The lady behind the counter smiles and I say: “Hotel Istana”.
She answers: “90 ringitt”!
I give her 9 banknotes of 10 ringitt each and she gives me a ticket. With this ticket I walk to the first taxi driver and a moment later 'we're on our way to Kuala Lumpur (KL). A drive which will take one hour.
Difficult?? Not at all. You're in the Far East. You're a globetrotter on his way to a metropolis in wonderland. If I didn't want this, I should have booked one of those well organized bus trips to the Austrian Alps. Malaysia is a country, where you can do a lot on your own. Once you've come to an agreement, people will always stick to that.
You'll notice, while you drive into the city of Kuala Lumpur that there are many beautiful, tall buildings. It looks like a beauty competition. Above all, the Petrona Towers (the tallest in the world) excel in beauty. The city looks very green. They therefore call Kuala Lumpur the Garden City. We mustn’t forget to go to China Town and to the Batu Caves in the next few days!
When I arrive, my hotel seems to be situated perfectly in the "Golden Triangle" of KL. Near all the air-conditioned shopping malls. And now……time to relax!
A week before my departure in Nederland I met a Malaysian, who works for the New Strait Times. This is an English newspaper, you'll receive in your hotel every morning. The man takes care of the internet-site of the newspaper. I was telling him, that I was going to Malaysia for holidays. He joked:
“Well, don’t forget to try our local food: McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut!”, he was joking.
That's something, that we definitely don't want!!,. But there are a lot of the fastfood-restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
That evening it's hard to make a choice: what and where are we going to eat? Indian, Chinese, Malaysian or Western? What shall we do? There's a lot of choice. We decide to go for Chinese food. A waiter is coming to our table and he asks: “Steamboat, sir?”.
We've never eaten that, so we choose "Steamboat". After ten minutes he brings a Chinese fondue pan, filled with broth, to our table. A big plate with all kind of fish follows: the normal fish (head, body and tail are separated), squid, prawn (big ones and little ones), chicken, beef, a piece of jellyfish (!) and crab. Beside our plates there is a spoon with a little net in the round part of that spoon. There are dishes with vegetables and Chinese noodles. I look horrified at the jellyfish. I don't have to eat that,
The Chinese waiter explains, that you must fry the fish in the hot broth then you must put it in your bowl and the.......eat it. You can make the broth more tasteful with the vegetables.
“Wait, I’ll do it for you!’, he says.
And he puts some pieces of fish in the broth. A lovely smell fills the restaurant. A moment later he fills a bowl with delicious fish and gives that to my wife. Then he takes my bowl: I see the head of a fish and a piece of jellyfish in my bowl!!
What should I do? Order something else to eat? Can I? I don't dare!
The Chinese waiter looks at me. I see his face, I know he is thinking "That foreigner.......I'll pamper him with a nice head of a fish and a delicious piece of jellyfish...".
I ‘ll have to be strong. I’ll just have to bite through.....Everybody in the restaurant is watching me.
I taste and …….YES!!!! Delicious! I want more. A lovely dinner!
Dead tired we go back to the hotel to enjoy a long sleep.
Our holiday has started!