29 November 2011


When Paul and I were in Kuala Lumpur, we did most of our exploring in the morning and in the evening. Our afternoons consisted of a little wandering and a lot of napping. Again, not even the hotel concierge could recommend things for us to do in the afternoons other than shopping.

So we went shopping.

We went to Times Square the first day and had the best pizza I have had in almost a year. Thank you, Papa.

My how I missed that garlic butter sauce! This is how fast food pizza should be served.

We filled our bellies to the max with the pizza, the cheesy garlic bread, the onion rings and three Cokes, so we needed to walk it all off for a bit so that the food coma would not set in.

This mall was huge. There were at least eight floors and there were wings. I thought the Times Square Indoor Themepark sign was funny, so I took a picture. What kind of theme park awaited us? A couple dinky rides? Weird.

I chuckled when I saw this sign above the entrance. And then, I walked in. To my amazement, there were all sorts of rides and games in this four-story space. There was even a roller coaster that twisted, turned and flipped above everyone’s head.

For dessert, after we burned some calories walking all over the mall that would give Manhattan Mall a run for its money, we headed to Paul’s favorite eatery, Krispy Kreme. While he was boring and selected three glazed doughnuts, I was adventurous and selected a classic (dipped in sugar), an apple-filled doughnut and one topped with icing and Oreo crumbs. Mmmm.

Look at the minis!

The next day we went to a different mall at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, one of Kuala Lumpur’s most recognized edifices. Paul decided that this mall would put Easton (for those familiar with Columbus) to shame. Many stores seen on Orchard Road also appeared here at Petronas.

What I enjoyed most, however, was the line of restaurants placed along the outside perimeter looking out into a park that reminded me of Boston Common. Ponds with water features and layers of trees were placed in front of the downtown cityscape. After we enjoyed our dinner, we walked around the park and an even larger landscape was revealed to us.

Runners steadily passed us along the walkway as the rain gently fell. We decided to take a few photos and then head back to the hotel before the monsoon approached.

Later that evening, we headed into Chinatown to see what crazy deals we could find. Before we moved to Singapore, the only Chinatown I have previously encountered was the one in Manhattan so I guess I was expecting something like that. I was also expecting something similar to Singapore’s Chinatown but, since nothing really opened until 6 p.m., I guess I knew this was going to be a bit different.

In Manhattan, there are lots of signs written in Chinese, fabulous authentic Chinese restaurants (not American Chinese, either – the real deal). There were a few ladies who ran tents with pretty bags hanging inside. The Chinatown in KL was nothing like the Chinatown in NY.

In this Chinatown, we were greeted from the second we each had one foot out of the cab. We were approached by several young men right off the bat who immediately inquired about what we were looking for. “CD? DVD?” “Handbags! Handbags!”

The truth is that we had no idea what we were looking for. We had not even had a second to take a look around and just experience our surroundings. But we quickly learned that we had to move, so we just walked on.

From every booth we passed, someone inside came out and yelled in our ears, “Handbags! Hermes! Gucci! Prada! We have. Which one you like?” “CD, DVD.” “Watches, wallets…” OMG! I get it!

The first section was  very open. There were some shops on either side of the two-lane road and a line of tents were set up in front of the shops on the street. Before we were event halfway through the first section, Paul and I started joking about how we needed to know a language other than English because everyone here obviously spoke our language.

The next time he was approached, which was, of course, about four steps later, he started spattering out German 101.

“Sprechen sie Deutsch?” Paul asked.

“CD? DVD?” the street guy pressed on.



I just walked away. Obviously this guy had no idea but, then again, that was the point. So I just pretended that I did not understand English until I found a tent worth looking into. I am happy to say that my approach worked quite well. The vendors may have thought I was rude by not responding to anything they yelled at me, but I just continued to walk, not make eye contact and just act like I had no idea what anyone was saying. Like a charm.

The back section of the street was much more crowded than the former. In addition to the shops on either side of the street and then tents in front of the shops on the street, there were two more rows of shops back to back in the middle of the street.

Walking through tiny pathway reminded me of walking through Little India – there is enough for one person and one person only to make his or her way down the tunnel-like corridor. Once we made it down the block, that was it. We looked out and saw nothing but dark streets and dark buildings on three sides.

We were interested in a couple of items and, I have to say, I was quite surprised by Paul’s desire to drop some cash in Chinatown. He was haggling so crazily that I was embarrassed to stand next to him but he came out on top every time. The one time I tried to negotiate, I left the tent empty handed. It was fine, though, because I really did not want the item – I just seemed to like it because it was there and not $15,000. We quickly realized that it seemed as if we were spending the money just to spend the money, so we quickly lost interest in a few things.

We did come out with two new umbrellas and a couple Christmas gifts (ssshhh). All in all it was a pretty good experience but I can say with certainty that one trip to a Chinatown like this one is enough for me.

Wednesday morning, we awoke and took our time with breakfast. I packed up and headed off to the airport in my ironically overpriced-yet-falling-apart taxicab. I had never been so excited to get on a plane and get back to Singapore. Kuala Lumpur was OK. I am glad that I made the trip but I have no desire to return anytime soon. When I returned to Singapore that afternoon, I knew I had a big day ahead of me but I was excited for my upcoming favorite holiday and my first Singaporean Thanksgiving.

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