Wandering the old town

On my first full day in KL since 1967, I headed out by foot. I chose to wear my runners, but initially I saw some westerners and then many other people wearing thongs, so on all my later walks I wore thongs. As is always, people who give advice move way too far over to the conservative side. Perhaps it is some kind of illness. Unfortunately the new version of aperture I have not worked out how to geotag my photos en-mass and hence only a few are geotagged. (Index of all images.)

I headed down Jalan Sultan Ismail, a street I would use every day of my visit. I walked under the monorail, back the way I had come, though on the monorail, the night before. My hotel was located on the boundary of a district that is being upgraded and one that is probably still the same as it was back in the 1960’s.

Turning to the right I headed south. Here I left the fancy car shops and entered a world more normal of everyday people. There was a great, well patronised cafe, that I decided to visit later. However, when later came it was raining, and then I always had other places to see, so in the end I never made it there.

I saw some interesting looking old ruins down a side street and decided to venture down there. There was an old set of terrace houses, not dissimilar to many that I have lived in in Melbourne apart from the fact that they were falling down and the read of some restauran’s where people were preparing food.

I was quite pleased to see some graffiti. Though I have to say that I do not understand this one. Perhaps there is some context I need to know to understand it.

I was only loosely following the path in my guide book. Next I came to a river and the City Forest park. I did not go into the park. I just went up to it and then returned as my route led away from the park.

On my way back I came across this water filtration machine. I guess that it takes tap water and filters it (very many ways of filtering, though I was reading it in a language I do not know).  I think you bring your own water container and fill it up. Unfortunately there were no people there using it for me to observe it in operation.

I was trying hard to get one of these men on a motorbike, though my lens was the wrong one for this type of shot.

I now went through an area with some reconstruction going on with new apartment blocks. There was also my first petrol station, an Esso and cinema.

I now entered the little India. Though I think the Indians had mostly moved else where.

Seeing a shop called Bata reminded me of my old bata scouts I used to wear at school, though this was not a shoe shop. Later I did see a bata shop that sold shoes.

I found the people here in Little India to be the most friendly of my trip in KL. They were smiling, relaxed and happy. I took many photos and this pleased them. I was impressed by the vibrancy of the fabrics and the wonderful patterns. Even for traditional clothes and was reminded of Jakarta, that I visited such a long time ago. Though they have taken sexiness to a new level beyond the plain whites in Jakarta. I loved the scarf worn with a short skirt and thongs.

At the end of the Little India there were a few brick mosques.

I now started to enter a world full of Indians. Though technically I was in the beginning of China Town. Bollywood music blasted out of the shop, the noise and tempo picked up as I moved along the streets. There were busy people going places.

Next was a major transit point of the elevated LTR railway.

I now came to what I would guess is one of the main mosques of KL – (Masid Jamek). It is located on the inside shore of where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet. The Klang River is the one I had been following As I was wearing shorts and t-shirt I did not go into any of these establishments. I guess when they change the dress code I will go in one day.

Back into China Town. There were many old 19th century buildings. Some nicely painted. I sometimes think that cities like KL would look much nicer if they spent more on the upkeep of the appearance of their buildings. I guess this will come with time and increased wealth.

I came back to the river again. Here there was a car park with some art on the walls. Later when I passed back this way, a group of people had set up a table to charge the people parking in the car park that appeared to be called “the Super Sunday”. While I was there the first time two cars drove in, made half hearted attempts to park in spots that were plenty big enough and then drove off. Maybe I scared them away.

I now entered the old Colonial District with it old grand buildings. The people changed again. Now there were buses, new fancy buses. The average person was now American, middle aged or later and clearly wealthy. The locals were confined to the margins and the little nooks out the back. I wonder if Americans always take up so much space. The road was blocked off, though workers were starting to dismantle the barriers. There were many people returning on wheel chairs, so I wondered if they had had a wheel chair race.

While I was taking a photo of this couple I could hear someone say, nyet, nyet, neyt! and then a burst of what was clearly bei jing accented chinese. Whatever she was complaining about, it was clearly making her unhappy and whoever it was should have to stop.

I now headed back into china town proper, the part that is full of Chinese. The hustle decreased from the Indian part, but the bustle increased. The Chinese appear to have more wealth, they have shopping streets and they are much more influenced by the west. Though I found the business, and only business attitude a bit impersonal. I guess that to them I just look like a long haired foreigner.

Food was every where. I had a few tea drinks. I was taking a little while to adjust to the locality and had temporarily lost my appetite.

I tried to eat at this next place. But they totally ignored me. It was like I was a ghost. They walked around as if I simply did not exist. After a little while there seemed to be someone who left with out paying which caused a bit of excitement, so I left.

I continued south. Past shops selling flowers and lanterns, past shops selling paper products to be given at the local temple.

Before I came to the first temple was Chan She Shu Yuen. I think this is a toist one.

The second was the Buddhist, Guan Yin temple.

At least with these temples I could enter by wearing less. I had to take off my shoes. I now came back to the monorail. I was starting to feel a bit weary, so I hopped on the monorail and headed back to my hotel. I have to say that I am a fan of the monorail.

About half way along the journey the Canadians got on my train. They noted that I was there and I that they were there. There were four of them. I am not sure if it was always the same four or if it was several groups of 4. Canadians all wearing the same red t-shirts. Canadians with blue clip boards. Canadians answering questions about some local place or something similar. I had first seen them at a mosque when they had jogged past to stop 100 meters away, do some exercises and answer their questions. I last saw them on the monorail heading, like myself, home.

At the monorail station at Medan Tuanku, I was unable to get out. I had walked in without checking my ticket in the machine. So it would not let me out. The guard put the machine through on the in-side and then it would work on the out-side. I bought a strange drink from the nice Indian woman at the shop. It was a malt drink in a bottle which had as strange taste, but it also provided quite a lift. While I was drinking it, I head the familiar sound of symbols, drums and fire crackers. The woman motioned that I should go to the source of the sound. So I did. I found that there was a lion dance at the Sheraton hotel

I then headed back to my hotel.

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