After sticking around in Guangzhou for most of the summer, we’ve had a whirlwind past month traveling all over the place. I wish I could say I’m happy to back in Guangzhou now after our beautiful honeymoon in Kuala Lumpur and Bali, but I wouldn’t mind a little more time relaxing in once-in-a-lifetime settings.
Amaury and I had been planning our honeymoon for as long as we’d planned the wedding and were so excited to head off on our trip. As KL is on the way to Bali, we stopped there for two nights before heading down to the island. Every day of our trip was so full and rich that it seems a shame to rush through it all in one post, so I’ll cover KL here and save Bali for future installments. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to include all our adventures, misadventures, and what ended up happening with the volcano (nothing, we were completely unaffected, although it has been absolutely devastating for local people who live near it both because they have had to evacuate and because tourism has completely stopped in the Mount Agung area. It looks like it will erupt any day now.)
KL is a fascinating, modern, cosmopolitan city with tons of good food and beautiful sights. Just seeing the famous Petronas Towers up close already made the trip worthwhile, and we couldn’t help spending quite a bit of time trying to photograph them from various angles. Tourists swarmed the bottom of them, trying to get the perfect picture, and persistent street vendors tried to get us to buy fishbowl lens for our iPhones to capture the full towers in distorted glory. We spent a relaxed hour wandering around KLCC park under the towers eating delicious pretzels and people watching.
KL is known for having delicious and highly international food options, so imagine our disappointment when on our first night we ended up at a lackluster buffet that purported to have great Latin food, but instead offered bland, tasteless dishes. We skipped dessert there and headed to a place called “Molten Chocolate” to drown our foodie sorrows in chocolate cake and ice cream. After that first restaurant debacle, we vowed not to eat another bad meal the whole trip (fortunately we had no problem meeting that goal moving forward!).
The next day we headed to the KL Bird Park and spent a delightful (really there is no better word to describe it) few hours seeing a variety of rare and international birds up close. My favorite part was having lunch at the park restaurant, which had an open air area where birds could come visit us as we ate.
Making new friends
There was also a “Fish Spa” there with those special fish that nibble your feet and apparently clean them. We tried that, but I spent most of the time yelping and giggling at how ticklish it was.
Next, we head down to the Central Market, a somewhat kitschy market filled with shops selling all kinds of touristy and handicraft items from craft chess sets, to expensive woven rugs, to soaps, to local honey, to beautiful leather bags that Amaury still talks about with slight regret that he didn’t get one. We were actually very good and didn’t buy too many things. After pursuing the colorful, eclectic aisles for a while, we found a massage place and settled in for much-needed foot massages – our feet were well-pampered that day.
Then we rushed back to our hotel to get ready for our exciting dinner reservation. At the recommendation of a friend, we decided to try KL’s Dining in the Dark and were not disappointed. When we arrived, one of the hosts greeted us with a few warm-up games to get us used to the idea of dining in complete darkness. We began by trying to identify three fruits in a mixed fruit juice our suggestions of “banana” and “guava” were met with slightly perplexed stares from the host who recommended we think of simple fruits… it turned out to have apple, orange, and strawberry in it. Next, we had to wear blindfolds and try to find paperclips in a cup of rice. My age-old desire to ace the test kicked in, and I felt a bit stressed out trying to find them… it’s harder than it looks, ok?! We both passed.
KL Dining in the Dark
Finally, we were introduced to our waiter, AK, who led us into the pitch black dining room conga style. As he and most of the other waiters are blind, he navigated the room using clicks, the eco-location method we’d learned about in some podcast a while back. It was really interesting to immediately notice something like that, which we would likely not be aware of at all in our daily lives. At first we were a bit nervous, but then we loosened up with some sips of our wine and started enjoying ourselves.
Every course had multiple bowls/plates and we were encouraged to try to work out what we were eating. Some of the dishes we got spot on, like a chayote salad that Amaury immediately picked out since chayote is a typical Dominican vegetable (I was in the dark on that one… we also made a lot of puns while eating). However, we wrongly thought that each one of our three main dishes had beef in it when they had chicken, fish, and lamb. One that we both got immediately was corn ice cream; that was not our favorite and one of the few things we didn’t finish.
Heading back out to the loud street was a sensory overload after the dark room. We relaxed on the outside patio and looked through the menu of all the dishes we had tried. Then we ended the night at a rum bar where I had a chocolate orange flavored old fashioned and Amaury revealed in his rum flight.
Drinking all the rum
We spent our final morning wandering around KL, exploring the incredible Islamic Art Museum and its extensive museum shop, and then meeting up for lunch with a friend from Amaury’s A-100 class who has been working at the Embassy in KL. A-100 is the term for the training period all foreign service officers go through when they first join the service and feels a bit like a college cohort of close-knit friends. It was fun to swap stories and hear more about his time in Malaysia. Plus we met up over delicious Indian food. KL has a diverse population with people of Malay, Chinese, and Indian descent as well as 46.4% Muslim, 35.7% Buddhist, 8.5% Hindu, 5.8% Christian, and 1.1% Taoist religions. I think this was the closest to authentic Indian food we could get without going to India.
Then it was off to the airport to head down to beautiful Bali, to be covered soon. Here’s Amaury creating his own First Class experience on the flight:
I’ll leave you with this teaser of more beautiful beach pics to come…