Updated: Sep 4, 2019
"If you're not lost, you're not much of an explorer"... Using that reasoning, move over Dora, the Halls have arrived.
So we've made it to our second destination, Kuala Lumpur (KL), and it's truly an astonishing place. The first day walking around the city was awe inspiring. I think the human mind tries to find comparisons when discovering new things, and we all tried - and failed. We've seen lots of cities, but never one like this.
The city is big (1.8 million people) and bustling. Like any major city, it's congested, loud, and under perpetual construction. But it's also different from other cities in the same regard. There are elevated trains, free city buses, subways, and elevated air conditioned pedestrian walkways, so it feels way less congested than a city of equal size might feel. Getting around is a sinch. Our days of playing human Frogger in Thailand are over - a big relief for overly cautious Josie. Truth be told, we were all a little frazzled by the roads in Thailand.
The parts of the city that we've explored in our first few days have been clean, modern, and really beautiful. When we say it's like nothing we've seen before, we mean this place looks like it's been meticulously placed in the middle of a lush jungle. Every aspect of this city seems well planned, and harmonious with its surroundings, be it nature, public transportation, or general accessibility. For a family who's prefered mode of transport is our feet, this city is a dream.
"Mega-Malls" are a thing here. They are massive, plentiful and blowing Josie's mind. Every shop you can imagine, and some you can't - all somehow connected with air conditioned walkways. It gets really hot here, so this infrastructure was designed to keep the city going in times of oppressive heat waves. There is a 10 floor mall within walking distance of our flat that has a full sized roller coaster built into it - on the 5th floor! It feels like developers of these places are in a race to out-absurd each other.
We are staying on the 42nd floor in a clean, modern condo (video walkthrough hosted by Josie coming soon). We can't look out the window without getting dizzy. The building has a ton of amenities, a giant rooftop infinity pool, a full gym, a restaurant, co-working spaces, etc. You could make a vacation out of never leaving the condo building.
Culturally, this place is a true melting pot. We were in an elevator up to our flat with about 15 other people, and almost everyone in the lift was a different nationality. Malays, Chinese, Africans, Indians, Japanese and us. We are truly the minority here in every sense of the word. We've only been here for 5 days, but Kuala Lumpur seems to have this mix of cultural diversity figured out to a certain degree, as far as coexisting is concerned. There were a lot more western tourists in Thailand - here, that is not the case.
We've had no issues with language barriers, as English is widely spoken. And people for the most part have been nice enough (for a city of this size). We found a brewery here, and instead of the indifferent hipsters you'd expect to find ignoring your requests for service, the staff were some of the kindest folks we've encountered here so far... and the beer was fantastic!
We found another botanical garden, and again - it was magnificent, but this time there were monitor lizards! The first one we saw had to be over 3 feet long. I chased it into the jungle trying to get a picture (much to April and Josie's chagrin), this pursuit ended like most of my legendary wild animal wrangling - failure, and being chased back out of the jungle by swarms of mosquitoes.
We're off to wear holes in our shoes this afternoon. We'll report back on what we find soon!
Here is a slideshow of what we've seen so far in KL... mostly of the botanical garden. Mostly.