Expecto Petronas

View of downtown KL

Luckily for us, the hotel did have a day long tour we could sign up for. We did so, and then embarked on a van tour of the city. I was ready to do something, especially since I’d been up since 5 AM, listening to the Muslim call to prayer from the mosque right outside my window. To say I was startled out of sleep is an understatement.

Our first stop was at the President’s Mansion, an interesting and pretty home on the edge of the city. We toured through it, walked around in the humid morning through a smallish garden, and then went to a cultural museum.

The museum itself was a nice representation of the indigenous tribes of Malaysia, with old games, art work, and jewelry. I liked the game called Elephant’s Ears, where you take a bit of rope and tie it into the center of a halved coconut. Then, you slip the rope between your toes and hold to the string whilst walking on the shells. Sounded like fun, actually.

National Mosque, KL
Mosque’s stonework

In all, for the short stop at the museum, it was welcome respite from the hot day.

The next destination was the large National Mosque in the city centre. Bare feet felt good as we went into the lovely mosque and walked around, listening to the prayers being called out. I have never been in a Muslim country before, and the voice was disconcerting at first but then grew to be familiar the longer I listened. I would hear it plenty of times during the day.

From there, we rode over to the Menara, the huge “space needle” in KL. It is the fourth tallest tower in the world, and we went to the very top to take some excellent pictures of the city and of the Petronas Towers. The view was spectacular, to say the least.

Close up of balconies on the Petronas

I picked up a slushie at the base of the Menara and waited until the driver reappeared. He told us that KL was about a third Malaysian, third Chinese, and third foreign expat. I was not surprised, then, when I saw a bunch of girls suddenly break out into a CNY dance in the middle of the tourist area.

 After the Menara visit, we scooted over to the Petronas Towers, arguably the most recognizable landmark in KL. I mean, Where in the World is Matt Lauer? was featured there a few years ago. No, I didn’t go up to the bridge between them, but we went into the huge mall attached to the Towers.

Inside, I immediately located a Starbucks, where upon I tried the Asian Dolce latte (yes, Asian dolce latte) which was insanely sweet for the first few sips then crazy strong for the rest of it. One thing that’s interesting, as you travel, is to sample regional fast food. It’s not like American food and drink – it’s tailored to the region. In China, there’s loads of green tea stuff (not my favorite), “nut” flavored lattes, and fruit teas (like peach blossom tea latte or now, cherry white chocolate mocha). The worst drink I tried was the chestnut macchiato (kind of earthy, emphasis on earth flavor), and the two best are the dark chocolate mint frapp (Manila, Philippines) and, my most recent favorite, lemon vanilla cream latte (Tokyo, Japan). It certainly is a local flavor type of thing. Globalization is killing some things off but revealing others, I feel.

I also got my KL Starbucks mug, as I’m obsessed with collecting Starbucks mugs as I travel. I had already looked up Starbucks in Colombo, but they don’t have any yet. Sri Lanka is a strong tea country.

We asked the driver to drop us off at KL Central, a half local mall and half train station combo. The speed train from KL Central would take us right to the airport. And, after a mixed Malaysian dinner at a local café, we boarded the train to the airport and a five hour wait period there.

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