We started our Malaysian adventure in Kuala Lumpur. I have always been fascinated by the Petronas Towers, a sentiment that the movie Entrapment with Sean Connery did little to discourage.
Unfortunately, they only issue only 1300 tickets a day for the sky bridge which are gone about 2 minutes after the office opens. However, after an Oscar-worthy performance and a big fat lie, I was able to get us in. Don’t ask….There was simply no way I was letting anything come between me and Sean Connery. The view from the sky bridge is stunning and the towers while massive are mesmerizingly elegant.
Afterwards, we explored Independence Square which features the world’s tallest flag pole and hiked through the jungle at the Forrest Research Institute Park. The jungle is fascinating; there is always something making a loud sound from parrots to crickets to who knows what and the variety of plants just takes your breath away. Of course, there is also the heat and humidity. You know when you see Asians sweat that there will be no happy ending for the pasty whitey you. Indeed, thirty seconds into our hike we turned into two portable sweat showers.
Finally, at sunset we went to Batu Caves which is a holy Hindu site in an enormous cave accessible by ascending 270 stairs. No European cathedral can even come close to that kind of a spiritual edifice.
Penang is an island in Northern Malaysia and is renowned for its cuisine. Unfortunately, our stomachs are not trained to process all those delicacies, so we had to be really careful about what we eat.
Penang was settled by the British. As the island was covered by a thick jungle, the British commander loaded a cannon with silver coins and then shot it into the jungle to motivate the hired labour to clear the forest faster in hopes of finding some coins. How very British!
We hired a taxi to take us around the island. The historical center is full of Buddhist, Hindu, and Chinese temples. This is us at the Snake Temple. I was OK with the giant python but when they put the green snake on my head and it immediately positioned itself right next to my eye, I simply stopped breathing.
We went to a butterfly farm which was a place out of a Disney movie. Hundreds of butterflies everywhere. Huge and small. Colorful and plain. They also had an extensive collection of giant millipedes (over 10 inches), scorpions, tarantulas, and geckos.
For lunch we went to an organic tropical fruit farm where they took us on a tour of the farm and then fed us the fruits of their labor. Haha. FYI, the British introduced rubber trees to Malaysia which soon became the number one cash crop for 200 years. However, lately rubber plantations are being replaced with palms. Coconut oil is the number one agricultural export. This is a picture of Jackfruit which can weight up to 80 pounds!!!
This is us with some monkeys. Turns out that that monkeys are mean jerks and I hope to never see another one. And then us on a riksha ride.
About 50% of the population of Malaysia is Malay. To be Malay means to be Muslim. The rest is Chinese and Indian. While Malays are dominant in politics, it is really the Chinese who run the economy. The country is enormously diverse. The amazing thing about being in a Muslim country is being woken up every morning by the call to prayer and having stickers pointing to Mecca on every hotel room ceiling. Anyway, we visited a beautiful mosque in Penang and received over an hour-long lecture about Islam.
I wrapped up the day by indulging in a message. Asian massages are the stuff of legends and I could not wait for my back-pain-free Nirvana.
Now, I am no prude but OMG…the show got to good start as my masseur aloofly watched me strip down. Indeed, she did not leave the room or at least pretend to be organizing her oils…no she just stood there while I was frantically sucking in my stomach and willing my cellulite to disappear so hard I nearly passed out. I continued to be completely and utterly stark naked for the rest of the experience. I must admit that there came several points where I was not totally sure what kind of massage I paid for. My butt crack being kneaded was definitely one of them. But I do have to say that I came out of there absolutely pain free and with 3 new muscles for good measure. As for my ego…let’s hope that what happens in Penang, stays in Penang.
Langkawi is a resort island by the Thai border. For the first time this whole year, David and I did absolutely nothing…which means that David read the whole time and I either in the pool or the ocean hoping to turn into a mermaid. It was the most wonderful time of our life.
As always, love you all and thank you so much for all your support.
PS: This is the water monitor that the Langkawi resort management leaves chicken for every day on the edge of the National Forrest Park.