Monday, July 21, 2008

Kuala Lumpur

We spent two days in Kuala Lumpur, a city bridging South East Asia and the Middle East. A prominent shopping destination close to the Arabic peninsula, its restaurants are mostly halal and one frequently encounters women wearing Abaya and Niqāb.

Yet, the city was, well, … boring. It has a small historic center with colonial style buildings whose shops mainly cater to tourists. The houses closely resemble each other and architecture watching got slightly dull after about an hour. The center market and train station provide diversion for another thirty minutes.

In true Singapore style, we turned to the zoological attractions. The bird park claimed to feature the world’s largest covered aviary. True, but most birds inside were kept in separate cages, not flying free. Yet, it was good fun, especially hand-feeding the parrots. Next, we stopped at the butterfly park, with tons of free flying butterflies, terrapin turtles, and humongous Kois. This park was rather small, but ok.

Finally, we made it to the aquarium. After the excellent display in Kenting, my expectations were certainly high. Yet, even for a less refined taste, the KL aquarium was a bit of a let-down. The exhibition was poorly structured; the tanks with piranhas for example were followed by a monkey (!) and various tarantulas. The displays themselves were rather average. Overall, the aquarium resembled somewhat of a rainforest café.

The trip itself was not bad, thanks to the excellent book store in the Petronas Towers, and our room at the Prince Hotel, sporting a great rooftop pool and impeccable cuisine.