In the middle of our South East Asia trip we found a sort of sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur. We arrived in KL at a high-rise apartment with views on views on views (see above) – except, of course, when the torrential monsoon season storms sweep in and obliterate it all in a white cloudy mist – with no plans, no expectations and just a lot of dirty laundry. It was bizarre being hosted by my family who used to run a small diary farm outside of a small town in South Africa in this apartment in this monster-city that is 40% highways and mostly skyscrapers and giant malls. Even more bizarre that my cousin, this totally Afrikaans boy who grew up on this farm, is now speaking Mandarin and even reading some Chinese characters and totally adapting to life in KL with his awesome Chinese girlfriend. By ‘bizarre’ I obviously mean crazy impressive. But what a privilege to be able to reconnect and take a week under your family’s wing in a foreign place.
(And to do a load or two of washing for free.)
What followed was a week of being shown around the sprawling city of Kuala Lumpur by the best tour guides ever. We were shown around all the corners of the city – from the old city, to the food markets, to skyscraper central, to the Chinese temples and the deep dark caves (you haven’t experienced darkness like this), to a bar on top of a repurposed helipad (with no railings!), to cool coffee shops hosted in ex-brothels, to the escape room in the mall (where we wholly failed).
Also, by ‘shown around’ I mean ‘taken out to eat’.
Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan Asian hub, where tons of Asian expats from all over the continent make it work together. It’s an affordable Singapore, just without all those fines and rules and taxed alcohol. So it’s basically any Asian food lover’s dream – the street and restaurant food is next level, in terms of tastiness and diversity. And my cousin Hendrik has unbeatable taste in food locations. From the famous incomparable Nasi Lemak at Village Park, to Chinese hawker stalls, to the best Korean shaved ice Bingsu deserts, to Jalan Alor street food and moshi, to Indian breakfasts and a mooncake festival Tan family dinner (thanks for having us Ameline and sorry Joel embarrassed himself in front of your family with his terrible chopsticks etiquette!). KL is a whirlwind of food memories that will unlikely be topped in such concentration ever again.
I even lost my heart at that unassuming smoothie stand when they whipped up the best drink I’ve ever had – 30% watermelon, 30% lychee, 40% soursop.
I mean can you even handle that?
So this is just a photo post of my impressions of the city as we were led around it by Hendrik and Ameline – a sort of familial city scape of a foreign place.
Kuala Lumpur to us is food, family, friends and clean clothes. And reading a lot of very silly TripAdvisor reviews.