Saturday, July 18, 2009

Globe Trotting: My Infatuation with Kuala Lumpur.

I never knew I could ever get strongly infatuated with Kuala Lumpur. Well, when it comes to countries, US is my first love, Japan a Crush and Kuala Lumpur an infatuation. Well, being a Libra, I am usually prone to crush and infatuations but the good part is that I always express my feelings. When it comes to love I am choosy, in life I just experienced one true love, one is US and other can’t disclose the name!! Come on...

When I was about to land in KL, I had an image that city would be like any other city not as fancy or developed as Seattle with skylines. When I landed at Airport I was pleasantly surprised to know that airport is the 13th busiest in the world and 7th in Asia. Exit was from terminal A to terminal B, I was thinking of a walk but I was surprised to see a modern aero-station used for inter terminal transportation.
I was there to attend the 13th Asian Chlor-Alkali Conference with a colleague from an associated company headquartered in Tokyo. I had to attend the conference, as well to interact with few Indian Traders as well executives from Indian Alumna Refineries.
Once I completed the exit formalities, I was surprised to see Airport Limo service, just got the ticket, small queue and limos were lined up. It took me hardly 5 minutes to get in the comfortable Limo. I loved the drive, all green Palm Trees across the airport, gave a tropical look, the most modern infrastructure surprised me. Saw people jogging around as well as cycling.

I checked in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel, one of the best in town, right next to Patronas Twin Towers. Well, first day afternoon, i was done with the meetings & refreshed. I was so desperate to explore the city, it was like, you see something and fall in love, and the desperation is natural. I along with my colleague, left the hotel to explore the shopping area, first we hit Petronas twin tower, I was surprised to see all international brands, first I thought as if I am visiting Macy’s or Nordstrom in US but I found KL malls much better than the ones I saw in Garment District in New York.
Next stop was Pavilion Mall, one of the most modern malls, with food court, Cineplex’s and designer shops. Later I went to Mid Valley, one of the mega malls. On my way back to hotel I saw KL Tower, similar to Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.
My female colleague made me visit hundreds of female shops, so I am sort of an expert after an extensive window shopping.
I learned that country has 13 states, with tropical climate, Malay being the major community followed by sizeable Chinese and Indians. One of the KL charm is that all cultures are living in Harmony. Giant Muslim mosques to Chinese and Indian temples, from China town to little India, is the beauty one would always admire.
Second day of conference we got done in the afternoon, got a cab and reached Genting Highland, KL version of Murree, the hill station. We reached there, whole place communicated one word THE CITY OF ENTERTAINMENT. It is a place on Titiwangsa Mountains on the border between the states of Pahang and Selangor. The place to me is Las Vegas of Malaysia, also came across legal casinos. Surprisingly I got to see a hotel with over 6,000 rooms, one of the largest in the world. Same place hosted famous Zee Cine Awards as well as Lux Style Awards in the past.
We had a lot of fun but my colleague was Burger King Aficionado, she made me eat BK, everyday, in the end I also fell in love with the Giant Fire Burger. During the night, I ended up drinking at one of the Posh Discos known as SULTAN, in the basement of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

It was weekend, my colleague had to leave for Karachi but I extended my stay because it was weekend and I was expecting my “United State International Visitors Leadership Program” friend Zaireen in town from Singapore.
After extensive trip all across in just few, I felt bit exhausted, I thought of spending few hours at the luxurious SPA, I went for Steam, Sauna, Jacuzzi and Swim followed by Massage.
In the afternoon, I chose the countryside and history trip option with the hotel tourism unit. First I visited Aborigines town, the original people, living topless, and the most primitive society living in tropical jungle. Got to see their museum and met few aborigines’ girls.
Later I went to the most interesting Hindu temple, known as BATU CAVE, it is dedicated to the Hindu Lord MURUGAN, cave is said to be 400 millions year old. To reach inside the cave, one has to climb over 270 steps. I joined Hindu Pooja session, got the PARSAD and well wishes. It was an amazing experience, complete tranquility and peace surrounded inside the cave.

In the evening I was back in the hotel, got a phone call from Zaireen, that she would see me in the hotel lobby. I was excited to see her after our US journey; I was glad to see her cute daughter Afreen and her hubby. She drove me to Saloma Theater Restaurant, located in the Golden Triangle, surrounded by breathtaking view of skyscrapers with the backdrop of magnificent Petronas Twin Towers. I was intrigued with the Saloma, Zaireen explained to me that “ Saloma is the name of lady, who captured the hearts of Malaysian, she ws foremost musician-actor, millions cherished her performance on silver screen, around three to four decades ago.

When I was in Thailand, I didn’t like the food much, but Malaysian taste, was yummy. Zaireen took me around buffet, it had both the combination of Malay as well as international cuisine, I came across . Assorted satay, rendang ayam, lemang, wok-fried mussel kam heong, sambal udang petai, daging masak hitam manis, ayam goreng mamak style, ikan panggang Portugis, Nyonya chap chai, roasted leg of lamb.

It was Afreen’s first ever Saloma night, she seemed to be enjoying it a lot along with Zaireen.

After food, the Saloma show, mesmerized with upbeat traditional and cultural performances. Saloma Dancers presented a selection of Asia's rich cultural heritage with contemporary and cultural performances. I was also amazed with Minangkabau, Chinese, Indian, Potuguese dances on stage with traditional colorful costumes. The dance medley depict different race, creed, tradition, culture and religion, the sense of respect prevails amongst all community in Malaysia.

During the end of the performances, they asked if anyone wants to get bit of dance training, I ended up on stage, while Zaireen taking my pictures.

It was one of the interesting short trips I would always remember…….

When Zaireen dropped at the hotel, I just said two words I am “ Pleasantly Surprised” and simply infatuated with KL.


z.a.i.r.e.e.n said...

It was good to catch up with you in KL. Pls do visit again, there are a lot more places to go :)

Imran Baloch said...

Hey Zaireen, Thanks alot for taking me out to Saloma.

I am impressed with Malaysia, i will definately visit the place and explore more...

You are always welcome to my Karachi :)