Muddy Estuary

We didn’t spend much time in Manila, but from the short time we did spend there I came to the conclusion that, this would be the hardest in place in the world to be a bus driver. 40 minutes to drive 4 kilometres through the afternoon traffic, I would have walked had it not been so hot. Whilst sitting in a taxi chewing my nails at the thought of missing our flight, I remembered one more thing I loved about the Philippines, Presto Creams Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. The delicious snack, perfect for dipping, gave me a heavenly sensation every time they touched my lips. And so we left the Philippines, but not before the government could fleece me one last time and charge a 500 peso departure tax. Just to give you an idea of how much that is, 500 pesos buys 83 packets of Presto Creams!

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Kuala Lumpur, which literally translates as ‘muddy estuary’ was founded at the confluence of the Gombak River as a tin mining settlement. The currency over here is the Malaysian Ringgit (I’m thinkin about my doorbell, when you gonna Ringgit, when you gonna Ringgit?). The first thing I noticed when riding the Light Transit Rail (LTR) is that the voice on the tannoy at times resembles a broad Geordie accent, ‘next station, plaza RakYAD!’ Maybe this is how Geoff from Byker Grove makes a living these days…

Merdeka (freedom) Square, isn’t actually a typical paved public square, but a former cricket pitch. The pitch was where Malaysia’s independence was proclaimed in 1957. The surrounding area has some fine colonial architecture, a nice contrast to the modern urban sprawl…

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Malaysia has a surprisingly large population of South Asian inhabitants, largely due to the fact they were shipped over to work here by the British during the colonial days. We happened to stumble across a busy marketplace in ‘Little India’ as the area is commonly known. A festival was taking place near the Sri Mahamariamman temple where the local Hindus were smashing hundreds of coconuts on the road. If a coconut does not break, it is said to be a bad oman, I would just say you’re not throwing it hard enough…

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Poor Coconuts

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Sri Mahamariamman

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Spot the Difference

One of the things I was looking forward to most in Malaysia, had to be indulging in some world famous food. On the walk through Little India we called into a banana leaf mess. It is exactly as the name describes, a mess served on a banana leaf, delicious.

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The Pertronas Towers are almost as iconic to Kuala Lumpur as the hanging monkey is to Hartlepool. Once the world’s tallest skyscrapers until 2004, the towers can be seen from almost anywhere in KL. I obviously wasn’t going to part with my well earned Ringgits just to climb a tower, but I discovered a great view point from the Skybar of a nearby five star hotel. Just make sure you’re clean shaven and walk with a purpose, they will never know you’re not a guest…

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A few more sights were taken in before the heat got the better of us. On a number of occasions during our stay in KL we ate at a popular restaurant chain ‘Steven’s corner’. When researching the restaurant I found out that the owner SC Sathisilan Aka Steven, was arrested after battering his neighbour for trying to move some chairs from out the front of his own restaurant. A Facebook group was started for people to ‘boycott the vile thug’s restaurant’, but in all fairness, if Charles Bronson owned a restaurant that made tandoori chicken as good as Steven, I’d still eat there.

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Masjid Negara

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Istana Negara

I’d never fancied coming to Peninsular Malaysia, nor had I planned to until the Philippines government insisted I needed an exit flight to enter their country. So far I can say I’m nothing but impressed with the amazing food and super friendly people, and I’ve yet to be ripped off!

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