Scootered, ran, hiked, ziplined, and absailed through this week. Kuala Lumpur is not the most glamorous or easy city to live in, but I’m also kind of loving it for how different it is.
- Bumiputera, meaning sun of the soil, is the term for a Malaysian of indigenous Malay origin aka the ‘true’ Malaysians. About 67% of the population. The law has interesting rights solely for Bumiputera. For example, college is cheaper for them and they have more access to better federal loans. Certain land is set aside only for them and they have 7% discount on all home purchases. Bumiputera can also get promoted easier in government companies.
- Malaysia is split into two main pieces, the part tied to continental Asia (80% of population) and the part on the island of Borneo. Won’t get to Borneo but kind of curious how it compares. Malaysia has over 800 little islands. They also surround two tiny countries: Singapore and Brunei. Interestingly, the country is also surrounded on all sides by other countries islands like Indonesia and the Philippines, making them less susceptible to natural disaster.
- The political situation is quite interesting. The country had a longstanding, well-liked prime minister (Mahathir Bin Mohamad) who did a lot for development and progress from 1981-2003, when another one took over. In the ten plus years new guy was in power, he embezzled money, screwed up the economy, and undid a lot of what Mahathir did. Fed up with the regression, Mahathir created a new political party and returned to office in 2018. The country is back on track and quickly growing. Crazy!
- As part of the new political party’s agenda, they created a free bus line that runs through KL. Not sure who pays for that but cool!
- MALL-AYSIA. Kuala Lumpur is home to one of the ten largest shopping malls in the world, and many, many other large ones. This alone should tell you it’s not really a city for me long term. But ya, they are everywhere. Women’s clothing here though is like ‘how much can we cover at once?’
- It’s common for people to call elders aunt and uncle even if they’re not related. Our operations manager called the restaurant owner of night one ‘auntie’.
- Kuala Lumpur roughly translates to ‘muddy confluence’, Kuala means the point where two rivers come together and Lumpur means mud. Not gonna lie, I have not seen any rivers yet but they do exist on the map.
- Caves are sacred in Muslim culture and are found all over Malaysia. As one should anyway, it’s important to respect the space if you are ever in one here. Don’t say racy or crude things.
- Fun fact: Malaysia is the largest condom producing country in the world. Pretty ironic for a Muslim country.
Week in Review:
- Slow morning, get a lot of personal admin things done and some writing. Currently accepting thoughts on expanding blog into something bigger than it is, perhaps getting more readers for travel advice…don’t want to be the same as every other travel blog though :/
- Scooter around town with my roommate before getting caught in the pouring rain and needing to get a Grab car back.
- Oh, and I completely face planted going down a hill. The scooter’s break did not really work and the accelerate button would get stuck on go…so I hit a bump to fast and down I went. Minor injuries incurred but also pretty hilarious.
- Back to the normal routine. Gym, little exploring, then work.
- Got a pedicure at a mall…because of course. But damn, shopping sucks here.
- Also, KL is one of the most disorganized cities in terms of layout IMO. The roads are so far from a grid and there’s a monorail above ground that cuts through everything.
- Switch rooms with my roommate! My room was ok but nowww I have a full length window overlooking the ceiling, tons of storage space, the private bathroom…ya, it is nice.
- Visit the KL Upside Down House with a friend. It was exactly what it sounds like, a house flipped onto the roof, with furniture in each room on the ceiling. Definitely just for taking fun pictures, but hey, it was fun! 6 dollars well spent? 100% (some of our best shots below!)
- Work from the shmancy workspace, my supervisor and I have put our company logo up over the desks we use. Like a mini Parachute office.
- Work from home with no pants on, lying on my bed because #whynot. This is what you do when your roommate leaves and you work remotely.
- Participate in Remote Year’s Race Across the Nation. Current groups and former Remotes all over the world run together for a defined 2 hours. My group is slim this month (lots of people sidetripping) but a small cohort of us represented and went all over the city.
- Simone spearheads a trip to Indian street food spot (City Plaza One) where I learn I LOVE Pani Puri. They’re small fried chickpea shell snacks filled with potato, chickpea, and a mix of chutneys. A must try.
- Get my training in, then off to work, stopping at a local market on the way to check out the street food and clothing
- Have a really productive day at work and a great mid-year review with my supervisor. I’ve mentioned this before but my supervisor is on the program with me. Working and travelling and living together could be a lot, but I’m so grateful we have made it happen. She is a great professional and life mentor. But also we have a blast together.
Saturday- TRACKS DAY!
- Take off early with most of Parea to Gua Damai Extreme Park and gear up with helmets, harnesses, headlamps, and ropes for the day
- Long, steep hike through the forest, made a lot longer by the 5 minute breaks we had to take what felt like every 10 steps. Notes about the hiking:
- Whenever we stopped, it was for us to ‘take a break’ but what really happened was the guides would go vape
- The mosquitoes were UNREAL, got eaten alive, especially when we were not moving
- The trail was not well paved at all; we were climbing down rocks, scaling down dirt hills, and literally crawling through trees. It was comical, really, trying to imagine who thought ‘yeah, this bush? I think it’d be nice if the trail went right through it.’
- End the first hiking bit with a zip line down, nothing crazy but fun
- Walk down into a cave for what turned out to be an insect tour. Found a centipede, cave crickets, worms…also bats and a frog. On the way out we had an impromptu team building activity where we had to use a single candle to lead all fifteen of us out of the cave.
- Delicious chicken and rice lunch in the middle of a field before another hike through the branches
- Final stop was a tethered climb down into a cave via ladders and rope, then an apsail (or repel) down to the ground. I have to say it was pretty cool to stop and be like ‘hey, I’m carabineer-ed to a cable, on a ladder, in the middle of a huge cave, in Kuala Lumpur’
- Overall a good tracks day despite the heat, although I do think it could have been done in five hours instead of eight if it were not for all the hurry up and wait.
- Rest and relax in the apartments until hitting the town
- Spend a lovely couple hours with Lindsay at Ce La Vi, a recommended rooftop lounge. I have been feeling a little like no one in the group really knows me that well, nor do I know any of them that well but that’s not the case with Lindsay. Much appreciation.
- Get ourselves into a grand opening party for free at Dragonfly club and dance the night away
- Slow morning, gym, and some grocery shopping that continues to be momentous for just how long it takes given the variety
- Grilled Cheese Competition as a fundraiser for the PT Foundation, an organization that provides LGBTQ folks with counseling, support, and a safer space in this country that can be unsafe for them. I didn’t eat or compete, but it was great to support and hangout with the KL City Team!
I am signing off as an official champion of the Parea-bod challenge. Lindsay and I killed it (if I do say so myself), and despite feeling a little fatigued, I am so glad to be back in a fitness routine. Who says you can’t travel and be healthy!?