I took a cab to the golf-course condominium complex my friend Yan was staying at during her month at home. She's from Malaysia but works in London now (we met in college).
Outside the residences there was a security booth. We have these in China too, but it's typically run by a chubby old man who leaves his shirt untucked and sits around smoking - not exactly a formidable first line of a defense. Plus, if you're a white woman, from personal experience, I know they never stop and question you, wherever you walk in. Not so in Malaysia.
The security quizzed me on which building I was going to and whom I was visiting. It was serious stuff, and every time we entered throughout the weekend it was the same. Yan said it was necessary, that Malaysia has violent crime issues.
I slept a couple more hours, then we jumped in the pool, and then headed downtown to eat our way through Kuala Lumpur:
First stop was KLCC, the mall below the Petronas towers.
We ate lunch at Madame Kwan's - an upscale version of typical Malaysian food. Yan figured since I only had three days it was best not to press our digestive luck, so rather than eat street food we stuck to restaurants.
Lunch was delicious:
|nasi lemak - typical Malaysian food: Curry chicken with rice soaked in coconut cream|
|mmm...shaved ice with rose syrup to cool off the palate|
Eating was the highlight of the trip. Malaysian food is so good - it has Chinese, Indian and Western influences, and lots of dishes are made with fresh coconut milk.
Throughout the weekend the trick was to avoid the holiday crowds: Ramadan is going on, and right after sunset the restaurants fill up with people breaking fast.
For afternoon snack we stopped into a cafe for pulled tea, Malaysian coffee and toast sandwiches with a big pat of butter and coconut jelly:
The tea is made from black tea and condensed milk. It's poured from a height before it's served to give it a frothy consistency (hence the name). This kind of snack used to be typical of roadside cafes, Yan said, but that culture of people wiling away the day in such places is disappearing, and what remains is the post-modern, mall food-court version (which is where we had ours).
Before heading home we got drinks. I had a pina colada - mandatory vacation drink.