Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Malaysia: First sights, tastes, and experiences

Ok ok so my blog hasn't really been interesting. I've spent the past 2 days in a city right outside of Kuala Lumpur, which by the way, is a very impressive city. If you don't want to take the train, they have a monorail. If you don't want to take the monorail, you can take the lightrail. Or the usual buses, taxis, etc. My favorite was the monorail which soared above normal roads so it gave you the best views of the city. I literally sat on it from one end of the city to the other on a wild good chase for a bus station. This is because the main bus station, Pudaraya, was shut down for renovations. Imagine shutting down Grand Central Station- what the hell are you supposed to do? I ended up finding a bus station (with the help of Afiqah) on the outskirts of KL which was definitely not listed in my Lonely Planet (a guidebook which I swear by).

Most of KL that I saw was very much like Hong Kong. I went to some extremely classy shopping malls and was surrounded by stores like LV, Gucci, Fendi, Prada, yada yada. It was like I never left NY. If it weren't for the exterior (the mall was in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid- sphinx and all), I would have never have guessed I was not in the US (well it could have passed as Vegas)!

I've been introduced to some delicious and not so delicious meals and drinks. The best was tei terik which is a hot milk tea. If only it has tapioca bubbles! Otherwise, there was a pretty popular Pepto Bismal-colored drink which unsurprisingly tasted like the medicine itself. Was it all in my head? As for food, I haven't had a bad meal yet. Malaysia has a fusion of Indian, Chinese, and Thai food so my meals always consisted of either noodles or curry or both. You can never go wrong with roti cani which is a type of Indian naan (but thinner) mixed with egg for breakfast. I've had fish prepared in outrageous ways- as chewy sausage-like links, as fishballs, and as fish chip/crackers. Needless to say, they certainly like their fish here. On my way to the bus stop I stopped at a stand with fresh cut fruit. BE SMART RULE #1: Never eat pre-cut fruit. You never know what type of water was used to wash it with (tap water is not safe to drink in Asia). I stared at the delicious cut mango, then stared at the sewer stream behind the store, back to the mango, and gave the lady 2 ringget (About 75 cents). And here I am, 6 hours later, still kickin (in my defense, I saw Afiqah eat some cut fruit on the street the other day and she seemed fine).

Last night, Afiqah's parents took us to a seasideish restaurant for fresh seafood. Ignoring the polluted beach, the restaurant was very cute. There are bins of raw fish, squid, shrimp, etc (some of which were still alive and flopping around) where you pick up (literally, with your hands) which one you want and then they cook it right there. Some of you are probably scrunching your face as this doesn't seem appetizing while others (like my brother) are probably licking their lips to how delicious that sounds.

Ok so today I left KL for the Cameron Highlands- a gruesome 2 1/2 hour bus ride just to get up the mountain (4 hours total from KL). The Highlands are known for their cooler temperature (thank God!), tea plantations, strawberry fields, and butterfly farms- all of which I will see tomorrow. I am staying in a hostel that cost me 3.75 USD a night. Looking forward to the tranquility here after the bustling city...

Ok well this novel just about sums up the highlights of my trip so far. Hopefully next time I'll upload pictures as well! Hope all is well on the other side of the world :)


  1. Sounds like you are off to good start (at eating anyway). That seafood does sound mouth watering. Enjoy the serenity of the highlands as I remember it to be pretty chill. Let us know if you find Jim Thompson.

  2. How exciting!! Sounds like you are having a great time already! And the live seafood in the buckets reminded me about the "catch a lobster" claw game at Hammerhead Fred's!