If the United States and Indonesia had a baby, and that baby grew up to be a city, it would be something like Kuala Lumpur.
I’m not sure what we were expecting before visiting KL for a long weekend in mid-December, but it definitely impressed us. Our friend Michael, was planning to come visit us during the last two weeks of December, and he wanted to see another country while here. Meanwhile, my friend Jessica from grad school had recently moved to KL as an American diplomat. The timing was perfect for a visit.
KL itself is an interesting place with a mix of ethnic Malays, Chinese and Tamil Indians. The food and language reflect that blend, and every where we went we could speak English. At first we thought we’d speak Indonesian given that Indonesian and Malay are almost identical languages, but then just realized it would be easier to speak English. The city is clean and modern and has everything imaginable from retail stores, food, modern bars and restaurants and cultural sites.
We were thrilled to see two of our closest friends after so long, and felt pampered in Jessica’s luxurious three-bedroom condo with a view of the iconic Petronas Towers. I’m sure it was surreal for Michael to spend such an American-style weekend. We ate authentic Mexican food, ordered Papa Johns, drank cocktails in a speakeasy and visited one of the nicest grocery stores any of us had ever seen. Expats living in KL do not want for anything. Anything. It was a fantastic break.
For us it’s still the little things that get us the most excited. A carpeted bedroom with an adjacent nice bathroom, delivery pizza, baking cookies, a washer and dryer and plenty of other expats around the city to allow us to blend in.
We did some pretty cool things during our time too. We toured a bird garden, saw the national mosque, visited Chinatown, took the Pentronas Towers tour, had an all-you-can-eat sushi brunch, had drinks on a helipad on top of a skyscraper, helped decorate two different apartments for Christmas and had our fair share of Starbucks.
And the best part is that we learned how to use the public transportation system so we’ll know our way when around when visit again during our Southeast Asian travels this summer!
After our amazing weekend it was back to site with Michael for a few days before setting off on our Christmas vacation. More on that to come!