#3 Malaysia, July 7, 2009

Dear Everybody,

In Georgetown we really enjoyed the Chinese food from little stalls—one day we had pork, duck, rice and veggies—so good and very busy, too, with local patronage. And Marco is doing amazingly well with chopsticks although sometimes we use forks.

Another morning we went to Penang Hill, up a funicular (that took 30 minutes) and had a very fancy lunch topped off with Bombe Alaska; it was like Baked Alaska but with added fruit and with a flaming rum sauce that ‘baked’ the meringue. Wow!

 

 

 

 

Buses and more buses—now one to the Snake Temple where they really did have about 20 live snakes all over the altars—some poisonous—which we photographed. Marco petted a big python and an albino python.

On the 4th of July we got a bus and returned to KL as it was difficult to go cross country to our next destination. We also heard from some other backpackers that the Bird Park in KL really was great, so we decided to go

there on Sunday, from Chinatown, where we were staying. The Chinatown Night Market was a cacophony of hawkers and shoppers. They fill the main street and some side streets completely with merchandize stalls every night. “Look miss, looooook! Very cheap price!” Marco bought a laser flashlight.

The Islamic Museum was exquisite—a beautiful building with many beautiful displays. After that the Bird Park kept us hopping for three hours. We saw, identified and photographed many birds culminating with the huge Rhinoceros Hornbills that were flying free within the aviary. We also saw storks, other hornbills, bulbuls, peacocks, flamingoes, pelicans, orioles, doves, herons, scarlet ibis, and many others, one of which pooped on my head! Luckily the white poop blended in with my white hair and so no serious consequences.

We walked to the museum but took a taxi back and also to the Bird Park after lunch. I know, as a backpacker, that’s cheating but KL is really not a very walkable city—the streets are like spaghetti. On the map one’s destination is one km (as the crow flies) but as a tourist walks (in the hot and humid atmosphere,) it takes two km to actually get there.

Sometimes Marco and I buy a box of cornflakes and then whip across the street in the mornings to buy cold milk and juice. There seem to be 7/11 stores well distributed in the hotel areas. This gives us a cheap, quick breakfast of comfort food.

Marco decided his hair was too long so we visited the hair salon across the street where he got a stylish haircut. The stylist straightened it while blowcombing so Marco looked like one of the Beetles, but it went back to ‘normal’ (kind of curly) with the next shampoo.

A trip to the Butterfly Park provided another photography opportunity, although they’re a little quick to catch on camera, especially with their wings open. When we exited we saw a wonderful display of both live and dead (mounted) insects. Once again the Rhinoceros Beetle was the star of the show. One live bug was the ‘man face bug’. It really had a man’s face on its yellow back.

Today we took the LRT to the bus station and then a bus for three hours to Jerentut, the jumping off place for the Taman Negara Forest where we will go tomorrow. This forest is 150 million years old.

If you haven’t read “Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman I’d strongly recommend you do so. He’s such a good thinker, but then he grew up in Minneapolis so that figures! I’m listening to it on my iPod.

All the best, Carol

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