Sunday, September 23, 2007

20 September 2007: Petronas Twin Towers

Today we drove into KL again, this time with Jing Wey in tow. We headed straight for the KLCC parking garage, which is located under the Petronas Twin Towers. I thought to myself, as we drove under the bustling office and shopping development, that this could never exist in the US, especially post-911, but even before that I think. The bottom 4 floors or so of the towers are an upscale mall called Suria KLCC. We had a delicious lunch at Madame Kwan’s there. I had flat rice noodles with greens (didn’t realize how much I’d missed them in India!) and egg and some other veggies. To drink, I enjoyed an iced black jelly. For dessert, we split a Malaysian specialty: crushed ice topped with rose syrup sitting over a mixture of red beans, black jelly, and some other items I couldn’t identify. Very cooling and refreshing! Then we went outside for a look at the towers. On the other side of the building is the concert hall for the Petronas Philharmonic Orchestra. As I understand it, Petronas is a private oil company that is connected to the government (owned by a minister, I believe).

Next we drove to the Crafts Complex for a view of traditional Malaysian crafts. By then it was time for Jing Wey’s nap, so we hit the road. We’d planned to stop by the Eye on Malaysia, the brand new ferris wheel which is the largest in Asia. But traffic was really crazy, so we kept on going.

Traffic is evidently especially bad now because it is Ramadan. Malaysia being a Muslim country (about 60%), the majority of people are fasting during daylight hours, so they all leave work around 5:30 in order to be able to pick up some food and be home to eat by the time the sun sets.

Later in the evening, we went out to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in Klang. Evidently, Chinese veg restaurants (the ones with the fake meat) are usually Taiwanese because Buddhists in Taiwan are veg (compared to Chinese who just try to avoid beef). Afterwards, Chih-Pei’s husband Kee-Keat (“take the candy bar KitKat and remove the first t”) drove around Klang, pointing out areas of interest, including schools he and Chih-Pei attended, the former location of his grandfather’s rubber business, the McDonalds where they had their first date, etc. On the way home, we tried to find some durian fruit for me to try (you either love it or hate it), but alas it is out of season. Instead we picked up some lognan and lonkat fruits.

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