Where do I even begin?! Here we are in Southeast Asia and I have absolutely no idea what my experience is going to be like, let alone our experience here as a family. I have so many first impressions of so many different things that I am going to highlight those impressions, but may not go into a ton of detail, because some alone deserve their very own blog post!
My husband had told me MANY times before we left the states to come here that it was going to be hot. Like really, really hot and that I would pretty much get my face slapped daily by the humidity. He was not joking. Although it’s not just my face, it is actually my entire body that feels like it is beaten by the humidity day in and day out. I am not joking. I am currently sitting on the 22nd floor of our temporary residence out by the pool on a visually beautiful evening and I am sweating. It is 8:00pm here. Yahoo weather is telling me that it is currently 83 degrees with 94% humidity so it actually feels like 100 degrees. Usually the humidity is 100% so I am quite shocked at the moment that the humidity level dropped ‘so low’. Fortunately drinking red wine at the moment is helping.
Me & the Hubs Sweating on our 1st KL Date Night!
Ariane Relaxing in the Pool & Staying Cool!
Kuala Lumpur is a Real Melting Pot
It doesn’t take long to get intrigued by the melting pot of races and religions that are represented in KL. Indians, Malays, Chinese and many others that I am okay with saying that I may not be perfectly sure as to where they originate from. It is a fascinating mix of cultures; a seamless blending of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cultures. And this melting pot of different people isn’t just in certain areas, it is everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you go, the mall, restaurants, Chinatown, Little India, street food stalls, our daughter’s new school, the beauty of differing races and religions is evident and in my opinion it is rather intriguing. Just a huge melting pot of beautifully different people living their lives.
Kuala Lumpur is a Mix of Modern & Old
So this caught my attention rather immediately on our drive into KLCC from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and has continued to catch my attention anytime we go out driving to different areas within the city. At one moment you could be looking at what appears to be crumbling buildings or houses, the next moment at beautiful, old historical buildings or mosques or embassies, of which most seem to be relatively well maintained and/or well restored, and then the next moment at modern, architecturally fascinating buildings like the Petronas Towers. I guess you could call it a City of Contrasts. One second you are looking at luxury hotels, grand shopping malls with world class brands and then the next second you are driving down an uneven road that isn’t as well maintained and notice food stalls with people cooking directly on the streets. It is quite captivating and I think it makes it rather unique and gives the city a special flavor.
The Petronas Towers
Rooftop at Our Temporary Residence
Ariane & the KL Tower
The Every Night Lights
Food is Ubiquitous
You. Will. Not. Starve. Here. It is rather impossible. Food is everywhere! From top of the line restaurants to a random street stall. The question isn’t where should we go eat? It is what type of food do you want to eat?! Chinese? Malay? Indian? Japanese? Western food? They even have McDonald’s y’all! I have spotted KFC, Burger King, T.G.I Friday’s, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Hard Rock Cafe and so on and so on. Now we haven’t eaten at any of those places, because there are just way too many other places to eat, but every once in a while it just gives you the comfort of home (where I also didn’t eat at those places, but you get my point!). And seriously the Ramen here is insane! I could eat chicken ramen every single day. If I could sum up my first impression of what it will be like to be here surrounded by such amazing cuisines, I would easily call it a culinary journey. One that I am happy to be on and one that I will continue to share with you all.
Can’t remember what this was, but it was so good! Lunch at Central Market.
Ramen, Ramen Ramen!
Traffic & Driving in KL is Like HELL!
So I have never formally been introduced to hell, but we all have our own assumptions of what hell would be like. After witnessing the traffic and the way in which people drive here I am pretty sure my assumption of hell is spot on. The streets are extremely congested. There is a distinct lack of pedestrian crossing. What does this mean? This means that there is a lot of scary jaywalking going on. Not sure they know what a crosswalk is and even if they do some cars and I am going to go out on a limb and say 95% of motorbikes just don’t feel that they are very important. Not just about crosswalks, but about that important traffic color that I will refer to as RED. It also means STOP! I swear you should never even attempt to walk across the street if you don’t want to risk having a body part removed by a crazy lane weaving motorbike. We almost witnessed it. The poor man. He was close to being catapulted into the air and landing somewhere minus a few limbs. Okay I am going to stop there on this topic, because this warrants an entire blog post. Did I mention that they drive on the opposite side of the car and the opposite side of the road?
A Suit? A Sweatshirt? A Jacket?
So due to the weather I am always wearing a light dress, preferably one that won’t show any sweat, because ladies and gentlemen it is hot. I know that I said it before, but it is worth repeating. I literally die when I see business professionals in suits and ties dining outside like it is a comfortable 60 degrees! I sweat for them. I don’t know how they pull it off. I have seen people wearing sweatshirts and jackets on a ‘chilly’ KL morning. By chilly I mean low 80’s with 100% humidity. It is quite interesting though. Throughout the course of a day you will see women wearing shorts, dresses, t-shirts, tank tops, heels, sandals and then you may also see women wearing burkas and hijabs. I seriously don’t know how they do it, how they wear the burkas and hijabs because it is damn hot, but it is KL and the different cultures represented here result in many different clothing choices often times because of cultural norms
The People of KL
Our experience thus far, it would be easy to say that the people of KL have been very nice. The majority of people are extremely cordial, will take the time to acknowledge you with a friendly smile and with sheer adoration of Ari, while others may stare probably because we do not fit the typical mould of how the majority of people look here. Miss Ari’s curly hair is ridiculously popular with people here! The way Ari is treated you would think she was a celebrity! I look forward to sharing more about how kids truly do run Kuala Lumpur.
Relatively Good English
Thankfully I knew that moving to Malaysia was not going to result in a huge language barrier. Although the primary language is Malay, just about everyone you come across is able to speak English. The accent may be a little thick at times, but it is easy to have a full conversation, with little to no confusion. This has helped tremendously with our transition. I will share with you all soon some of my encounters that I have had due to the different languages. They are fairly entertaining! Just when I thought I knew what a Rest Room meant, I quickly realized that I did not.
All in all, my first impression of Kuala Lumpur has been great! Antoine and I truly do embrace differences and we allow those differences, whether ways of life or cultural differences to help grow us as people. Some people around here may be crazy drivers and wear warm clothing when it is hot out, but the food is damn good, the people are fascinating and the city is absolutely beautiful. Cheers to our differences!