The first couple days of a trip for me are always the toughest; I spend so much energy just traveling to my destination and I always arrive feeling beaten up. I generally try to ignore the weariness of my body however because curiosity always gets the best of me and I typically find myself pushing my body even further.
Ashley and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur early in the morning. We were either ready to go or completely pass out after our 22 hours of traveling to get to the capital of Malaysia. It was 4:00 am when we finally reached the hostel; the streets were dark and gloomy, our eyes were strained from lack of sleep and our stomachs tossed and turned from hunger. The Taxi dropped us off in front of the hostel with a splash as the streets were wet and the skies were filled with dark clouds. The streets were mostly empty except for the few kids hanging out on the corner after a night out.
We dropped our stuff off and met up with our friend, Christopher, and we decided that it was time to get something in our stomach or we would never sleep. We walked down the dark and damp streets twisting and turning until we came upon a street in chinatown where there were still food stalls opened. We sat around a red plastic table and ordered fried noodles. Excitement, nerves and exhaustion filled my body as I slurped down fried noodles and mystery meat. As we ate, we talked about what we had planned for the upcoming day and our bellies became full and our eyes droopy so we headed off to the hostel for a quick nap.
Sleep came easy but waking up came a little more difficult due to the jet lag but we had no choice and before we knew it we were walking around this giant city. Kuala Lumpur is a large and boisterous city, it kind of threw me when first started walking around. The city reminds me of any large western city like New York, Los Angeles, or even Las Vegas. One of the first thing I notice about KL is the culture of going to the mall. I am not joking when I say that at times I felt like I was in one giant mall the entire time I was there. Out of all the cities that we ended up going to on our trip, KL made it seem like we never left the U.S. just by the look of the city. After exploring Chinatown and a part of the central market we headed off towards Petronas Towers, which I will admit are very impressive. As you walk under them you feel very insignificant with these behemoth metal skyscrapers towering over you.
When we reached our first mall I ran into my first interesting treat of the trip. Now one of my biggest disappointment of the trip was never buying a Durian. The notorious putrid smelling fruit that hotels, and hostels around the city ask you to please not bring them into their places of business. I did how ever get a scoop of Durian flavored ice cream. I have had trouble trying to describe the flavor of this cold treat. It was sweet in the beginning and then the flavor began to overwhelm my taste buds and then it just lingered and nothing would get the taste out of my mouth. It is not easy to compare to anything I have tasted before. Lets just say I did not buy a tub of it to put in my freezer at home. Next time though, when I am back I will hopefully be cutting into a real Durian and slurping down its flesh.
Now I am a little critical of KL because of the all the malls. Growing up I never had any around me and never really got the point of them. I can easily say KL’s Malls can compete even with the top of the line ones in Orange County, California. All the malls are filled with large chain restaurants, department stores, movie theaters, bars, and fine dining. These malls had a bit of everything. They were quite impressive and easy to get lost in. The feeling of being in the giants malls made me feel like I was New York and forgot that I was in South East Asia. Now there is a lot more to this city then malls, but KL was too large for the time that we were there. KL is a city I need to go back to and spend longer than just a couple of days there. It was weird being in a very western city when that was what I was trying to get away from. The city had its positives especially with the meals we had at Din Tai Fung and their fantastic Dumplings.
Kuala Lumpur is a large western city despite its location in the world. That was a bit of a shock when I got there. I know now that KL is a huge, sprawling city and I was not there long enough to truly explore the entire city. I met a Scottish man who spends a good amount of time in KL and loves it. I feel like I need to give it another shot but until then it will always be the city of a thousand malls.