The sail northwards along the Malaysian coast turned into motoring
for most of the way partly because we were on the tight schedule that the rally
imposes for this first leg and partly due to a lack of suitable anchorages but
mostly because the winds were light north westerlies, the exact direction we
wanted to go in. Weather here is occasionally enlivened by a beefy thunderstorm
but we have yet to experience a close encounter with the centre of one… we
always keep a spare GPS and a lap-top computer in the microwave (our faraday
cage) just in case we experience a direct hit from lightening.
Admiral Marina, Port
Our first stop was at the artificial harbour of Port Dickson close to
Kuala Lumpur. Rather like a luxurious version of Brighton Marina we again had
the use of a private pool. The security was excellent and included uniformed
guards to open and shut the gate for us every time we went onto the
We spent a few days here and the rally included a free tour of Kuala
Lumpur. We went on a Sunday to avoid the traffic snarl ups that are a feature of
this busy city. Our first stop was at a rather wonderful Hindu temple built in
the “Batu Caves”, complete with this massive statue of Lord
We ascended the 272 steps beside him to the caves behind to have our
sins absolved. We followed on with an excellent breakfast of wafer thin giant
roti in an Indian stall made by this man who performed tricks with the stretchy
dough. Never thought chocolate and curry sauce would make a good combination but
indeed it does!
visited an equally fascinating Buddhist temple.
In the grounds there were models representing the animals of the
Chinese calendar associated with the year of one’s birth. I was particularly
pleased by my glowing set of attributes…which I shall quote if I ever apply for
a job again.
Here Lorraine is cuddling up to her friendly
A tower of terrapins at the Buddhist
And a smiling Confucius with his book of sayings.
The rest of our busy morning was spent seeing the sites including the
Royal Guards outside the palace of the Sultans.
And this imposing war memorial in the memorial
The sculptor was apparently the same man who did the more famous
memorial to Iwojima in Washington and was not too good on Asian features so they
ended up looking rather American!
Next was this attractive quarter, one of the many good things the
Brits left behind in this part of the world (including the English language, a
railway network, men in red on horses, driving on the left and
Cricket pitch and mock Tudor club house of the Royal Selangor Club.
These form part of the famous Meredek Square, the heartland of the colonial
past. This is where independence was declared on 31 August 1957. It now hosts a
100 ft flagpole, said to be the highest in the world, flying the Malaysian
The square is surrounded by a host of
beautiful 19th century colonial buildings that blend Victorian and
Moorish architecture. Once housing the British administration and secretariat
now housing a branch of Malaysia’s High Court, a hotel and civic
These attractive civic buildings are now dominated by KL’s brave new
Our final stop was close to the twin towers of one of Asia’s tallest
buildings and duly impressive in a shiny stainless sort of a way. Our guide was
quick to point out that they were not surrounded by slums as depicted in the
film where Sean Connery does improbable things on that bridge.
By now it was lunchtime and we were left to our own devices for the
afternoon. Malaysians, like Singaporeans, have 2 main hobbies … eating and
shopping so we followed suit and went to have a good cheap Chinese meal in a
massive shopping mall before going to look at an electrical shopping centre
which we were told was cheap.
Lorraine’s camera has stopped working so we were interested in
replacing it but even after the expected price negotiation it was no cheaper to
buy here than at home from somewhere like Dixons. It seems odd that there is not
a price differential as they make so much of this stuff in this part of the
world. My guess is that exchange
rates and bulk buying are the things that make UK prices seem good.
The thing that is really cheap here is eating out. A meal can cost as
little as 5 RM (Malaysian Ringgit) or about a pound and the quality is
excellent. I have never liked Chinese restaurant or takeaway food much ….but
this food is nothing like it and is delicious if you avoid some of the more
unusual dishes made from the leftover bits of the farmyard such as chicken’s
feet, pig intestines and other extremities.
Another British legacy is the Lake Gardens, 92 hectares of landscaped
hillside which used the natural landscape and indigenous plants as the setting.
A highlight of the Lake Gardens is the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. We still had
plenty of time left over so we took a taxi to the bird, the largest walk in
aviary in the world with lots of exotic birds and many of them free
We saw storks building their nests, some hatching eggs and others
already feeding their young. Scarlet ibis picked through rocky waterways along
with other busy ibis, peacocks, pelicans and parrots posed and paraded in
colourful displays, the flamingos stood as flamingos do.
All in all we had an excellent day and we dozed our way back in air
conditioned luxury to our smart new marina along the motorway toll roads. As I
suspect I said in our previous log this is definitely not a developing country
any more … or if it is then large parts of the UK need to be in the category
It is hot though…………………and humid..oh yes!