Saturday, 7 June 2014

Friends in High Places

It is always nice to have a friend in a new city.  Thanks to my cousin Carolyn, who had lived in Kuala Lumpur many years ago, we had Sundar Raj to help us get settled while we were in KL.  He works in the tourist industry, and although he was in the middle of moving, he carved out time to show the travelling Mitchells around the city.
A tour around Little India with Raj.

This photo is for my cousin Carolyn - who worked here and will remember this place. 

The first stop was our hotel (My Hotel KL Sentral); Raj had our room upgraded and the price discounted.  It is nice to have friends in high places!  At the beginning of our trip, hotels were few and far between as they were usually more expensive and did not allow us to cook our own food.  AirBnB has been our usual choice. Occasionally we broke the rules and cooked a one-pot meal over our little propane burner as desperate times (budget) called for desperate measures (hotel pasta).  South East Asia is much more affordable and a hotel room ranges in price from 20-40 dollars, usually including breakfast.  We also REALLY appreciate a western toilet and a shower enclosure that doesn’t soak the whole bathroom.

We ventured out to the Batu Caves, which housed a few important Hindu Temples and the world’s largest Budha. Mark had fun taking photos of the massive cave and the world’s largest Budha butt! We toured around Little India, learning about the Tamil history and culture and eating delicious Indian food with our hands.  Mark struggled with this and chose a fork whenever the opportunity presented itself.  I on the other hand (ha ha) loved it, but I had to keep reminding myself to keep my left hand tucked safely away.  Curries, chapatti, roti, kothu pratha, dall, and some healthier steamed options, called puttu, kept our tummies full and satisfied. 
We had to climb up 270+ monkey enhabited steps to reach the entrance of the cave,
hang on to your stuff folks!

Of course a selfie with the Budha!

The caves were stunning inside!

Mark couldn't resist!

Sundar Raj kept us entertained and told us stories about touring famous people around the city.  He snuck Cindy Crawford out for Indian food when her people had prepared her western food.  He talked about the training he had to go through when people of importance came to town and how Al Gore had made quite a blunder when referring to Malaysia’s safety during his visit.  Sundar Raj was such a generous man, and had entertained people from all walks of life in KL.  
I'm no Cindy Crawford but the Indian was delicious!
We visited the KL tower and the Petronas Twin Towers and got a beautiful view of the somewhat smog covered city.  It was steamy hot, but we didn’t want to stay indoors.  Raj took us to Putrajaya an entire city that has recently been built to house the government. It is based on a combination of Washington DC’s Capital Hill and Paris, France. It was amazing in scale but we couldn’t help but wonder where all the people were.  The population of government workers is slowly growing, but for the locals it is quite expensive to live in Putrajaya and therefore there is little colourful human activity.  The architecture was stunning and we visited the capital building, which Raj called the Green Taj Majal.

Amazing architecture!

Raj and the gang!

Wearing bare feet and appropriate attire to enter the mosque.

The Petronas Towers

KL was a quick visit, but thankfully with Sundar Raj helping us out we were treated like celebrities and felt like we had seen and done enough.  After a lovely good-bye dinner with Raj’s and his family at his new home, we headed off to Vietnam.  Thanks Carolyn, for connecting us with Sundar Raj; He was a wonderful host and we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet him and his family!
Thanks for a beautiful stay in Kuala Lumpur Raj!

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