Christmas in Kuala Lumpur

2 Jan

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the 23rd of December tired, hungry and cranky at around 5:00 PM. The bus dropped us at a place called KL Sentral, a mall/sky rail station somewhere in the city. Immediately I ran into 7 Eleven and consumed a highly questionable egg sandwich in order to become a functioning human being again. Carelessly, we hadn’t booked a hostel for KL, leaving us at a loss of where to go. We needed wifi and we needed it fast. We found ourselves in a mall, lugging around our backpacks, in order to find an eatery where we could also get wifi to book a hostel. We found a sandwich shop and eventually found a hostel in Chinatown. We went to the information booth asking how to get to Chinatown, which we knew our hostel was near, and were told to take a certain sky train. When we saw how long the line for tickets was, however, we double checked with another guy who instead told us to take the monorail, which required us going back into and through the mall. After a stuffy ride on the monorail we arrived in rain at our stop and had to run around construction to get to the hostel. Exhausted, we stuffed our faces with McDonalds for dinner, which was conveniently next door, and hung out in bed for the evening.

We really didn’t do much during our time in KL, mostly because of Christmas and Christmas preparations. The three of us had decided we would do a gift exchange yet, we were completely unprepared on Christmas Eve. We decided to go our separate ways for the day and spent the next few hours frantically searching for gifts for each other. It opened our eyes to the sheer amount of malls in KL. Seriously, I think it is the city of malls. I have never seen such a severe concentration of malls – within a ten minute walk from our hostel you could access at least four. Hours and plenty of different malls later we found ourselves back at the hostel. Josh was desperate for a haircut so we went on a walk to a barber that someone at the hostel had recommended to him. The place was tiny, with a single barber playing weirdly erotic Indian music videos on a TV screen. With three other people waiting and the barber clearly taking his time on each customer, I ventured out to the central market, an indoor market in Chinatown with a number of different stands and stores. I wasn’t too impressed with the items being sold as a whole, or with the lack of food so I grabbed a cup of corn before heading back to the barber. After the haircut was finally complete and we returned to the hostel, Angela and I went on a dinner hunt, finding everything closed around us. I had to settle for some street shawarma as my Christmas Eve dinner and Angela didn’t even eat. That evening, in keeping with tradition, Angela and I watched a Christmas Story on her iPad sipping the first bottle of pinot we had had in months.

On Christmas morning we awoke in happy spirits. While Angela and I were going to try and go to mass we had misjudged the distance of the church and wouldn’t make it in time…whoops. Instead, we decided to get haircuts. On the way we stopped at a beautiful bakery and got some nice coffees and a few pastries each, featuring custard and fruit danishes, a Nutella tart, apple crumble tart and an almond croissant. We went to a hair salon in one of the fanciest malls in the area and got a shampoo, cut and blow dry for under 20 dollars. Gotta love Southeast Asia. Afterwards we returned to the hostel and did our gift exchange, which went surprisingly well given the last minute nature of the whole thing. After a celebratory Christmas beer, we set out walking to the Patronas Towers, the twin towers of KL, to take a family Christmas picture in our Santa hats with my newly acquired selfie stick. We wandered around the park in the drizzly weather taking endless selfies and wishing people a Merry Christmas. That evening, we decided to boug it up a bit and ubered to a hotel for a Christmas buffet dinner. Stand out items: cheese, cheese, and more cheese, rolls, seared tuna, lamb shanks, beef, cherry pie and some unidentifiable dessert on a spoon. Exceptionally full, we returned back and went right to bed.

On Boxing Day we slept in far too late and headed to a mall food court for lunch. It was hard to choose between so many options but I decided on a delicious fried chicken with some sort of black pepper sauce and rice. And quite honestly, that was all we accomplished that day. We were going to go to Chinatown, but it started raining yet again, so we bailed and laid around. For dinner, Josh and I returned to the same mall and had Nandos (the first time ever for me) and a pistachio cherry brownie for dessert. It was one of the lazier days of our travels. The following morning we were up bright and early to head to Taman Negara, Malaysia’s national park. We fully realized we hadn’t done much in KL, but knew that we would be back after Taman Negara for a day or two to tackle New Year’s Eve and a few more things.

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