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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jalan Petaling Market

Kuala Lumpur—just like I imagined a South Asian city. And no culture shock. Thanks to travel to Mexico and Europe and our recent trips to different cultures (South Texas and Hawaii helped, believe it or not) and especially Disney World. LOL but seriously, exploring the various fake sets of other countries (like Africa and South Asia) really acclimatized my mind. Everything looks and seems vaguely familiar thanks to good old fake Disney World.
The Malaysian people are an attractive mixture of Indians, Asians and the local Malay, which look a little Polynesian to me.
Breakfast at the hotel was fabulous. Our waiter offered us their complimentary, city- renowned croissants. WOW. I’m not a pastry girl. It is dry, flaky and tasteless in my opinion. I never order it for a treat. I prefer other treats. However, their Danishes and croissants were crispy on the outside, warm buttery and chewy on the inside and I must say, I never tasted pastries as good. I was so full, as they were complimentary on top of the muesli I had ordered. We didn’t eat a thing again all day until supper time. BTW, no pork on any menus here—they eat beef bacon.
We took a cab to Central Market and then walked to China Town and the famous Jalan Petaling market. Adventure! The traffic is crazy—they drive on the wrong side of the road like the Brits and cut each other off non-stop. At the market 3 Malay young thugs stocked us, waiting for the perfect time to rob us. Peter watched them cautiously for about 10 minutes--they followed us as we went in and out of market stalls. Finally they gave up as we proved to be no easy targets. However, they would have scored big time had they robbed us—Peter had $1000 Canadian in his pocket plus my digital Rebel was in my backpack. The market was fascinating with local handcrafts and textiles. My girls would love it! Bartering is harder than I imagined—the Malay people will reject a good offer!
I miraculously found the Chinese market by reading a map despite our inability to find any street signs. We came upon several street venders selling drinks in bags to sip with a straw and fruit. Suddenly the venders panicked and loaded up their carts with wild looks in their eyes and began running down the street, pushing their carts. Peter and I were in awe of such excitement and wondered what in the world was going down. Peter said, “May be the cops are coming.” Sure enough within minutes a giant paddy wagon arrived filled with cops and preceded to drive up on the pedestrian lane we were walking on and they all jumped out and headed after the stalls running away wildly—excitement!
The Jalan Petaling is a night market that comes alive to sell knock-offs. It is crowded, has super narrow passage ways and smells like back stage at a circus with a bucket of dead fish. No pregnant woman could have survived the market without gagging constantly from the aromas. Peter scored two “Ralph Lauren” Polo’s for about $15 Canadian. I scored some Armani sunglasses for $5. We had to be so careful, because every time I unearthed my camera from our backpack, a few unsavory looking characters became way too interested in us. Caught a taxi back after convincing one driver to take us for 15 ringgits as the trip their only cost 10 R. They all said the traffic was much worse at that time of night and wouldn’t take us for 10R. Peter couldn’t contain his fear of the wild traffic and driving on the way back to the hotel and blurted out a panicked, “watch it!” from the back seat at one point—the driver was NOT amused. Off to the world’s oldest rainforest today—taking a bus for 3h and the a boat for another 3 and then our hosts at “Travellers Home” meet us at the river and drive us to their small home-stay style resort.

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Blogger Kitty71 said...

I have to say I am giggling at Peter's reaction to the driving.. I'd probably have a hard time containing myself as well :D

August 14, 2010 at 9:51 AM  

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