Monday 25th April. Lest we forget…….we certainly haven’t forgotten ANZAC day as we have been walking around with our poppies proudly pinned to our chest..
It has been a little over 36 hours since we touched down in KL after a 2.5 hour delayed departure from Queenstown on Saturday 23rd. This was then followed by an 8 hr layover in Melbourne and a red eye special departing at 2.40am. The kids catnapped in Melbourne and found their second wind once they took their seats on the plane upon discovering each seat had a touch screen entertainment centre. They were busy watching movies whilst Noelle and I caught some sleep but tiredness caught up with them about 2 hours out from KL and they crashed.
It has been some years since we were all in Malaysia as a family and although Noelle and I acclimatised quite quickly BB & KK initially found the assault on their senses overwhelming, the sounds, smells and heat contributed with their tiredness making for a few grumpy comments early on.
We are staying in Chow Kit which is on the fringes of the central city with fantastic views across to the twin towers, the KL tower and a multitude of other high and well lit buildings. We have a mosque next door so we’re one of the first to be notified of the call to prayer. The first one each day is around 5am. We have a vibrant local day/night market below us with a myriad of food and consumer goods stalls with food being produced in a variety of ways that would likely see any Queenstown business operating like that shut down. Where we are is not a tourist area so we are immersing ourselves in living with the locals.
The kids have immediately noticed some differences from what they have been used to……the markets are not like New World as a shopping experience, people shout a lot, everything smells funny and the heat. Within less than 24 hrs they like the rest of the locals understand the value of air-con and now want to seek out buildings they can go into to cool down. Other differences have been the wrapping on mentos and kit kats, 7-11 vs night & day stores and they have discovered that not all toilets are created equally.
BB discovered this early on yesterday not long after arrival. “Dad whats this, how does this work?”. Being told it was a squat toilet and you stand over it he went away to give it another go but came back “I can’t make this work, I need a real toilet” and then started looking through the rest of the stalls for a bowl to sit on. (he finally found one). KK had her chance today to use one and although less than impressed her gymnastic skills may have made the using of it somewhat easier.
Today we went and got the last of our jabs (much cheaper than NZ), visited the twin towers, sorted out our local phone numbers and rode the underground at rush hour. The kids were amazed at how many people the trains could fit and how tight a squeeze it was.
In life there are things you forget about but they can be recalled reasonably easily without too much effort……two things that came back pretty quickly is the traffic and the food. The traffic (even on a Sunday) is everywhere. The cars, buses, taxis & scooters for whom road rules and indicating are optional give the city it’s vibrancy but it packs the inner city streets to a standstill making Qtn’s traffic issues non existent by comparison.
The food…….man the food….the eclectic options and dishes bring back memories of living in Asia and having not been able to enjoy the variety for some time we have been eating to make up for lost time. Lunch yesterday after arrival saw us in a local Malay restaurant, dinner last night saw us in Chinatown at a local foodcourt.
We have a local fruit vendor outside the front door of our accommodation so breakfast is fruit (Jambu, Longan, Rambutan,Mango). He even sells NZ apples. Lunch today was again in a local foodcourt with BB loving the chicken rice (he had 2 plates), we had Chicken & Mushroom hotpot, Chendoi, Beef & Ginger Kway Teow to name a few. We snacked this afternoon on Nonya Kuih (traditional cakes & sweets) with the Onde Onde and Pandan Lapis being the favourites. Tonight we went to Little India and ate a couple of really nice dishes. At this stage we are pretty impressed with the kids attitude in being willing to try new foods. They may not like them but at least they give them a go.
Tomorrow we have a full day planned with some more sightseeing before we head to another part of the city to stay with our friends.
It’s now getting on towards 11pm, the street market has quietened and it’s only another 6 hours until the alarm clock goes off at 5am with an invitation to pray. More soon……..