KUL - Kuala Lumpur

We can sleep on the plane on the way home in two weeks! 

After getting to our hotel room at 2am, finally taking a shower and cleaning the plane-grime off, we decided on getting just a wink of sleep and being up by 8am to start exploring Kuala Lumpur. While Dyann was responsible for all travel arrangements, I was responsible for the activity itinerary in KL, and boy do I have a full list of things to do and see. All in all we have today and then a day and half on the back end to explore KL. Not much time, so I had to keep the list tight and realistic. I mean this is a vacation for God's sake, and we don't want to exhaust ourselves. 

 

 Salt Roasted Duck at SZE NGAN CHYE

Salt Roasted Duck at SZE NGAN CHYE

First things first. We have to get to Petaling Street (Chinatown) to have the Crispy Salt Roasted Duck at Sze Ngan Chye. A tiny food cart in the heart of Chinatown. This little cart has been serving the awesome duck for over 50 years. That's all she makes. And she sells out daily, so get there early if you want one. Hard to believe that I (we, Dyann had a couple of bites) got a half of a duck for only about $6 US. Frickin' amazing.  

 

 

 Petaling Street, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

Petaling Street, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a confluence of Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Malay culture. Each culture having a section of the City to itself, and everywhere else an amalgamation of the four come together. Chinatown in KL is chaotic, bustling, loud and the aromas of fresh cooked food arrest your senses. You can buy anything here, but Dyann and I decided to not shop today, and come back on the way out of town (I'm already imagining having to buy two more suitcases for the trip home). 

 

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Tea caught our eye and we had to stop. Hot tea that relieves body heat, a dichotomy for sure, but hell, we had to give it a try. The bowl of tea was steaming hot with deep aromas of charcoal and herbs, the first sip was bitter and biting, but as we drank more the herbal and floral notes came out and you could feel the heat escape your body. 

 

 Giant Dragon Tea Kettles on Petaling Street

Giant Dragon Tea Kettles on Petaling Street

Ambling back to our hotel for the next adventure, hunger struck. That rumbling in the stomach matched by the smells of cooking street food making my mouth salivate like Pavlov's dog. Dyann turned to me and said, "I'm hungry," and that's all I needed to find our next stop, a Ramen cart.  

 

Just off Petaling street there is a pod of food vendors encircling a seating area that had everything from rice and curry to fresh ramen and beef tendon. Oh yeah, we found our 'second breakfast.' It took a little bumbling around on my part to figure out the custom on how to get fed, so let me save you some confusion. Do not order your food first at the cart, they will think you want it to go and pack your soup in a plastic bag (how do you eat ramen soup from a bag?).  

1) Find a table. Don't be afraid to sit with strangers, but ask first. 

2) One of the plethora of rapidly moving servers will come to you for your order. Be ready and know what you want. Everyone speaks pretty good English. And there are different servers for drinks versus food. A cup of warm water costs about $0.40 Ringat, or 10 cents US.  

3) Wait and chat with your table mates. We met a wonderful young woman who just had twins and needed her ramen fix. She told us this was the best ramen cart in town and we would be thankful we stopped.  

4) Ramen is delivered. Add the chili paste (you won't regret it) and begin to slurp your way to euphoria. 

 

 Dyann loving the first steamy noodles

Dyann loving the first steamy noodles

A quick freshen up back at the hotel. Grab the missing camera batteries, and we are off again to the Batu Caves. A sight not to be missed as I have been told, so here we go. Being vigilant about time (it's noon already) we opt to take a Grab Car (like Uber, but faster) instead of the train. 30 minutes later and a couple of wrong turns (my fault, I put in the wrong location) and we were there.  

 

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It's hot.

It's humid.

And it's crowded.

But Holy Crap, is that a giant statue. The Batu Caves are a Hindu temple created inside giant limestone caves on the side of a mountain in the Gombak district outside of KL. While I can go just about anywhere in shorts and a t-shirt, Dyann had to rent a sarong to cover herself up. Slowly ascending what seemed like a million stairs (no ADA access in this joint) we were merrily entertained by lots of cheeky monkeys. One would pose ever so cutely while his compatriot would attempt to steal your food. They are quite organized. The Monkey Mafia. 

 

 A member of the Monkey Mafia pontificating to us

A member of the Monkey Mafia pontificating to us

After about 15 minutes of wandering the main and upper cave, it's time to go. Sweat rolling down both of our faces and jet lag finally starting to hit us, we need some rest. But first we have to go back down! Dyann dubbed the Batu Caves "the #selfieinjurycapitaloftheworld ". Every couple of steps someone would stop and take a selfie. 

Another Grab Car, and back to the hotel for a little rest before High Tea.  

Jet lag hitting us like a sack of cinder blocks. We make it through a lovely High Tea in the club lounge at the Majestic and go back to the room for another nap. Opted to eat in the hotel dining room and slightly underwhelmed by the offering. The best part was the all-you-can-drink wine bar for $70 Ringat, or about $15 US.  

Time for sleep. We've got to be up at 2:30am to catch our bus!