Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jalan Alor

So with Singapore wrapped up (in truth, we probably didn't spend enough time there, but what can ya do), we jet over to Malaysia. A relatively short flight, we were greeted by my super-distant super-extended family at the airport.

Now you may be asking why I have super distant relatives in Malaysia when I am a Chinese Vietnamese Anglo-Indian-with-possible-distant-Burmese-connections guy who was born in Australia. To tell you the truth, I am not really 100% sure as to why either. From what I understand, my mum's dad's mum, and their mum's dad's mum both fled from China during the communist revolution. My relatives landed in My Tho, Vietnam. Their relatives landed in Tanjong Sepat, Selangor, Malaysia. When my mum was in a Malaysian refugee camp 32 years ago, she was visited by my Malaysian family. I guess this is a whole different story all together..

I digress, my relatives took us for dinner at a mamak kopitiam, which literally translates to 'eat coffee shop'. I guess it's kind of like an Indonesian Warung. Its funny, cos I hadn't really come across the words mamak kopitiam before, but now that I am back in Melbourne, I keep seeing it on Malaysian restaurants.

After a quick meal, my relatives drove us to our hotel room. The travel agent promised so much. 'Clean, cheap, convenient, central'. I guess she was right about the everything except the 'clean' bit. My relos were a bit freaked out. We were in the middle of Kuala Lumpur's cbd. We were told there were a lot of sex workers in the area, pickpockets, and scammers. It was apparently a crappy area to be in. They told us not to leave the room at night.

Hundreds of hawker food stores lay on the hotels doorsteps. The street was buzzing with life. Cars, motorbikes, and hundreds of people zoomed past, and as I dealt with crappy showers, questionable laundry, and smelly aircon, I opened the window and stubbornly decided I had to explore Jalan Alor (the name of the street). So on the stroke of midnight, I set off into the night.

I wasn't set on by a bunch of bag snatching prostitues who wanted to strangle and kill me after scamming me. I found a cat. Who was quiet cute. And lots of good food. And cheap fruit. And a random busker (whose name escapes me) who was happy to share a beer and a chat. Overall, a pleasant experience which I would recommend to anyone who travels to KL. 

Mamak Kopitiam on the outskirts of KL
Jalan Alor  from our hotel room. 
Hawker food on the street. You pick up the stick, dip it in a pot of boiling water and enjoy the yumminess. 
BBQ chicken wings. 

Cat watching people.

Awesome busker I met. We shared a beer and he talked about where he was from in the south, his musical tastes (Bob Marley, the stones, Dylan, etc).

Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur. 

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