At the end of five days in KL, we can't really decide how we feel about it. The largeness of it is both refreshing and annoying. Mike and I both feel as if we haven't really seen the city, even though we hit all the spots we had targeted. Perhaps we're thrown off by the repressive heat that magnifies the car exhausts and street smells, or by the fact that we've spent twice what we did in Bali in five days. Perhaps the vast differences in people and styles and manners, simply make it a hard city to pin down. We were just marvelling yesterday how when you're in an Indian restaurant, you feel like you're in India, when you're in a Chinese restaurant, you feel like you're in China...etc. It's fascinating and...a bargain! Several countries in one! But it messes with your grasp of a place. Or perhaps we hit too many tourist spots and suffered the lack of a local to show us the secret corners and soft underbelly. Or...perhaps, in the end, it's just the nature of a big city. You can't see it all, so your experience of it is shaped by the snippets of interactions you have with strangers and offhand choices of where to eat or where you walk. But we liked it, we think. We have also been thrown by how much English is spoken - on ads, on the radio, or even within a very Malaysian-looking family. One afternoon, we watched a young boy try to buy drinks in Macdonalds. Both he and the cashier looked Malaysian...the boy perhaps more Indian. They communicated awkwardly in English, mouthing slowly the words. Is this how it gets between the cultures? It probably takes more time than we have to find out.
I will tell you, as a total aside, that I have discovered a love for green apple juice, especially when mixed with mint.
So the last two days were spent at the Batu Caves north of the city, and at the KL Bird Park. The Batu Caves were truly breathtaking. We had read some reviews online that suggested they were a bit if a letdown. As we approached the giant gold statue and peered into the mouth of the enormous cathedral cave, we couldn't fathom how anyone could be disappointed. Perhaps these naysayers had been among the dunces that had taken food up the steps, only to have it snatched from their hands by a quick monkey. Monkeys are aggressive and smart. If they see a plastic bag, they'll nab it, thinking it contains food. We saw a couple of monkeys pulling apart someone's souvenir coins and someone else's shampoo bottle and compact. Despite the looming awe-inspiring size of the caves and statue, however, I think the thing that Abbey will remember the best will be the pigeons. She lost herself for a good half hour in her imaginary world; giving them names, herding them and telling them off. Some tourists tried to take pictures with her, but she was too busy to notice. She was almost as entranced today with the coy in the ponds at the bird park. Best 30 cents I've ever spent -buying fish food. This excursion ended up being girls only, as Mike opted to stay behind and nip his burgeoning cold in the bud. We had a lovely afternoon. We fed fish, parrots, lorikeets, and emus, watched Macaws drive little cars and go down slides, made a sand picture and held a baby chick. And to escape the heat, we took taxis there and back. Done and Done. Tomorrow we leave for Melaka. Should be a two hour bus ride, and maybe a somewhat calmer spot to explore.