We met in the lounge at 9:30 for our 8-hour Kuala Lampur Exploration tour and were a bit late leaving because the buses were not at the pier when they were supposed to be. There were 4 busloads doing this excursion, but we only had 22 passengers on our bus. The city of Kuala Lampur, commonly known as K.L., is 42 miles east of Port Kelang, where we were docked. It took almost an hour before we made our first stop, a 10-minute photo stop at the Blue Mosque. This was a beautiful building except that we stopped to photograph it from a distance away, at least one-half mile, and behind trees. We told the guide that this was not a good vantage point. She gave us some lame excuse about difficult walkways and our safety. I still don’t know why we couldn’t get up close and take pictures like we did in other locales. Sometimes you get the feeling that the tours, and especially the dialogues, in some of these small Asian countries are preprogrammed a certain way for outsiders.
The National Museum was our next stop. This was divided into ancient, colonial, world wars and modern Malaysia history. We had 40 minutes to see the museum on our own, find the English explanations, go to the restroom, and meet to return to the bus. There were interesting artifacts from thousands of years ago. We learned that, when the Japanese invaded during World War II, they used bicycles to travel the length of the Malay Peninsula and later take over Singapore as well.
Today, as in the last few days in Malaysian ports, the restrooms do not have toilet paper in them. At first, we thought they just ran out, but were told this was their custom, as a hose is provided to clean oneself, but still nothing to dry yourself. As you may imagine, this was not attractive to the proper tourists from our ship. We made a point thereafter to always bring tissues with us. We shared with those who forgot.
From there, we visited the King’s palace and took photos there. We also got to take pictures with the palace guard, who never budged (just like the ones at Buckingham Palace). The yellow flag signified that the King was in residence today and the palace gate was closed.
We had a lovely buffet lunch at the Grand Seasons Hotel and met the other busloads from the Navigator. (This place had toilet paper). After about an hour, we continued to the National Monument, a tribute to those who fought in World War II. The King in the 1990’s had visited Washington and was apparently very impressed by our Iwo Jima memorial. He decided that 7 soldiers, some injured and dead, would be in this sculpture, along with the Malay flag. You may notice the similarity to the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima sculpture here.
The next stop was Independence Square and the former British Royal court with the clock named Little Ben. We also saw the confluence of the two rivers in Kuala Lampur, which is said to be the original site of the settlement beside two muddy rivers. We continued on to the twin towers. They are the tallest twin towers in the world. We pretended to be Spiderman, climbing up the steep sides in a silly moment. Unfortunately, the tour didn’t provide time to go to the top, maybe because high priced reservations need to be made in advance for individuals.
Our final stop was the Central Market, begun in 1888 and still vibrant. We had about 45 minutes to shop here. We did pick up a few things for our grandkids. Mac took a photo of some teenage girls who had just had tattoos painted on their hands and wrists. They said the drawings would last for about 10 days. He took a picture for them as well. We also got to see an interesting tub of fish that eat dead skin off one’s feet. Tickets were sold for 15-minute treatments and only cost a few dollars. I thought about it, but by then we only had a few minutes left before meeting our group.
The return trip to the ship took an hour and we got back a few minutes before six, just in time to grab an empty wine glass from our cabin and go out into the hallway for the “come as you are” block party. We were sweaty and tired, but got to meet our new neighbors. About 8 of us in our corridor had just returned from our tour and never had time to shower or change. It was still fun.
We later showered and got ready for dinner. Since we had a big lunch, we only ordered a few things and sat at a table for 2, so we could eat and run.
Tonight’s show was titled, “Five O’clock Somewhere,” and featured a musical couple, Adam and Tabitha. They played several instruments and sang songs from the 60’s and 70’s. We knew them all.
Tomorrow we will be in Langawi, Malaysia. I will remember my tissues.
Yours in travel,
Pat & Mac