This week I have had three of my favourite people in the world come out! My parents arrived on Monday and we've had a jam-packed schedule of activities and travelling before Alex arrived yesterday so we can all spend 9 days together!
Mum has been super organised and has booked hotels all over the place for us to go see different parts of Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Penang and Kuala Selangor. Tomorrow we fly over to the Borneo part of Malaysia for more places to see and to go see orang-utans!
Me at the top of the KL tower, with the Petronas towers in the background.
While we were in Kuala Lumpur (the first time), we took in the sights on an open top bus, headed out to some religious caves (Batu Caves) and we went up the communications tower to get a view of the whole city. KL is a bizarre city: I can't quite out my finger on what makes it feel quite so strange but it might have something g to do with the juxtaposition of huge skyscrapers with run down “South East Asian” style food stalls. Also, to get anywhere by road, you will undoubtably double back on yourself numerous times as the road layouts are utterly nonsensical and consist of loop after loop! Very confusing! In fact, today, Alex and I were getting a taxi back to the hotel and the GPS in the cab started taking us in totally the wrong direction so, of course, I piped up and asked the driver to go a different way…only to find the way I was suggesting was unacheivable because what should have been a simple cross roads was inexplicably a huge one way system that went well out of our way. Whoops! Still, the overall taxi journey only cost the equivalent of £2 so it wasn't too bad!
My parents in the Batu Caves (minutes before dad was accosted by Asians wanting photos with him, and then also getting pooed on by a bird!)
On mum and dad's first night, I took them to Jalan Alor which is a street lined with local food stalls/restaurants and we had stingray and noodles and lots of a Tiger beer. I had been worried that daddy would hate the street food culture but he loved the tastes and has requested we go back there tonight to try one of the other stalls! In fact we've done a lot of eating as Malaysia is known for its food! I'm pretty happy about that fact as you can probably imagine!
Daddy's default position on the coach rides we took.
After 2 nights in KL, we got on a 4 hour bus ride to the Cameron Highlands as mum had booked an amazing place called Ye Olde Smokehouse! It is an English country hotel up in the Malaysian mountains! It's as authentic as you can get, even down to the English garden and cream teas they sell in the afternoons! After 4 months away from home, I was missing some Brit things (including autumnal weather) so it was really really lovely for me to be there and that it was cooler and rainy (due to the altitude) so we could sit by the open fire in the bar during the evening! I even had roast chicken with cranberry sauce and stuffing so it's almost like I had a British Christmas! It was such a lovely idea of mum's and I really appreciated it!
The remnants of our cream teas!
The following morning, we went off to look at a tea plantation which was actually a lot more interesting than I had anticipated. Having seen tea growing quite often over the last few months, I didn't think I would be blown away by it but the views were stunning and the museum was actually pretty interesting!
After the highlands, we headed over to Penang where I'd booked us into Tofu again! I was very amused by the idea of my parents in pod beds but they both seemed to really like the place! Seeing Penang for the second time, I wasn't as charmed by it. Perhaps it was because the Deepavali celebrations were packed up so the whole town was quieter and less exciting, or perhaps I suddenly really noticed how grubby the place was (as with most places in Asia) as I was worrying about my parents enjoying it. Either way, we had a lovely time wandering around the roads to find the murals and eating yummy food! I took them to Kapitan which is in the little India area and does the best chicken tandoori I have ever eaten in my life! We also went to a gorgeous place called China House which was beautifully decorated, with a lovely courtyard and the widest cake selection I have seen in a very long time! The way it was all put together reminded me of a bohemian cafe/restaurant in Shoreditch….but even more lovely as the building itself is a genuine Malaysian long house!
Daddy with our pod beds.
My parents outside a little temple/clan house in Penang.
Having drinks in the courtyard of China House.
From Penang, we headed back down to KL to pick Alex up from the airport! I am so happy to have both my parents and my other half with me…the loneliness I felt while on my own is a distant memory! 🙂 we all headed, together to Kuala Selangor which is about an hour and a half north of KL. Now, I will take full responsibility to for the nightmare of trying to find means to get there and also the fact that we had to stay in a less than pleasant “hotel” (that rented rooms by the hour as well as for the night!) as it was on my insistence that we went there! The reason I was so keen to go is that there are large colonies of fireflies to be seen and I have been wanting to see them for well over a year! Despite the lack of accommodation choices, travel options and foods establishments nearby, I think we are all very glad we went as, last night, we were taken out on a row boat and paddled along next to the banks where the bushes glowed and flashed with tiny sparkling lights. It was truly magical to watch and our boatsman took us so close that, at times, we were fully IN the bushes and surrounded by the fireflies! He even handed mum and me fireflies that then crawled around on our hands, blinking their surprisingly bright lights at us! The fireflies are endangered so I am very happy to have seen them, in case it's not possible in the future!
Tomorrow, we head off to Sabah and Sepilok to go find Orang-utans!! Mum has always loved them so is very excited! 🙂 a few of my family members have commented that perhaps the orang-utans will adopt me and Alex as we are gangly and ginger too! One can only hope, hey? 😉