl taking pictures of people lounging by the pool. When I got out and headed back to my chair I was brought a mini ice cream cone. Wow, I could really get used to the complimentary ice cream service poolside!
Here is the nice, tranquil area where I had my lounge chair. After about an hour at the pool I headed upstairs to grade some papers and get ready for my night culture tour.
The first stop was China town.
Definitely looks like China town.
I really didn't need anything, but I was happy to scope out produce and other foods. The first up is the jackfruit. I have heard of this, but never tried it. So I bought some. One of those packages cost $1. I know I could bargain with them, but what am I haggling about for a $1, right? I can't even get an apple for a dollar at our commissary. Anyway, if you are curious about jackfruit or any of the fruits I have below, check out THIS ARTICLE by my friend and founder of Eat Well Global, Julie. She used to live in China so she has had her fair share of unusual fruits.
As always with China town, it is a vibrant and bustling area.
Food carts lining the streets.
Foods on sticks that you pick out and then go over and grill.
Little dough balls with bean paste. It was actually really good and sweeter than I had expected.
This was one fruit I had to buy. How cool does this look?!?!?! This is rambutan. It is not sharp but it is spiky or hairy looking. And yes, it does look scary. If you have ever had lychee, it is similar. You peel the outside off and inside is like a giant white, milky colored flesh, like a lychee. This was awesome!
They also had lychee there.
Then there was this. I am sure you have heard about the "magical" properties of the mangosteen fruit. The juice had some major popularity for a while. I have never seen the actual fruit though, so I was glad to get to try this.
The inside is also a white flesh, like the rambutan.
After my China town adventure my tour guide took me to a local cultural show with a buffet dinner. Yes, this is a total tourist thing, but I was looking to learn more about the culture and dance. Even if it was all a show, I was still interested. I know some people like to skip on the overly touristy things, but some of them really appeal to me, especially shows.
The inside courtyard reminded me of Portuguese and European buildings.
Here are some pictures from the buffet options.
American style veggies
Chocolate cake (no, I didn't head straight for the desserts...I walked around in a circle and I happened to come to desserts before walking back around to the other end and finishing up with the food...I swear!)
Very colorful traditional desserts.
This is keuh. I had no idea what that was but it looked so pretty. I asked someone and they told me it was made from coconut. After researching this now, I see it is a dessert made from glutinous rice, so I assume this has coconut added to it.
The back around to more of a meat section.
These were steamed buns filled with sweetened bean paste. They were really good.
Ok, so here is my plate. It looks overly yellow in color, but I think that was because they all have similar seasonings that make everything yellow.
And some dessert
This was a local dessert. It was shave ice topped with a durian sauce. Durian is another fruit local to this region. It is very pungent. And by very, I mean VERY (see article above). I even had someone just tell me in Thailand it is illegal to carry an open one in an elevator. I tried it...and it was...interesting. I took a few bites, but I couldn't really do any more.
Then as the show got ready to start, I enjoyed a nice glass of Tiger beer.
Here are some pictures of the dance performance. Beautiful costumes and fun dances.
Here I am trying to get in to get a picture with the performers. It was not so easy.
I tried, but it was still like I was in everyone's family picture.
But I hung in there and managed to get in for this shot.
And as we were leaving, I was able to get a good night view of the top of Petronas Towers.
Well, it's off to bed for me. Another long day of sightseeing planned. Very excited for this day trip, so stay tuned.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever tried any of those exotic fruits? Would you try durian? What is the most exotic fruit you have ever tried?