18.01.2009 - 21.01.2009 34 °C
From Saigon I took my first flight since arriving from Helsinki to Bangkok and starting my trip. Months ago I had found a bargain flight for 40 euros from Saigon to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, which also happens to be one of the better airlines. It sure was nice to fly again, especially when there was a decent meal included and a chocolate bar for dessert.
Couple of hours later and I had landed to a whole different world. It was Sunday and it seemed that everything was therefore more quiet. After the Vietnamese traffic it was like a miracle to walk the peaceful streets of Kuala Lumpur. It was actually possible to cross the road! Cars were stopping and letting you go! The whole traffic was organized!
I was excited to arrive to Kuala Lumpur. It was so good to land somewhere modern and westernized. I have now realized just how much I like my home comforts... Kuala Lumpur was again back on the zone where you can get anything you want 24 hours a day. I'm not ashamed to say I love it! I was ridiculously happy to spot a 7/11, and after a month apart I was reunited with my beloved ice mochas.
From my hostel I could see the Golden Triangle looming in the distance, and decided to walk there. The Petronas Towers were glistening in the night, they were luminous. I thought they were so beautiful, and I don't even know why. After all, they're just a pile of steel!
Unfortunately there is a big shopping centre next to the towers. When I stuck my head to the shopping mall I was gone. As I made my way past Bvlgari and Cartier towards the more affordable shops on the lower floor, there was no stopping from there. It is the most stupid and shallow thing in the whole world that one feels like coming home when spotting a Zara and Topshop. Yet I found myself from the fitting room surrounded by things that I didn't need nor could afford (let alone fit in my backpack). And curiously for the first time I was not cold at all despite the air con, what with all the blood rushing through my veins in excitement! Just some hours earlier I had been in Vietnam, not caring about material things, only caring about the experience. And 15 minutes into being inside a western style shopping centre I was again totally brainwashed into spending and buying and consuming again!
The next day I went up to the Menara KL Tower (not to be confused with Petronas). I had heard that the view is great, but my main reason to go there was that it reminded me of Seattle's Space Needle. Being a huge fan of Grey's Anatomy I have a rather odd obsession to visit the Space Needle. Weird, I know. The admission fee was a little bit more than I expected, and even when I tried to do my student card trick (presenting whatever card from my wallet as student card) that didn't give me any discount.
The admission fee included entrance to this weird Winter World place, which basically was a corner with snowmen and carol singing animals. Don't really know what was the function of that place! Next to the Winter World there was also a small zoo, or whatever you would call it, this sad space with caged animals. They had lots of different snakes and spiders, and bigger animals too like monkeys, foxes and raccoons, all trapped in their small cages. It was so sad to see them desperately making circles in the small space they had.
Kuala Lumpur has a very modern look and it seems to have every single American chain from doughnuts to books and coffee. I have started to see my own country as rather original when it comes to this, for in Finland there's no Burger King or Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts or KFC to be found.
Kuala Lumpur has the most amazing food streets I've ever seen. There is a huge selection of Asian food on the streets, Indian, Malay, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese. However, I was starting to worry a little about money, so I attacked the problem by eating chicken fried rice for three days in a row. And of course bringing my own bottle of water with me! Since starting my trip I have been having the most disgusting restaurant manners: never ever tipping and by now I'm not the slightest bit embarrassed to carry my own drinks around.
I visited the Petronas Towers on my last day in Kuala Lumpur. If you can bear the long wait in the queue early in the morning you'll be rewarded with a free ticket to visit the skybridge between the two towers. I found it funny that there is no admission fee, seeing as the towers are the most popular tourist spot in Kuala Lumpur. It's not like you can go up to Eiffel Tower for free when in Paris! However, going up to the towers is not very interesting, and the view from KL Tower is actually much better.
I finally made my way to the famous Chinatown market too, and I thought it was full of unbelievable crap and no air. I was trying to find a cheap, simple black handbag, but turned out it was impossible to find anything that didn't have a massive fake Chanel label or something like that on it. And the guys selling them were driving me mad too, piling their fake shit in front of me and going over and over again: "What? You don't like Chanel? Why you not like Louis Vuitton? This one is CHLOE! Very nice!"
I decided to take a quick look at the Times Square shopping centre too, which is huge and apparently has an amusement park with rollercoasters and stuff in it. It really was massive, sporting the same labyrinth style than the shopping centres in Bangkok. It was too much of a bazaar for my liking, and most of the shops were rather not my style. See below!
Upon arrival to Kuala Lumpur I was so full of excitement, but three days later I was definitely ready to leave. Interesting place to visit but not something I would return to. Only if I was loaded with money and could go for a no limits shopping spree!