Asia Day 4-7: Kuala Lumpur

  • A new mistake to start off the new leg of the journey: not getting RM when I was in Singapore. I didn’t know that we’d stop along the way to KL and when we did, there was all of this stuff I could’ve bought (coffee, prepaid card) but couldn’t because I thought I’d just get my money changed when I was in KL so I wouldn’t have to do the CAD to SGD to RM dance. Very unfortunate.
  • My very first impression of the city was that it was way more chaotic than the orderliness I’d gotten used to in Singapore. Car traffic isn’t really bad so much as there’s a ton of it and traffic signal coordination is not very good. You can get long stretches without the signal changing, which leads to the problem of a ton of people jaywalking. And of course, if people are jaywalking across six lanes of traffic, there’s really no need to change signal timings, right? And then in addition to all of this, you have motorbikes weaving in between lanes and up sidewalks and it was all very stressful to someone who likes obeying traffic signals.
  • My earlier mistake came back to ruin me. See, I was staying near Masjid Jamek and it turned out none of the money changers nearby were open that Sunday. And when I tried to take some from the ATM at the nearby HSBC, my card got blocked. So I ended up walking all the way to KLCC to get money and food. Other than being super tiring and causing some minor panic, in the end, this just forced KLCC to the front of my plans and I spent the evening wandering around the mall and the surrounding plaza, stretching my neck to get a decent shot of the Petronas towers.
  • It’s here where I started to realize one great thing about Singapore’s hawker centres: all you need to do is find one and then you can wander around to discover what’s good. It’s a lot harder to check out goodies when they’re all over the place like in the rest of the world (such as in KL).
  • A very bad time to look for traditional Malay food in a traditional Malay area like Kampung Baru is during Ramadan. I took a day and stopped by there twice to discover that things weren’t open before realizing that it was Ramadan and it’d make sense no one was selling food during daylight hours. Whoops.
  • Somehow, I think my favourite coffee shop in the world might be located here. So the hostel that I stayed at also runs this neat Western-style (by which I mean they do espressos and that sort of thing as opposed to kopi) coffee shop called LOKL. I mean, it’d fit right in at Kensington Market. They make really good breakfast and a damn good espresso. Things that I would love to bring over: fried bread instead of toast and espresso shots with a shot of condensed milk.
  • I had my suspicions that the RapidKL LRT was not actually light rail. I noticed a Bombardier logo on one of the trains which prompted me to take a look at Wikipedia and that proved my suspicions correct. The Kelana Jaya LRT is actually a second generation ICTS system like Vancouver’s SkyTrain, which means it’s actually a descendant of the same technology that’s used by the Scarborough RT in Toronto. The more you know.
  • The KLIA Ekspres is a really nice train ride. Rail links to airports are just a great idea in general.

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