Kuala Lumpur, City of Malls
We realized we’d need to step up our game, when the first roundabout we passed on our Air Asia Skybus harboured a good-sized forest! This sure wasn’t small-town-gone-viral Ubud anymore!
And we gave the city all we had, we truly did. We plodded the streets for hours- at all hours, thumbing our nose at the intractable taxi mafia. We dipped into the retail madness of 1001 chain stores uniformity, and stumbled past endless displays of mass-produced junk, always on the lookout for the unique and the worthwhile
which we found, once again, in the people that crossed our path. The volunteers at the Chinese temple, for example, work in a wide, nondescript hall tucked well out of sight, only a block from the shimmering Petronas Towers
Every day, they help whip up a thoroughly impressive vegetarian feast, that nourishes hundreds of office workers on lunch break, for just a few ringgits. One volunteer I spoke with said she usually spent four hours here- daily! We’ve never seen so many vegetarian dishes in one place, and although we heaped our plate, we didn’t manage to try even half of what was on offer!
And should you ever fall on hard times in KL- breakfast at the temple is free….
To me, the unsung heroes in this booming City of Mammon, are the men in the countless high rise construction crews, all over the city
Working long hours under harshest conditions- searing heat, claustrophobic humidity, unrelenting noise, they’re wiry, hardened and often so self-effacing they seem surprised to even be noticed. Our exchanges were necessarily short, but the smiles and well wishes we received stuck with us long past our brief encounters
The best thing about our brush with KL? We were granted a new two month visa for Indonesia- our open sesame to the myth-enshrouded island of Sumatra.