September 14, 2010
Weekend getaway in a shopper's paradise
You can ask me: how was KL Andra? What did you see there, how was the city? What did you do there? And I will reply well, the shops were very very nice :-D
Kuala Lumpur is something like midtown Manhattan with huuuuge skyscrapers everywhere, and nothing much beside. It was built in what used to be a rainforest, and from the plane you can see green everywhere when you approach the city. Once you are in the city it’s mostly concrete and steel. But there is some vegetation left here and there. The people of the city are a combination of cultures and religion, something that I have never seen before. Most Malay are Muslims, so you can see women covered by their colourful veils, but there are also Buddhists, Hindus etc. In terms of origins, you can see Indians, alongside Chinese, alongside the majority Malay people. It is very interesting to observe how they can peacefully co-habit and respect each other’s religion and culture.. Also because they were celebrating the end of Ramadhan this weekend, it was public holiday and so they had many tourists- Muslims from all over the world- hence, an even larger variety of people.. And what can tourists to in this “concrete jungle” ..well, they can shop ‘till they drop.. I have never seen such malls in my life, probably something similar to those in Dubai. Huge and with all possible shops u dream of… they even had Harrods, Topshop!!! and Nandos!! (well, maybe because of their ties to the British Empire; a bit of London there :-D ) What striked me most was that they had the autum/winter collection in the shops, and I cannot possibly imagine what people in KL could do with boots and winter jackets, in this tropical country…But then I realized: they love their AC turned at maximum power. So for the strolls in the shopping mall, they can use their winter clothes (it was freeeezing inside).
The second day, feeling guilty that we only saw what was the inside of a mall in our first day, we decided to take a bus tour…well, we saw nothing but some other shopping centres, and some more skyscrapers and 2 colonial buildings, and a nice view of the fast developing city from the telecommunications tower. Malaysia is the 3rd richest country in SE Asia, after Singapore and Brunei. It is mainly due to its natural resources, most importantly oil!! The Petronas towers, are the towers of the oil industry … I don’t know why I had the impression that only in the West you can live at the highest possible standards. Well, I was extremely ignorant of this region… And also, after being in Cambodia for a while, maybe I was expecting the whole region to be more or less like that. Well, wrong again there…very wrong for that matter…
After having seen a bit more of the city, we decided to finish our sightseeing with the fanciest mall of them all- the Pavillion. Do not imagine that I shopped a lot, because I was going back to my Cambodians, where I could not use most of the things they were selling there- like proper shoes, and proper clothes :-). I only bought some nice smelling creams – a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do..
We went back early to the hotel as we had to wake up at 4 am to get to the airport in time to fly back to work in PP. But because of stupid Lonely Planet ( I found many of its shortcomings while here), we miscalculated the time we needed to get to the airport… Also, there was no mention that there were 2 airports!!! and of course our airport was the far away one…and so we got there just 20 minutes before the flight…the b*!$ch at the counter didn’t let us through so 9 hours and 175$ later, we got on the next flight…back in PP we were again stroked by the reality here. It is funny how after living in a place like Cambodia you consider this to be your reality and your normality, and you start to think, well this place is quite developed and you find most things that you need (the only imported salad in town is sold in this tiny little shop, in a hidden frigorific room; makes u feel you’re buying drugs…) and then you go away one weekend in a neighboring country and you feel your reality shaken up… and you don’t understand what is the reality anymore…haha, you guys probably lost me by now...I know I did…