I arrived back in the UK on Saturday. South-east Asia is a lovely place to go, but those flights are killers. 24 hours of transit and travel, including 13 hours of actual flying, wiped me out such that I am only just getting back to normal now. At least there was a benefit to the travel: I am a "silver" level frequent flyer now. Here's to gold by this time next year...
So, as I have said, Kuala Lumpur was its usual lovely self. Chinatown at night is awesome: a mad hustle of locals eating and shopping, tourists wandering around bewildered, a cacophony of light, noise and smell. One of the main differences between the "West" and "East" is the way that places come alive at night. Not just on the grand and awesome scale of places like KL, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, but in the smaller places like the small town (Sungai Pelek
) where I have stayed with the family of my Malaysian friend. In Asia, everyone seems to come out of the woodwork after sunset: in certain areas the streets are packed, with street food, shopping, and general bustle. This could never work in Europe: temperatures of at least 20C and cold beer add massively to the atmosphere. Travel in Europe is one thing, full of history, subtlety, and famous names and places; traveling to Asia can be like landing on another planet. The sights and sounds are often completely alien, the food is (generally) astonishing, the people are (again, generally) incredibly welcoming, and the prices (compared to Eirope) are very low. In other woeds, I strongly recommend a trip to Asia as soon as you get the chance; I can't wait to have a go at Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing.
The week in KL cemented my opinions on one thing: the Petronas Towers. Niall wrote an excellent post
about the new wonders of the world
, and whilst I am unconvinced some of them (Taj Mahal, Christ in Rio) should be on the list, I am now convinced that this remarkable sight should be. I have been to many of the great cities of the world, and have seen some of the major buildings of the world: the Hong Kong harbour front
, Empire State Building, Pyramids, and Eiffel Tower all spring to mind. But none of them (save for the beautiful Empire State Building) have made the lasting impression that the Petronas Towers have: sure, the first time you see the Pyramids or Eiffel Tower it's a "wow!" moment; when you are in KL you lose your breath every time you catch a glimpse of the buildings. To me, they are like a drug: the amount of time that you have is never enough to look at them. I am not being a crazy man here, either: I have discussed this with several people who agree that these towers are utterly breathtaking. Besides the architecture, the buildings also symbolise the birth of a modern, thriving nation in Malaysia. Suffice to say, I quite like the buildings, and would put them as my number one in the world.
So tomorrow it's back to work and back to planning for my move. It's not long now...
PS pictures of the trip here
Labels: malaysia, travel