We were in Malaysia for less than 48 hours, but we fit in a couple of things while we were there.
The first thing and my favorite of the things we did in Kuala Lumpur were the Batu Caves. I guess it’s not saying much that it was my favorite considering we only did the two things, but it was really cool! It actually started raining on our way there and decided to stop about two minutes after we finally gave in and bought rain jackets. The steps climbing up felt like a good work out, but I say that any time I have to climb more than two flights of stairs. Even when I’m in good shape, steps kill me. It was worth it though. It was interesting to see inside the caves and get a good look around. In the caves we met some friendly monkeys and a chicken we were quite surprised to see there. The Lord Murugan Statue at the bottom of the steps is of a Hindu deity and it is the largest statue in Malaysia.
I’m glad I enjoyed the Batu Caves because I didn’t quite enjoy the other place we visited. After finishing up at the Batu Caves, we took the subway and a taxi to Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. It is said to be the world’s largest walk in aviary. The first thing I saw after we got our tickets and walked into the enclosure was a rat. The second thing I saw was an injured bird. Throughout the park, I believe I saw two or three more injured birds. There were some nice areas where the birds weren’t in smaller cages and were free to fly around parts of the aviary. But overall, I wasn’t super happy with my visit.
Plus I’ve met some people in Shanghai who are really passionate about animal rights. Of course, I care about animals and don’t want them to be harmed. But to be honest, I never really, truly thought about certain aspects of animal rights including the question if zoos and animal parks are the right thing for animals. I am still debating that issue with myself. I think these types of places can have a lot of positives, but people have also pointed out the negatives to me. So with these thoughts weighing on my mind I felt especially iffy about this park.
Below are some of the pictures from the nice areas of the park. These birds were in open areas and seemed well taken care of.
Below is one of the birds that was injured. The horn on top of its head was partially broken off. It’s just hard to say because I don’t know what the details are or why the bird was injured or why the other birds were injured.This blog went off the track of being light hearted, but these are just some of the realities of what I saw when traveling.
To lighten the mood back up (or well at least change the topic), I’ll share the interesting conversation I had with the taxi driver who took us to the bird park. After me and my friend got in the car, he asked where we were from. My friend said Canada, and I hesitantly said America. Sometimes my answer ignites conversations I’m just not in the mood for. And oh man, it got me into an interesting conversation this time. The taxi driver said something along the lines of Obama being good friends with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. His tone was a little strange, but I didn’t know how to take that statement but to assume it was a good thing. I honestly and embarrassingly admit I had no knowledge of Malaysia’s government or leaders. Usually I like to research some info about the countries I visit, but I don’t always put the biggest emphasis on knowing about politics. Now I’ve realized it might be a good idea. At the very least, I should have an understanding of the country’s relationship with America. Anyway, I remarked that it sounded like a good thing. Then he said again that oh yeah they were really good friends. After that, he went on a long rant about the Malaysian Prime Minister stealing millions of dollars and using it for personal use. He told us how corrupt the man was and said Obama had done nothing to help solve the problem. I forgot the details of everything he said and how I responded, but mostly I just awkwardly nodded my head or said things like “oh” or “hmm.” At one point I did ask what it was that he expected Obama and the government of America to do as he had contradicted himself a couple of times saying Obama should take care of it while also saying that Razak was too powerful to get in trouble or be taken out of office. It was only about a 10 minute taxi ride, but it ended up feeling a lot longer than that. Though the conversation was a bit uncomfortable and tiring at the time, I do remember feeling interested and I, to a certain extent, enjoyed talking with him. It’s always interesting to learn more about a country through the thoughts and complaints of the citizens. But it was also frustrating that the man ranted so much to me as if he expected me to do something or expected America to solve the problems of Malaysia. Don’t get me wrong, when necessary I believe countries should take action to help other countries. It’s just that I felt his expectations were a bit much, and he was quite angry but there was nothing I could personally do to help fix the situation. The truth is that, when I’m traveling, telling people where I’m from always makes me a little weary. It just feels like there’s always someone who has something to say about America especially our politics. I just want to talk about the awesome adventures we have all been on. If you want to read more details about the scandal with Razak, I’ve included this article which is from the summer but I think gives a good summary of what happened.
After visiting these two places, we headed back to our hostel. We got dinner at a local restaurant to bring back to our hostel. Then we relaxed and washed laundry. We were both so excited that the hostel had a washing machine that we could use. That’s another reality of being a traveler who packs lightly; washing machines are a lovely sight.
The owner of the hostel was really wonderful! She was so kind and helpful. And I also met an interesting girl staying at the hostel who was from South Africa. She was a successful restaurant owner but it was a high stress job and her life revolved around the restaurant. She finally realized she needed to step away from it and find a life she was happier with. She decided to close the restaurant and spend time traveling to other countries.
Meeting kind and interesting people is one of the best parts about traveling. Malaysia wasn’t all positives for me, but I still really enjoyed the experience and wish I could have stayed longer. Traveling doesn’t always included a series of perfect events. In my case it really doesn’t, and I like it that way. I like meeting all kinds of people, having interesting conversations, learning new things and having some mishaps. These are the things that make traveling so great.