Malaysia Part 1 – Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya

After the relatively chilly weather in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur embraced us like a hot stinky-sticky blanket. Our Uber driver from the airport to our hostel was a really nice young guy just finishing up a master’s degree in environmental science. Just two weeks prior, one of his Uber-driver pals had inadvertently served as the get away driver for one of Kim Jong Nam’s assassins and spent 2 days in police custody. Man, KLIA2 (as the airport is called) has some bad luck.

Since I’d spent a few months in KL 4 years ago, I was super excited to show Jeff my old stompin’ grounds. It turns out that Jeff was super not excited for this, and accusations of ‘death marches’ were made. Perhaps fairly. Kuala Lumpur is not a good walking city, and the shortest distance between any two points is always a zig-zag that involves elevated pedestrian overpasses, dodging busses, and jumping over channels of stinky water – all while braving the scorchingly hot and humid environs. As such, we made excellent use of Uber. We explored the Chinatown area of KL, ate lots of good Indian food, and saw the Petronas towers – the tallest twin towers in the world – so basically we did everything there is to do in Kuala Lumpur.

Once we’d exhausted the to-do list in Kuala Lumpur, we made a visit to Putrajaya, the federal administrative center of Malaysia. Putrajaya is a planned city founded in 1999, and is about a 30-minute train ride from KL Sentral train station. My former colleague Ali and his lovely wife Sharifa live in Putrajaya, and graciously drove us around to all sorts of sites in Putrajaya. The city is super, super spread out and diffuse, so without someone to drive you around it just isn’t going to happen. We saw the prime minister’s house, the pink Putra Mosque (my favorite), the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (otherwise called the Iron Mosque, also very cool), and got to eat some of Sharifa’s delicious home made food.

Side-bar: this trip to Putrajaya also resulted in discovering a new favorite food called assam boi; its basically a powder made from dried sour plum, and you can sprinkle it on pineapple. So, so good.

After 4 days exploring KL and Putrajaya, we booked a train north to the town of Ipoh. Stay tuned!!!

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