Liesel and I went to the Cow’s Nest again for a coffee. We chatted with Nina: she told us about the edible sea snails the midnight torch-bearers were looking for last night. She told us about the 4-week drought and the dams that are becoming too dry.
We watched and listened to the storm roll in. One clap of thunder made me leap out of the seat, clutching my heart which I carefully reinserted into my chest.
It was good to watch the rain from inside. There was a brief power cut and so my second coffee was postponed.
Again, I messed up the Slitherlink puzzle in the paper: I need more practice with these.
We were again joined by a couple of geckos for supper, but the peacock didn’t turn up this time. This is a terrific venue for families: we really enjoyed watching the children play. We especially enjoyed seeing the twins, each wearing one blue and one yellow shoe.
Liesel’s prediction that we wouldn’t leave this hotel resort at all for the whole weekend proved to be correct. We’d eaten at most of the venues here, avoiding the World Bank Group where possible. And every time we passed the sign, I read it as Cow’s Nest. It is of course Crow’s Nest, but with dubious typography.
We were glad this was our final night when the new neighbours moved in. Lots of shouting late at night and early in the morning. A total, lairy wunch of bankers.
The driver who took us to Kuala Lumpur was not at all chatty and we suspect he didn’t speak much English. So far, in all the cab rides, I’ve not heard one radio station that’s made me want to tune in at other times. Very similar feel to Britsh commercial stations, but some of the adverts are much more sexist than we’re now used to. Help your wife out by employing someone to clean the house!
The highway was littered with billboards, something I’d not really noticed before. But oh what excitement when we first saw the Petronas Towers in the distance.
Kuala Lumpur was our first proper capital city since Wellington. It’s a mix of old and new, tatty and shiny, very busy and very noisy.
We’re in a 23rd floor apartment and because it wasn’t ready when we arrived, we hung out in the local coffee bar, Jamaica Blue.
We can’t seem to get away from these little sayings and mottos and homilies, all sound advice, no doubt, but I wonder why they’re so ubiquitous here in Malaysia?
We’ve moved in now, so we’re allowed to refer to the city as KL, like the locals do. According to the weather app, on arrival here it was 34°C (93°F) but it felt like 42°C (108°F), due to the humidity and just being in the city where the buildings were radiating heat too.
In the evening, we again watched a storm, this time from the safety of our apartment. The sky really did light up.
Our first KL breakfast was at Jamaica Blue, which is just a two minute walk from the gate. At least we can now use the gate, we have an electronic key. The first time we came in, we had to show ID to the security guy and we wondered whether we’d have to do that every time.
The Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia was as fascinating and interesting as we’d hoped it would be. I like the geometric designs, the astronomical equipment, the calligraphy. Liesel likes the manuscripts and the textiles. The various old editions of the Qu’ran were illuminated just as beautifully and as intricately as our old, medieval Holy Bibles are.
It’s strange how things evolve: the Arabic script developed in different ways in different places, and in the end, Square Kufic looks just like a modern day QR code.
They wouldn’t let me take the dismantled astrolabe from the cabinet. I was just going to fix it for them, that’s all.
But as least I have a picture. For a long time, we thought photography wasn’t allowed, but nobody else was being told off, so I joined in.
I tried to draw some of the patterns, but I really needed a ruler, compasses and maybe even cheat a bit with a protractor.
The domes. Oh wow, they were gorgeous. I had to lie down to look at them, so well designed and the decoration is so well executed.
There were weapons on display, jewellery, fabrics, clothing, scale models of various mosques worldwide, even the Taj Mahal.
Here’s a tip: if you ever come to Kuala Lumpur, visit the Islamic Arts Museum. You might bump into some strange characters, but it all adds to the fun.
And even while we were outside waiting for the next cab, I just stood there mesmerised by this, possibly the most beautifully decorated pillar in the world. Magic.
In the evening, we walked to Tarma, an Iraqi street food restaurant, if there can be such a thing. We walked through a street market, we fought off several men trying to thrust their own menus into our hands. It was a bustling part of the city, that’s for sure.
And what’s this? Oh no, another slogan on the wall! Not complaining though, the laffa, the Iraqi bread, was fabulous. As was the rest of the meal: Liesel says it’s the best one so far!
We walked back a different way, less busy, just as difficult to cross the roads. There are pedestrian crossings, few and far between, but the green man only gives you one or two seconds to cross the road, and the red stop lights don’t seem to apply to motorcycles anyway: mind your toes.
We decided not to visit any of the night clubs, but this would have been my choice: it evokes memories of comatose old Father Jack suddenly jerking back to life, for some reason.
Yes, a wise decision to walk home. We could have chosen public transport but probably would have caught…
It’s nearly the end of March but it’s also nearly the end of May, hooray! After Thatcher, I never thought we’d have a worse prime minister and we’ve just had two in a row. Waiting for the hattrick.