We had a month or so of free time while we left our camper with OEV for some final warranty work to be done prior to us heading south towards Central and South America. Our Malaysian friends Bobby and Karen who live in Kuala Lumpur (KL) had invited us back to Malaysia many times over the years, but life (kids, work other priorities) as it does, got in the way, but this time everything fell into place to do this trip.
We found reasonable flights with good connections, and booked them. Catherine could only visit for four weeks due to a commitment to take her mother to Ottawa to visit with her two sisters (one from California, the other lives in Ottawa). Stewart booked to stay for 7 weeks.
We left mid morning on a Saturday and arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as 1am Monday morning. We had indented to book into a hotel for the night but Bobby insisted on picking us up at that ungodly hour.
Next morning, we went into KL as Bobby had some business to take care of. The city skyline has changed so much since we left, high-rises have been built in the hundreds and continue to be built.
Bobby and Karen were heading out to their organic farm/eco resort they are in the process of developing for a couple of days before Bobby had to head to Australia on business. We tagged along with them for a few quite days while we recovered from jet-lag. Bobby has done a good job of developing his farm to produce Durian, Banana’s, young coconuts, dragon fruit, Papaya, mangos, dragon eye and others. Their ponds are stocked with Catfish, Tilapia, Perch and a few other species of fish.
We went back to KL for the weekend so Bobby could catch his flight to Australia. Whereupon Stewart was then promoted to driver as Karen does not drive. We headed back to the farm for a few days. While there we went to Bentong for shopping at the market, some meals and the bank for some Ringgits (local currency).
We took a day to go to Genting Highlands, the road to Genting is a winding climb up to top; this is a Las Vegas like area but is located in the jungle at an elevation of 5000ft/1525M. At this elevation we were socked in with clouds and some rain.
There was also a winter wonderland room where people could experience cold weather and snow, they provided visitors with down-filled coats for entry.
We then stopped at the Chin Swee Temple located down the highway from Genting.
After spending a few days out at the farm, we left Karen there and travelled back to KL to greet Bobby upon his return from OZ. Next day Bobby drove back to the farm and we stayed in KL to do some touristy stuff visiting the Central Market, Chinatown and Little India amongst others things.
Petaling Street was not enclosed when we were here last, the stalls would be set up and taken down every evening.
It was hot this day, so had to stop for a local refreshment:
We had to sample the local Indian food:
We also visited some of the local landmarks:
While we were in KL Bobby’s old school friend Jimmy who Stewart had met when he working in Malaysia back in 2000 arranged to pick us up. He took us first to see the Sultans New Palace:
From here we continued to Batu Caves. ‘Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu, which flows past the hill. It is the tenth limestone hill from Ampang’ (Wikipedia). They Caves were under restoration while we were there. When we paid to enter they asked if we were able to carry a bucket of sand to the top of the stairs for the restoration project, which of coarse we did.
A few days later Jimmy and his wife Kris picked us up in the evening where we all went to Marini’s on 57. The is a lounge located on the 57th floor in a building next to the Petronas Twin Towers. We had a few drinks and something to eat while taking in the views, and generally had a good time.
‘The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers (Malay: Menara Petronas, or Menara Berkembar Petronas), are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. The buildings are a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower.’ (Wikipedia)
While in KL we booked a week in Penang and we left at this time, we will do a separate post for Penang.
Upon our return from Penang we spent some time Bobby & Karen
Before Bobby & Karen returned to the farm, we met up with Stephen & Stephanie (who Bobby had some business with), we all went for lunch at Nam Heong where they have robotic waiters which bring your food after ordering.
After Bobby & Karen went back to the farm for a couple of days Gordon (Bobby’s Godson) called by and asked if we would like to attend a tea fair.
We knew tea was a large part of life in Asia but had no idea that tea and wine had similar qualities. It was interesting to find out tea like wine actually improves with age if stored correctly, and the tea taste varied just like wine depending upon the location where it is grown. Some of the tea we sampled was 50 years old, when originally purchased would have cost $50 but today was worth $500. We learnt some new tricks on how to make better tea, also found out what we were doing wrong when we made our own tea in the past. At the fair there were all kinds of tea making paraphernalia.
By this time Catherine was due to fly back to Canada for her trip to Ottawa.
Once Catherine had left Bobby, Karen & Stewart all went back to the farm, by this time it was Durian season.
‘The durian (/ˈdjʊəriən, ˈdʊr-, -æn/) is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio. There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit, with over 100 named varieties in Indonesia, 300 in Thailand and 100 in Malaysia. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions.
Regarded by many people in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered rind. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance, whereas others find the aroma overpowering with an unpleasant odour. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The persistence of its odour, which may linger for several days, has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia. By contrast, the nineteenth-century British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet desserts in southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.’ (Wikipedia)
This fruit is ready for consumption when it falls from the tree, by this time the fruit give of an odor, most people of European decent are quite repulsed by this smell. When we were prior in Malaysia we could be driving down the road then there was a funny smell and sure enough away down the road there stood a durian stand.
Stewart, by this time had become immune to the smell, the look and texture is like scrambled eggs, the “acquired” taste is quite sweet. Every other day Bobby and Stewart would load up Bobby’s pick-up and drive back into KL to sell the Durian and other fruits when ripe. Stewart became quite the celebrity as the “Matt Salleh” (white guy) selling Durian, it was a lot of fun!
Bobby & Karen, thanks again for hosting us, until next time, take care and good luck with the future opening of the resort side of your venture.