– JULY 07-09, 2015
We have reached Malaysia after a detour through Singapore. Specifically, we have arrived in Kuala Lumpur. This is a pretty modern city with a heavy emphasis on technology, but truly lies somewhere between Bali and Singapore in its development (image Winnipeg if you will…ha!). There is one major architectural jewel in Kuala Lumpur, but more on the Petronas Twin Towers in the next post.
The transportation system here is quite well designed and easy to work through, but the people seem to truly hate life. Every single person we have dealt with in the customer service industry in Kuala Lumpur has acted as though they hate their own very existence. If they acted like this in Canada then they would be fired so fast it would make your head spin.
We are trying to keep negativity off this blog, but sometimes certain aspects can be overwhelming. The people of Indonesia had virtually nothing, but they smiled and enjoyed being alive. The people in Kuala Lumpur have more infrastructure and social development than those in Indonesia, but finding a smile on these people is harder than finding flaws in the Dark Knight movie. For example, we were in line at the train ticket booth and a couple in front of us asked for two tickets to Imbi station and the transaction of money exchanged for paper tickets took place. We stepped up next and said “We also need two tickets to Imbi station please” and we got only a mean scowl and a reply of “You can use the ticket machine down the hallway“. Yeah.
Another example is at the airport when we went to buy sim cards for our unlocked phones. The not even close to busy lady working there ignored Jill for about 5 minutes (bags were not allowed in the store, so I waited outside with our bags) and when she finally acknowledged Jill was there she took Jill’s phone, inserted the card, hit a bunch of keys, then handed it back and said “You done, go away and pay“. Jill came out to me and said “Okay…she did something to this phone and I don’t know what we ended up with or how long it is good, but apparently she thinks we are done.” We went back in and asked what the phone plans were. The lady grabbed my phone, hit a bunch of keys, then shoved it in my face while saying “One Gigabyte on screen, now you go away“. She didn’t answer any of our questions, but the phones worked. She was more than happy to get into detail with a person from there though…but not us.
A cab driver told us that many years ago there was British rule of Malaysia and they imported Asian and Indian people to work with deceit of the promise of gardening jobs, but when they arrived the gardening job was actually cutting down the jungle so they could make the beginnings of a city. Since then, the cab driver explained, they have not trusted the white man in Malaysia.
A third example is at a street food vendor where we wanted to buy lunch. In Indonesia, if you stop at a vendor’s cart they will greet you, ask where you are from, then explain what they want to sell you…and always with a smile. A fake smile sometimes, but with a smile. Here the people seem like they want nothing to do with our money. We stopped at a street food vendor’s cart and saw some sesame balls (which always have various flavors of stuffing inside). We asked what flavors this lady was selling, but she stared at her newspaper and let out a puff of breath at us. We asked again and she rolled her eyes, yelled something at us, turned her head away (while still yelling), then went back to her paper. We pointed to the balls and said that we wanted to buy some, but she stared at us like we just kicked Buddha in the shin! She spoke English, but there was no way she was going to exchange her sesame balls for our money. We promptly left and the next person (a local I might add) was served immediately in english.
Now that was shocking to hear, but to be fair this has not been the case all throughout Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur though has been very clear to us that we are not welcome. That really sucks, because we like Kuala Lumpur but the people are making it tough.
One of the major city sights is the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple, which is free to visitors (but you need to take your shoes off first). Its a tiny front façade in the KL Chinatown, but the interior extends inward for a larger prayer chamber.
Now for some discussion on the food. There is a famous street in KL (Kuala Lumpur) named Jalan Alor Food Street. Here they fill the street with plastic chairs and tables and you can find pretty much any kind of food for dirt cheap prices. They will cook it right there in front of you, then you can enjoy the delicious cuisine while people watching. Its a cool place for sure, and we had no trouble getting served here (although we still received more than a few dirty looks).
After rice and noodles for every darn meal, we turned our attention to something more like home. Jill had a salad and I had a delicious lamb burger with the American streaky bacon.
The food here has been great and the architecture has been impressive. If only the people would cheer up and understand that Canada never did anything to them and we just want to spend our money! In business the colour green is the colour green man, so buck up and be happy we are spending our ringgit in your country. I’ll gladly take their money back in Canada.
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.