The tourism slogan for Malaysia is “Malaysia is truly Asia.” And you know what? They’re right – it is! I feel that this country is the most comprehensive “blend” of the various Asia cultures that I’ve seen. First off, this is a Muslim country (and it’s Ramadahan), so you see woman in burkhas everywhere. I thought I’d have to dress more conservatively, but fortunately, there are plenty of Indian woman dressed in saris and western clothing and plenty of Chinese in western clothing as well, so I don’t feel out of place in my tank tops, which is a huge relief considering that it’s REALLY hot here.
Malaysia, in a nutshell, is fantastic. I don’t really know what my expectations were, but aside from Singapore (which I’ve yet to visit) and Hong Kong (I’ve not yet been), it’s definitely the most developed country in south east Asia. The roads are well-maintained, most bathrooms have toilet paper (!!), you can drink the tap water, and it all-in-all is really orderly. Lest I think I’m in a western country, it still definitely has tinges of a developing country, probably especially in the backpacker ghettos that I frequent.
I’ve spent two solid days in Kuala Lumpur, just relaxing, using the internet (a lot), walking around and going up to the skybridge on the Petronas Towers. The pictures are of the Petronas Towers, the worlds’ tallest buildings until Taipei 101 usurped them in 2004. The second picture is a view from the skybridge downwards. I ended up spending a long while in Starbucks for the free wifi. However, I felt obliged to buy a drink, so I bought a Tazo tea for about $3.50, which is what I would spend at home. The sad thing is, that’s what I pay for a night of lodging. But the air-conditioning was a welcomed respite.
My sister is quite wise and says that it takes a week to really settle into being on vacation. I think she’s onto something, because for the first week, I was rushing (well I was hurrying to meet up with my friend Becca), but even after that, it was go-go-go, which is my normal way of traveling. But now, I think I’ve finally achieved a more relaxed pace. I realize that I have more than enough time to do the things I’ve left to do (Sumatra, Bali/Lombok and Borneo) before I head to Nepal, and it’s really relaxing just taking it slow. Tomorrow I’ll head to Melaka before making my way by ferry to the Indonesian island of Sumatra.