Malaysia Chapt 2

Email to friends. 07/01/2009

So, after enjoying Southern Thailand, we crossed over the border into Malaysia.
The first thing you notice about Malaysia is that the different ethnicities that constitute the country are still pretty separate and distinguishable: Malay, Indian, Chinese and Arab, with lots of remnants of European influence, particularly English. This probably comes from the fact that Malaysia didn't become a unified state until 1963.
But this mix of different cultures is undoubtedly what makes Malaysia so unique and interesting.
Our first city was Penang, a northern city split between the continent and an island, where the small quarters of Georgetown are still a testimony to the outreach of the British Empire not so long ago.
We then headed toward Kuala Lampur, with its vibrant life and impressive Petronas twin towers. You have to get your tickets very early in the morning to be able to go up the towers. The crowd is constant.
While in Kuala Lampur, I branched off on my own to go see the Batu caves, north of the city. I had seen pictures that had left a mark in my mind, but nothing can replace being there in person. The giant statue at the entrance of the cave, the light, the scale, everything there was so haunting and surreal. Absolutely amazing.
After a few days of craze in the capital city, we needed a bit of rest, which we found in the small resort of Port Dickson, further South. Not much to see there, except the thick back jungle, and the resort was almost empty, due to low touristic season. It was fun and restful.
The next stop was the town of Melaka, that displayed the same blend of cultures and the same European influence shared by most coastal cities. With its picturesque downtown river and street markets, it reminded me a lot of Yangshuo in China, last year.
Finally, we crossed another border to enter Singapore. I had heard many different things about Singapore, both good and bad. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The city felt like it is still economically booming, but they are also pushing hard the entertainment aspect. I took the giant Singapore Flyer -a spinning wheel that is 90 feet wider than the one in London- to be able to see everything from far above. And what a sight.
The sleek modern architecture developing around bodies of water, contrasting with the lush and carefully designed vegetation looked awesome. Their colorful and trendy Chinatown (many areas have been renovated and it harbors now many clubs, cafes and bars).
And that was the location that concluded our adventures.

I am now back in LA, filled with renewed energy to readjust to normal life...until the next trip :)
Here is the link to the new pictures:

I had promised a little movie, but the editing is taking for ever, so, hopefully, it will be ready soon.
I will see all of you again very soon.
Meanwhile, enjoy the summer.