So this is the start of a one year round the world trip. I believe it’s important to approach this with a positive, adaptable, patient mindset.
There are going to be delays, frustrations, possible accidents, bad accommodation, losses, maybe robberies, feeling sick; so we’ll just take them in our stride.
I’m not going to start thinking about what’s going on at home or the coming experiences; I’m just going to concentrate on the here and now and remaining mindful.
The flights from Durban to Kuala Lumpur were totally contrasting even though with the same airline Emirates. The flight from Durban to Dubai was crowded, uncomfortable, cramped and with bad food. From Dubai to Kuala Lumpur we flew with a new A380 which was spacious, had a state of the art entertainment system and had good food.
We are fortunate to be able to stay this first week with my great niece Gemma and her husband Adam who are teaching in KL. They have an apartment on the 18th floor of a high rise block in the suburbs and are next door to a newly completed MRT driverless, state of the art train which takes us every day into KL on our explorations.
The public transport is cheap and efficient and in town there are buses for free on four circular routes. It took us a little while to figure out the different railways, bus routes and fix them with the sights we wanted to see. Young women jumped up and offered me their seats, I’m not sure whether this is just inherent politeness or that I appear old. On the train one guy jumped up and then we compared ages and found he was 1 year younger than me. So I kept the seat. One morning as we arrived on the platform I dived into the train and the doors shut immediately with Patrick and Carol with bemused expression on their faces on the platform as the train slidaway from the station.
The cost of living here is cheap, rentals are reasonable, eating out is a joy and cheap. I think most people don’t bother to cook; there is a huge choice of restaurants and pavement food from all over the East. And it’s delicious.
The city reminds us of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. Frantic development, hectic traffic, huge buildings, 5 star hotels, a mall society and here and there little pockets of old KL and peace and quiet.
We visited the up market craft market with batiks, silver and pewter goods and then the Petaling Street market which has the cheap fake branded goods together with an authentic Chinese pharmacy which displayed animal innards and old tins of ginseng at $1 500 each. Carol asked the pharmacist if he had rhino horn available; he said no but we can get it nearby.
The central gardens are a peaceful haven set in the middle of the roaring traffic and high rise buildings. We visited the bird park , and the wonderful orchid and hibiscus gardens .
The city appears to be a well ordered, governed multi-ethnic and religious society. I know this is an over simplification and just an observation.
So we will be back in less than two months to explore more of this country and surrounding neighbours.