Everyday Adventures: Sidewalks and Galleries

With the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, we have traveled around the city much more. To keep safe, we look for uncrowded city streets and empty indoor venues. Museums are not popular currently, so it has been a dream to view the exhibits at our leisure, talk to the guards. We have better luck on weekdays keeping social distance, especially in popular museums. Galleries are generally good any time. [As always with the new WordPress, right click the images to view the larger version]

The GMBB, Gamuda Mall Bukit Bintang is a mall with event and art exhibit spaces, a creative community mall as their website says. This artist, Phillip Wong, creates sculptures from everyday materials.

Artwork based on culinary experiences SE Asia

In a similar way the Intermark Mall exhibited new fashions using recycled textiles.

The Fahrenheit88 Mall in Tourist/Shopping district has a marvelous gallery on the top level with interesting displays. A bus ride took us to the Kedai KL Mall near the University. It features boutiques featuring local entrepreneurs.

KedaiKL upper floor

As I write this entry at the GMBB, local illustrators invited me for a little bit of Hari Raya treats celebrating end of Ramadan Fasting.

Nasi Lemak wrapped in Banana Leaf

They have an exhibit here until the end of May and Congress coming in September.

The Illustrators

Back on the street, there is new art popping up all over the place.

The sardine curry puff must be delicious
An Indian Temple tucked underneath a major shopping complex

The REXKL is a repurposed cinema as a bookstore with art gallery, restaurants, and music venue.

In the day, the pillion rider watched movies seated where there are now books

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia was really interesting. There were only two or three others the day we visited so the galleries were wide open for photos. Really clear explanation and displays on Arabic writing.

Astrolabes along with books on Chess

In contrast to the Islamic Museum, an early mansion houses the Wei-Ling gallery. Very lively art works along with Exhibit catalogs dating back twenty years.

Experiments on brown wrapping paper

We’ve been to the Ilham Gallery a couple of times. It’s a smaller space in an office buiding. The lighting and area provide a good space to present works with local appeal.

Three paintings by Klang artist, Kok Yew Puah

Everyday Adventures: The Parks

Even though we are still stuck in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we keep looking for new places to go. That is the beauty of this city. There is always something. Beyond that, I have been stuck in WordPress trying to figure out their new block formats. It seems I am better at configuring Open VPN in Puppy Linux than I am at getting my blog to look right.

I have reset my WordPress theme in hopes of improving the response time when I create a new post. Nope, that’s not where the problem is. Also, tried accessing via Microsoft’s Edge browser under Ubuntu Mate Linux. Nope that didn’t change the editing slowness, either. In fairness, I use WordPress for free and they do provide a lot of information and tutorials on how to get the best experience.

Oh well. Rather than one huge post here, I’m settling for several posts with a few photos describing our different adventures. Accept my apologies in advance if the photos load slow. I’m still working on this. It seems right clicking on a photo to open in a new tab works well if you wish to see the larger version. Of course, it is framed with WordPress advertising. ūüėÄ ūüėČ

Parks and hiking trails are still a favorite. They are outside and easy social distancing. During weekdays with few visitors, face masks are optional except at the entry and exit

One day we hiked the Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve. We reached it from the Kwasa Sentral MRT station by taking a Grab share taxi. The walk to the lookout at the Three Princesses Peak (Denai Tiga Puteri Peak) qualified for our weekly strenuous exercise.

View from the Three Princesses Peak

On a Sunday, we had an enjoyable outing that was not too busy at Taman Tasik Permaisuri (Empress Lake Park in Bandar Tun Razak). One section near the lake has terraces of unique plants such as these orchids.

On the north side we explored Sentul Park. There are lakes, trails, a Performing Arts Centre, a barbecue and a coffee roaster. I’m checking out the cement living room.

Joining a Happy Birthday chorus earned us a piece of cake

Sometimes we just settle for an urban park. This is the Raintree Plaza. It is a walk from the construction at the new TRX tower to Jalan Imbi in the direction of Fahrenheit88 shopping mall.


Sometimes we just count the monitor lizards on the River of Life.

Or observe the jungle reclaim the construction cranes.

Here’s an update. On May 2 from the Bukit Jalil Recreational Park. We were caught in a downpour first in a Japanese garden, then in a Chinese garden (where I snapped this photo looking from the Malay house).

The Japanese Garden (the shelter roof leaked).

Yay, The Botanical Garden is open.

Even though Kuala Lumpur is in Covid Recovery Phase 1, authorities have relaxed some of the lockdown restrictions. Some parks in your neighborhood can now be visited. The Perdana Botanical Garden is just a 2 km walk away so it qualifies as a local venue. Two days ago, only one gate was open on the far side from us making it a bit of a chore to enter. Today, we discovered the tunnel shortcut has been re-opened. Better than that, the upgrade of the path around the lake has completed and parts of the bamboo play area are open. (Note on the website link above: The website does not have any updates on the changes for the Covid Lockdown. Current signs posted state opening hours from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM.)

Bamboo Play Area taken from the New Walking Path

Other activities of our life in exile include astronomical observations from our balcony.

A Stonehenge Moment: Marking the last day (July 28) we can see sunset on the horizon.
Lightning from a storm far away.

The weather is a little cooler with regular rain showers. In the evenings, we sometimes see heat lightning from storms 20-30 km away. It’s just luck to catch the flashes with my simple iphone camera. In the hour before dawn (around 6 AM), seeing lightning from storms in the west over the Strait of Melacca reassures me. There’s something nostalgic about it.

Movement Control in Kuala Lumpur

As the Malaysian government try to get some control on the Covid-19 pandemic situation with an alphabet of plans and procedures, we only adventure out to buy groceries once a week. We walk 1.5 km to 2 km to one of the shopping centers. All shops are closed except those deemed essential. Lately our preferred route is along a six lane highway. It is noisy but the walkway is well maintained. Another plus is that hardly anyone else takes this route. Occasionally, with a small detour, we can find a fruit stand with Durian. If you stay in SE Asia, you either love or hate this fruit. The smell is so strong we find a motorcycle rest stop to sit and eat the fruit before returning home.

Trees blooming along the pathway by the motorway.
Taking a break with Village Durian

Views from Isolated Walks

For the good of the realm, we continue in exile. The conditions have relaxed and then tightened. We now stay home in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur except for necessities. Sometimes, we have taken a longer route along the River of Life to get groceries. Other times, we spent a little longer in a large shopping mall near here. Here are some reflections from those times.

The good news is that both I and the pillion rider have our first vaccine shot. We’re grateful.

AstraZeneca vaccine administered at University Malaya

Walking the Burma Road

We are back in Kuala Lumpur after four months in Penang. I have not been busy but I have been lazy in posting impressions on those four months. My recovery from cataract surgery completes giving me 3D and depth perception back. I don’t get so tired typing on the notebook computer.

The famous Burma Road was an allied supply artery to China during World War II. Leaving Lashio at the Northern border of Burma (Myanmar), it ran to Kunming and Yunan in China.

In Penang, Jalan Burma (Burma Road) runs from the edge of the Heritage Neighborhood of George Town up to the Mount Erskine area through a district known as Pulau Tikus. Historically, this area was the meeting point of various ethnic groups, cultures, and commerce of Penang Island. It was only a 10 minute walk from our place, so regularly we went exploring along the main thoroughfare and the side streets. We found some famous temples, unique spots to grab takeaway, and the occasional surprise.

Storefronts of Penang

Malaysia has re-implemented the Movement Control Order meaning we stay at home except for necessities of food and medicine. Rather than complain, we will consider it as being exiled for the Good of the Realm version two. This time we have been banished to the island of Penang off the coast of Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca. Within the city boundaries of Georgetown the authorities allow us time to exercise maintaining a two meter distance from the other inmates.

Georgetown and environs on the island offer many interesting sights for our exercise walks. There are Religious Temples for Hindu, Islam, Buddhist and Christian, colonial offices and mansions, street art on winding streets, open markets, seafront jetties, and interesting local cuisine available for take away.

One thing I grapple with is understanding how the needs of a modern city can work with the traditional neighborhoods and historical venues. One area where I see this working well is in the renovation of the shophouses in Georgetown. Some of these date back over a hundred years to the time of Sun Yat Sen (Father of modern China) residing in Penang. Most, however, were built in the 1950’s during the reconstruction after World War Two.

Here is a selection of photos that capture the old and the new. I particularly like the traditional buildings that are painted with modern color schemes. Another thing I like is the refurbishing of walkways using traditional patterns on a single long stretch without steps or ridges.

In my mind

What the eyes see, the mind perceives, remains just a smudge or a ripple of digitized pointillisme. A fisherman guides his boat on a tranquil morning-swept bay

Penang Strait
A fishing boat

Obviously I am not a fisherman in anyone’s imagination. Spotting two boats out this morning with my 8x handheld monocular, I could imagine the salt fish smell, the light lapping of water, the morning breeze promising midday heat. My photos taken through industrial glass capture nothing but a smudge

Favorite Things – Breakfast and Snacks in Malaysia

Traveling has given us the opportunity to experience some great cuisines, interesting combinations and textures, and many traditional recipes. I have enjoyed the adventure but lately I’m returning to small meals and snacks. In Malaysia, it is really easy to pop in anytime to a Kopitiam coffee shop, food court, or open market for the types of food I really like. Here are some photos that I have collected mostly in the last few months mainly from our stay in Penang.

Two coffees (one black – no sugar, the other with evaporated milk at the bottom). One butter toast with kaya (coconut jam) one local croissant. One half boiled egg (2.5 minutes). Many coffee shops offer this breakfast in Penang.

This shop, Ah Wang Cafe, only opens in the afternoon. One of the best croissants in Malaysia. It’s found in a back alley next to the UDA flats near Tanjung Tokong Beach in Penang.

Here’s breakfast next door to the open market of Brinchang in the Cameron Highlands. In ordering two types of noodles, server asked if we wanted them empty. Saying yes, we just got plain noodles with sauce (mine was very nice curry), and we chose vegetarian add ons such as tofu and tofu skin.

At another market, we found really typical dumplings, the near ones with chopped chives, the far ones with chopped rutabaga. If I order kopi susu (coffee with milk), I like the evaporated milk undisturbed (as they say in Malay).

Upper left: Roti Telur (Grilled Yeast Pancake with Egg served with Dhal), Upper Right: Nasi Lemak (Rice, Sambal spicy sauce, tiny anchovies, peanuts, and half a fried egg, wrapped in banana leaf and paper). Lower: Thosai (crispy crepe of fermented batter served with various curries).

Roti Telur always brings back memories of my first Malaysian breakfast in Kota Kinabalu August 1981.

I’m generally not big on fancy overpriced coffee shops. The exception is Have A Seat Cafe in Penang. Hot milk with espresso ice cubes. Spending an hour and a half experimenting various combinations of milk and sweetness mixed with strong almost cold press coffee taste.

Here is Nasi Goreng American (American Fried Rice). I have found this offered mostly where there are Backpacker Hostels. Not sure what makes it American, possibly adding the frozen mixed vegetables. Not my favorite but my patriotism comes through.

This was a little bakery/cafe located on the third level of the Linc KL Mall in Kuala Lumpur. Secawan Sepiring served their style on deep fried tofu and local cakes.

This is one of the few malls where you can find one of a kind restaurants instead of the usual food chains.

In the Mt. Erskine Market a typical breakfast bowl of noodles with some shredded meat and fish balls. In this case the Penang Laksa Noodles in soup.

The only restaurant I visit regularly is Annalakshimi in the Temple of Fine Arts in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. This is a vegan, vegetarian restaurant connected with a dance and performance venue. Always tasty and fresh.

Most of these are not strictly vegetarian. On my journey I have had to include a little bit of animal protein in my diet to insure the balance my metabolism needs.

Market Day in Penang

After living in the Malaysian Highlands of Cameron for a month, we trundled down to the island of Penang, about a 30 minute ferry ride from the mainland. Our trip had a slight detour due to Covid. We expected to cross one of the bridges to the island. As cases are increasing in Malaysia and especially one hotspot in the Southwest of the island, government Conditional Movement Control Order closed both bridges. We were wondering if the ferry would run. Only half the ferries were running but that was enough to get us over and find a taxi to our place. The CMCO limits the range of our activities. Basically, we can go for groceries or takeaway along with daily walks for exercise. A few restaurants offer socially distanced seating. Mostly we try to stay out of harms way. Sometimes, adventure just waits around the corner.

We are staying north of the main city of Georgetown. Our place is near the Erskine Hill market so Saturday we headed there to stock up for the next few days. Afterward, we took a local street back by the fire station that lead to an interesting encounter.

The pride of Mount Erskine Firefighters, Notice the implement in his hand.
What is in this yellow container. It is hissing and not happy.
Just a 120 cm (4 ft) Cobra found in a house near here. Don’t forget to close the windows.
Guess what he had in the back. A knot (I counted 4) of pythons waiting to be returned to the hills.

The cobra will be taken to a veterinarian for health and safety check. Our man with the snakes said after being resettled up in the hills, they’ve had no repeat offenders.

Escape to the Highlands

We escaped from our exile in Spain when the state of emergency was lifted. We found a circuitous route to Malaysia. After quarantine and four covid tests, we had a short stay in Kuala Lumpur. Then, we fled the heat of the city for the slower rhythms of Cameron Highlands arriving the first week of October. This is just a few hours bus ride north of KL, but contrasts with a cool wet climate. Highs around 23¬ļ C (75¬ļF) with mist and rain everyday. After sweltering in the Spanish summer and then in Kuala Lumpur, it took a little time to acclimate.

Our place is halfway between the two main cities of Tanah Rata and Brinchang. What is unique about our month stay is that we have no car. We actually thought we were booking a place near the center of Tanah Rata. As it turned out, this location we have is ideal for walking as we are just 2 km from each city, about 30 minutes walk along paths through villages, beside the Bertam river, along the golf course, by All Souls Church. Wife grew up just 65 km (less than 50 miles) from here. Although the schedule is curtailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Regal bus still runs from Tanah Rata up 20 km to Kampung Raja.

We are near to several jungle trails that lead up to the mountain peaks around the area. Historically, this is the area where Jim Thompson disappeared in 1967. Some of the trails (specifically the one to Parit Falls) are closed due to maintenance and Covid concerns for the wardens. We were able to follow trail 9 to Robinson falls which was quite impressive. Our journey on trail 3 became an adventure when we chose the 1 km trail 2 back to Brinchang. It was 90% vertical climbs through fallen trees and thick brush, real jungle trekking. Thoughts of Jim Thompson crossed our minds.

The Rose Valley Garden provided a nice surprise on one of our outings. We expected to see a few rows of cultivated flowers with a gift shop and then move on. Instead, we spent most of our morning there following trails up the hillside, visiting several different flower displays including cacti, and comparing notes with staff about the tulips in the Netherlands.

Here is the gallery of photos that capture some of our sojourn. Click thumbnail to see full size.

Here are some places we liked with a link to Google Maps (no particular order).

  • Restaurants (with the Covid-19, schedules of many establishments are flexible)
    • Tong Yeng Cafe – Interesting and organized Food Stand, Unique ordering and lunch experience in Tanah Rata
    • Bliss Coffee – Oat Toast with Kaya jam in Kampung Raja
    • Sri Brinchang Curry House for breakfast and Banana Leaf Rice in Tanah Rata, even had vegetarian chicken curry
    • Lord’s Cafe – Scones, small place in the back, upstairs. Friendly and well organized in Tanah Rata
    • Cottage Delight – Our go to place for breakfast noodles before shopping at Brinchang Wet Market.
    • Warung Ikat Tepi – A simple little Malay eatery with delicious real food beside the touristy alleys of Kampung Taman Sedia village.
  • Experiences
    • Rose Valley Garden – Trail and an international mix of flora near Tringkap village
    • Brinchang Wet Market – Our weekly trip to stock up on fresh local produce
    • Bus Station Tanah Rata – Regal bus departs after 8:30 10:30 1:30 4:30 7:30 (Times are for boarding, actual departure is usually 5 – 15 minutes later.
    • Note on trails below: check reviews and online guides for the suitability of hiking. Trail 2 was hard to follow and quite arduous.
    • Trail 3 entrance on left before Arcadia Bungalow. Beyond the junction with Trail 2, it gets rugged.
    • Trail 9 to Robinson Falls, enter through Rainbow Garden Center
  • Touristic
    • Smokehouse Restaurant – British Colonial Experience and Garden
    • 200 Seeds Restaurant (Abang Strawberry) – Nasi Lemak with Strawberry Sambal. This is in the heart of Kampung Taman Sedia, a touristy village with many homestays, restaurants, strawberry themed experiences. There is a shortcut from the Desa Anthurium Apartments beside Building B.
    • Golden Hills Weekend Night Market – Very popular for strawberries and white corn but not that unique experience. Out of the way for us so we only visited once.

Our Journey to Torremolinos

This is an odd post for me to get right. We were planning an adventure to southern Spain when my dear sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ruenitz, passed away unexpectedly. In my heart, I carry many memories of her on this trip. No pictures, just some memories: her subtle sense of humor, how she and my daughter shared their favorite Tom Lehrer songs, the care she gave the cats and my brother, and the tributes from her co-workers at the FDA. It worked out to add a week in Atlanta to our plans to celebrate Elizabeth’s life with my brothers and other family members.


Sometime in the 1980’s I read Michener’s fantasy novel,¬†The Drifters, that relates the lives of a group of youngsters that intersect in Torremolinos in the 1960s. When we decided to look for Spring in Europe, I wondered what might remain of the young free life. Our final destination would be Malaga on the Costa del Sol of Spain. First, we would explore Torremolinos and some southern points.

Here are some images to carry with me from Kuala Lumpur to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to Atlanta. Then, a week later, Atlanta back to Amsterdam. After a day in Sloterdijk neighborhood of Amsterdam, we flew down to Malaga Airport, heading 10 km south to Torremolinos.

Our take on Torremolinos. The youngsters left and came back when they retired, like us. Many retired British and German expats here along with Spanish jubilados who find the weather less harsh in the winter.

Covid-19 concerns. Before leaving Malaysia, we were already limiting our social engagements. Getting together with my family, Wife and I used the Indian bow and greeting of Namaste, and did not touch or hug. No reason for us to take chances as we are all on in years except for my grand nephew who has just turned one. So far, so good.
We are staying indoors in Malaga Spain now during the State of Emergency. Its rainy and cold on the Costa del Sol so no big deal. We have an apartment for 4-6 weeks with several small grocery shops just up the street. Out of the little kitchen come Soups Stews, Salads, and Olive oil with fresh “pan integral”, whole wheat bread baked locally.

Taman Negara (Malaysia’s National Park)

We are locked down in Malaga Spain now. No worries, we can shop for food every day and connect via the internet. Six weeks ago we spent five days in Taman Negara, a five to six hour drive northeast from Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at the National Park Resort, Mutiara Taman Negara and booked their shuttle service with part of the trip taken by boat along the Tembeling River.

Having more days than most visitors, we could take one or two arduous walks followed by a day of taking it easy, including one day just watching the rain fall. My photos are mostly tall trees and monkeys, but our experiences were wonderful feelings of untouched nature, beautiful birdsongs, and silent contemplation.

Here are some details about our stay.

One advice to keep in mind. Visiting Taman Negara is going to involve a lot of step climbing. On arriving at the jetty, there are several flights up to the hotel and national park office.  Although the popular trails have some boardwalks for conservation and ease, there is a lot of up and down.

Website for Resort Mutiara Taman Negara: https://www.mutiaratamannegara.com

It was easier to book through their website to get three days full board (breakfast buffet, lunch special, dinner buffet) and two days just breakfast.  This allowed us to try ala carte entrees and local food in the village across the river. The buffets were quite tasty with some Malaysia cuisine and some western versions. There were some Malaysian foods we had never tried before (and we have a lot of experience seeking out different Malaysian dishes).

The Mutiara offers a shuttle service to and from the Kuala Lumpur Istana Hotel for 90 Ringgit (21 U$S) per person each way. There are two options: Direct all the way by van/bus, or with a 1.5-2 hours boat ride to/from the resort jetty. Depending on the number of passengers, the shuttle is usually a 10 passenger van, but they do have full scale buses available.

National Park office is next to the Resort so it was easy to get our passes. We purchased two entries, one camera pass (the pillion rider’s camera is much better than my iPhone 5s). We did not know we needed to have a ticket to take the canopy walkway. ¬†Luckily, we had exact change when we went there. ¬†Better to buy all at once.

There are cheaper options for both lodging and transportation. There are nice hotels and interesting guest houses in the village of Kuala Tahun. Public transport typically will include a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut, and then catch local transport up to Kuala Tahun. The cross river ferry is 1 Ringgit per person (0.25 U$S). Organizing a guide from Kuala Tahun is probably cheaper than from the resort.

 

Chinese New Year in Bukit Tinggi (catching up)

Two months ago, we were in Malaysia for Chinese New Year.  With our outings curtailed by Covid-19, it is time to catch up on adventures.

A lot of family stuff with Chinese New Year. ¬†We stayed near Taman Bukit Tinggi near Sister-in-Law’s place up in the foothills of Bentong district of Pahang State. ¬†It’s about an hour drive to the center of Kuala Lumpur. ¬†There is a local bus that I took from Pekeliling Bus Station across from the Titiwangsa Light Rail and Monorail stations. The area is famous for its ginger and we enjoyed passion fruit season. We stuffed ourselves on fruits and vegetables we bought fresh at the markets and cooked up that day.

The photos show a lot of the tropical forest. Besides lizards and usual dogs and cats, there were water buffalo along with monkeys. I occasionally surprised a troop and they would head off swinging from tree to tree.

 

Kuala Lumpur, Down by the river

Starting the new year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We’ve been here a few weeks since leaving Manila. As we have stopped here a number of times in the last five years, I’m looking for some different aspects of the city.

Here is one: Klang River flows through the city. These days it is channeled via concrete levees. ¬†The Kelana Jaya Light Rail Line (LRT) follows near the River from KL Central north east to Jelatek. ¬†There are a number of accesses large enough for motorcycles and small cars to drive to the concrete edges. ¬†Here are some photos of my stroll. It started with the GoKL free bus Turquoise Line to LRT Station Dato’ Keramat. Just west of the station there is a path down to the edge. There is also a foot bridge that crosses to a path that winds over to the street Jalan Ampang. The concrete banks of the river can be followed for quite a distance among graffiti and occasional squatter shacks up at street level.

 

 

Kuala Lumpur Recovery

During our short stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I captured a few new views. The first two are views from Genting Highlands, a casino, hotel, and entertainment complex North of Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

 

One of the places we stayed was connected to public transport so well that several days I never touched street level.  Walking was safer with no broken sidewalk obstacles, no need to carry Umbrella during rainy season, there was a seat on the LRT for me.

Answers from previous post:

  1. Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
  2. Activist: Gandhi
  3. Saxophone: John Coltrane
  4. Beatle: George Harrison
  5. Detested Fascist: Hitler

Others can be found on Wikipedia: List of Vegetarians

A Visual Question: What is odd about this road in the Brickfields / Little India district of Kuala Lumpur?

2018-11-04 11.35.23

 

The Accidental Vegan

An inspiration for this post comes from noneuclideansofa blog. I enjoy his observations on life and living.

An inspiration for the vegan traveler is the Cook the Beans blog: Ubud on a Scooter and Punkin Soup are recent posts.

I should probably create an entire blog about my journey and transformation into a Vegan.  Devra Gartenstein already wrote a recipe book called Accidental Vegan. It is hard to know where to start, what to tell, and how to avoid boring my audience.

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota in the 1950’s and 60’s, pizza and McDonald’s were exotic foods.¬† Here are some memories and influences.

  • My mother teaching me how to eat with chop sticks when I was 12 years old.
  • My introduction to tacos and Tabasco sauce at a Foreign Exchange Student conference.
  • Katherine Gustafson and all the friends from around the world who met at her house on Saturday evenings.¬† Many interesting foods.
  • Frances Moore’s Diet for a Small Planet that taught how to get complete proteins from grains and legumes.
  • Living a year without meat.
  • Traveling the world and discovering oysters, raw fish, uncooked steak tartare, and cannibal toast made with uncooked pork.
  • Finding more vegetarian and natural food restaurants in America. I’m thinking of the Mud Pie on Lyndale and Seward Cafe on Franklin.
  • Discovering Asian vegetarian cuisines in Japan, Malaysia, along with India.
  • Discovering I am allergic to eggs; later finding that I’m less sensitive to duck eggs (The difference between jungle fowl and waterfowl).
  • Reducing meat and cheese in the diet to control gout.

In Turkey this July and August, my joints began really hurting, first pelvis, then shoulder, then toes, then wrist.¬† In Ankara, the good doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. Her prescription: Some vitamins and no more meat, chicken, fish, or milk products.¬† Not even fat free yogurt. Eggs were OK, but with my allergies: I’m a Vegan.

Ethically, I’m happy with the result.¬† Physically, all the pain is gone, only an occasional tightness in the shoulder.

In the past 6 months, it was easier to find Vegan options in tourist areas: Siem Reap Cambodia, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Amman Jordan, Cairo Egypt, and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Myanmar/Burma, Mongolia, Turkey, and Tunisia were hard. Many Vegetarian options have eggs or cheese. I’m flexible when necessary.

Here are some particularly delicious meals:

 

Answers from previous post:

  1. For leeches, a little salt makes them fall right off.  A mixture of liquid soap or detergent and salt rubbed on the shoes makes a good prevention.
  2. For first aid, Wife always carries bandages, neosporin ointment, airline wetwipe packets, a Swiss Army card with scissors, tweezers, toothpick, file.
  3. We did not enter the Buddhist Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. We walked around the outside looking for hiking trails and viewed it from a distant hill.

Some Vege trivia:

  1. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Playwright?
  2. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Political Activist?
  3. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Saxophonist?
  4. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Beatle?
  5. Who is my abhorred Vegetarian Fascist?

Kuala Lumpur Ennui

Over the last year, we have stopped over in Kuala Lumpur several times for family events and personal pursuits.  Recently, we have tried to find some less common venues involving city walks.  It is steaming (and when it rains, streaming) in KL and never ending construction forces us into the streets as we approach our quest.

Prime Minister Memorials and the Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery.

We took the free Red GOKL bus from KL Sentral and exiting at Menara DBKL (City Hall Tower).  A walk up Jalan Raja Laut (street) to LRT station Bandaraya arrives at a foot bridge to KTM station Bank Negara. Either of these stations are also good starting points for the walk north up Jalan Dato Onn and circling west to the Memorials for the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn.  These huge buildings are stuffed with mementos about the accomplishments but shy away from controversy.

Across the road is Bank Negara (National Bank) which has an extensive art gallery and museum with no entry fee.  Bags are not allowed but the information desk has tokens for the lockers.

The works are technically well done but tend to show an idealized village.  Here are few inspirations that bend the rules.

KLCC-Bukit Bintang Walk

A 3-4 km walk I took several times starts at the Avenue K Shopping Mall at the KLCC LRT stop.  This goes underground from Avenue K via (tunnel 1) Suria KLCC Mall to the Convention Center (tunnel 2), then via elevated Walkways (skyway 3) to the Pavilion Shopping Mall.  From there, a tunnel (4) connects under Jalan Bukit Bintang to the Fahrenheit88 Shopping Mall. Exiting on ground floor by Shoopen and walking along Jalan Bukit Bintang about 30 meters arrives at the down escalator (5) into the Lot10 Hutong basement restaurants.  From here, escalators up to second floor of the Lot10 shopping mall access the skywalk (6)  from H&M  or Isetan leading under the monorail over to the Sungei Wang Plaza.  Except for 30 meters, this entire route is protected from sun and rain.

Here’s a map from Google that I annotated with numbered pathways.¬† Brown lines are underground, Green lines are Skyways.

KLCC-SungeiWang Path

River of Life

Masjid Jamek (the Jamek Mosque) marks the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers where Kuala Lumpur (meaning Muddy confluence) gets its name. These rivers run through the heart of Kuala Lumpur.  A new program plans to beautify the area by cleaning up the rivers and erecting walkways along the banks.  It is quite impressive around the Jamek Mosque in the evening.

Cats and Bikes

To complete this post, Kuala Lumpur has many cats and many oBikes, a station free bicycle sharing system.  Here are a few photos of each. I have an oBike account and use them frequently when public transportation does not have a direct route.


 

 

Crossing Sabah (Where was I?)

The years start to catch up. My hearing is a bit off, so I need to beg pardon, especially if there is background noise.  Then, with stories and traveler tales, I have to stop in the middle and ask, “Where was I?”  That has happened with my blog too.

Where was I? Oh yeah, in Sabah from mid December to mid January.  First, we flew up from Kuching, Sarawak to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah.  Then, we took buses from KK to Sandakan, and then on to Tawau.  I guess I better post a bunch of photos so I can remember some of the highlights.

Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia, at 4095 meters (13,435 feet).  We passed it on our bus ride from KK to Sandakan.

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Sandakan

More views of the sea, this time the Sulu Sea.

Tawau

After more views of the Sea, we went hiking in an incredible forest reserve called Bukit Gemok.

So where was I? Oh yeah, some more stories to tell about Doha, Qatar.  I will save those for later.

Catting around Kuching

From Laos, we had a short stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Then, we headed out for a five week exploration of East Malaysia on the island of Borneo.  Even though the states of Sarawak and Sabah are part of Malaysia, on arrival by air from Kuala Lumpur, we were directed through immigration and our passports stamped.

Our first stop was Kuching, the capital of Sarawak.  In bahasa malay (Malay language), Kuching means Cat, so cats are a big theme for the city.  Some historians suggest Kuching comes from Mata Kuching, (cat eye), the name of a longan or lychee like fruit that was found wild along the Sarawak river.

mata-kucing-buah
Courtesy of https://maryrschong.wordpress.com/

The main areas for our exploration were the Orangutan center, Orchid Garden, and Waterfront.

Orangutan Center

Orchid Garden

The banner shows the new foot bridge over the Sarawak river that recently opened. This allowed us to hike over to the Orchid Garden in the Government building area.  Prior to this, a taxi or water taxi would have been required.  There are just hundreds of beautiful orchids and other flowers spread over a huge area.  Here are a few examples that I think show the limitations of my iPhone camera instead of the expansive displays:

 

Waterfront