Some people spend their entire lives in Malaysia, never leaving it and there are probably people who have spent all of their lives in the country's capital - Kuala Lumpur - which means "muddy confluence". Me? I jetted in on Friday evening and jetted out on Sunday afternoon feeling rather frustrated that those forty four hours will very probably be the only hours I ever spend in Malaysia.
I saw and mentally noted many things, including:-
- The vast palm tree plantations on the way from the airport.
- Most Muslim Malaysian women wear the "tudung" or hijab headscarf. Why? I have no idea.
- There are many Indian, Sri Lankan , Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants living in Kuala Lumpur.
- English is very widely spoken and at a book sale in the middle of the Legends Mall, I noted that all books for sale were in English.
- Alcoholic beverages are not as widely available as they are in Thailand.
- In the Internet cafe I visited there were maybe a hundred computer stations and that evening everybody else in the room was playing computer games.
- There are many monkeys on the steps up to the Batu Caves on the northern edge of the city.
- The Batu Caves contain Hindu shrines.
- Kuala Lumpur has some good transport links including a monorail and excellent train and bus services.
- The Petronas Towers - once the tallest building in the world - look really lovely at night.
- In the strange "Animal Kingdom" below KL Tower there was a two-headed red ear slider turtle and yes - it really did have two heads!
- Malaysians love English Premiership football as much as the Thais do.
- In marketplaces, Malaysians are more "pushy" than Thais - calling out and trying to win sales.
- Malaysian currency is called the ringit. Ten ringit is roughly £2 GBP.
- Malaysian people like to get up early.
- Kuala Lumpur seemed both peaceful and friendly - far less hectic than Bangkok can sometimes appear.
- Chicken Chowman is not a dish to order if you are hoping for a nice meat curry.
But the main thing is that I successfully received a 30-day stamp in my passport when I returned to Bangkok. Hence, my work status can now be ironed out and I shall not be deported as an illegal alien.
Scene at Chow Kit, Monkey at Batu Cave, Petronas Towers reflected in The British Council Building