One of these is the side of a gorgeous modern shopping mall in the main expat and shopping district in town; the other is the back view of an old (the old? the oldest? I didn’t have a guide book…I didn’t take my tourist reponsibilties very seriously, so sorry…) mosque downtown, close to Merdeka Square, about which see more below. 🙂
The Sultan Abdul Samad building, according to our corres-pondents here at so much world, so little time, is the most photo-graphed building in Malaysia. So why should so much world, so little time be an exception?! This lovely little building was once the home of the British colonial administration and now houses, if I recall correctly, court offices. It’s across the street from Inde-pendence Square, aka Merdeka Square – home of the world’s largest flagpole, about which more later. (Are you sensing a trend here in KL?) Part of what I found so delightful about KL, to be honest, is its scale: it’s not too big, not too small. True, it lacks the extra- ordinarily vibrant street life of Bangkok or Beijing, but frankly after a year in Beijing and 17 months of China’s vibrant streets, I rather welcomed the change: KL is vibrant and multi-cultural in ways that are new to me; waking to the sound of the morning call to prayer is something I’ve not done since a week spent in Jerusalem nearly 20 years ago. There are streets full of Indian spice shops and vendors, and others full of Chinese shops and vendors. Then there are the ultra-modern ultra-chic malls peopled by anything from tight mini-skirt toting sales girls promoting Mentos to more traditional muslim families with women in full burka; and, of course, everything in between with a healthy spattering of us pasty-faced travelers, tourists and expats.
I’d decided to really treat myself to a nice hotel in KL, and I hit it dead on with the Hotel Maya. This is the staircase next to the sweet little restaurant that served the morning buffet breakfast – the whole hotel has this awesome open-column architecture, and sadly I never found time to take a shot of the pool or spa, which sort of float above the central column in the middle of the hotel.
Size, it would appear, does matter. KL is proud to boast, at Merdeka Square, the world’s tallest flag pole in the spot where, 49 years ago this August 31, the flag of an independent Malaysia was raised for the first time.