Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 22: Kuala Lumpur Day 2

We set our alarm for 7:45 a.m. but the cloud bed conspired against us and wouldn't allow us to leave until 11. This bed is glorious! Every minute spent in it is a minute NOT wasted.

A touristy hop-on, hop-off bus conveniently had a stop right outside our hotel, and having luck with these in the past, thought it would be a wise investment to drop 38 ringget (12 USD) per person for a day of transport and touristing. What we didn't know is that one of their buses was broken down so there was a grand total of 2 tourist buses circling the entire city. We had to wait ridiculous amounts of time for the next bus to pick us up. Boo!

One of the first stops on the tour dropped us off at another mall food court, or "heritage food village" as they call it. This time we each made it through 2.5 meals before throwing in the towel. Trust me, there ain't no Panda Express at these food courts. The place was absolutely packed with locals eating different types of cuisine around lunch time.

We visited a grocery store which was disproportionately fun for me. They had so much American stuff! Campbell's soup, Keebler cookies and Ruffles chips to name a few. I saw stuff that I had forgotten even existed. I could really see myself living here someday, in part because of the availability of all these sweet American goods!

Our next stop on the bus was Chinatown, which had stalls and stalls of counterfeit designer goods, mostly handbags. We didn't stay long because we knew we had to make the next bus otherwise we'd be waiting quite a while for the next one. We stopped at the royal palace, but tourists aren't allowed onto the grounds so we could only look at it through the gates.

This isn't common knowledge but Marv is a huge bird nerd. Meaning his interest in birds is borderline unhealthy. Thus, when I saw that the KL Bird Park was one of the bus stops I knew I had no choice but to go to the "open air aviary". That means it's a giant open park with nets high above it, which allows the birds to fly around freely. We even made one of the twice-daily bird shows, where birds did tricks to entertain the crowd. This is a cool picture of a bird flying through a hoop, dangerously close to us. I was terrified I'd get crapped on at some point, luckily all the pooping I saw was done on the ground.

At this point we were ready to get back on the tour bus and go back to our hotel but traffic was at an absolute stand still, it would have taken us well over an hour to get back to the area of town where we needed to be. So the minute we saw a public transit station we jumped ship and got on there instead. It was packed in there because people were heading for Friday evening prayers but at least we got back in a reasonable amount of time. That tourist bus was a gigantic bust for the amount we paid.

Marv had read about a very popular-with-the-locals-and-tourists alike restaurant, Madam Kwans, that happened to be next to our hotel so we stopped by there on the way home to make reservations for later that evening. With all the cheap, good "street" stall food available we figure we'll hit up only one real restaurant during our stay.

By the time dinner rolled around I was going through major red wine withdrawals. It's been at least 3 weeks since I've had any, and I love my red wine (all wine, really) passionately. When we got to the restaurant and saw only beer on the menu, and no wine on any tables, I was ready to suck the alcohol out of my stick of deodorant. I've had tons of beer on this holiday but it's just not cutting it anymore. I was BEYOND thrilled when they did have a wine menu, and immediately cracked into my bottle of Cabernet Merlot as soon as it hit the table. It was SO GOOD!

Marv insisted we order the fish head curry, which is a main course to be shared between 2-3 people. And let's be honest, we have the appetite of at least 4 people. I am a fish lover but was leery about the "head" part. Thankfully it came with a lot more fish meat than just a creepy head. It was really good, as were the chicken and beef satay with peanut sauce, which is another popular local delicacy we had to try. But the shining star of the meal for me was the wine. I drank 3/4 of it and would have easily drank double that given the chance. I love my wine!

After dinner we went back to the cloud bed in our hotel room to rest up for an early start tomorrow. Hopefully for real this time.

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