My Introduction to Malaysia

I just got back from a quick trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  It was my first time visiting both the city and the country so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I thought it might be busy and a bit crazy like Jakarta, but I had also heard it was more like Singapore.  I think it was an interesting mix between the two.  We took the train from the airport to the hotel, something you definitely wouldn't do in Jakarta.  
A KL evening from my hotel room
We also took the train to the office the following morning.  It was absolutely packed, but fortunately we only needed to travel one stop over.  On the way up to the office, I noticed that the elevator had floor 12A and no 14th floor.  Apparently the number 4 is bad luck in China, so some buildings skip that floor (kind of like 13 for us).  It was strange though that they skipped 14 but had a 4th floor.
No 14th Floor
There was a good view of the surrounding areas from the office.  There were many high rises, but also quite a few areas with trees and parks.  There was also plenty of construction, with a crane just outside the building.  During our meetings I was introduced to the general manager of a company we work with a lot, and I was impressed to see that it was a Muslim woman.  This is a big difference to what I saw in Indonesia, and it was encouraging to see a woman in such a high position there.
View from the office
One of the things I've learned with my recent work travels in Asia is how different toilets work between cultures.  The first time I went into the restroom I walked into a stall and realised there was no toilet paper.  I walked back out and there was a big roll on the wall, but no hand towels.  In Indonesia they use kleenex for paper towels, but I wasn't sure if the toilet paper was supposed to be for the toilet or the towels - or both.  Funny how the little things can be so different.

That evening we took a quick trip into the city centre to see the Petronas Towers.  It was raining which made it a bit hard to see, but I was surprised that they weren't taller.  With the light rain, the big tower of lanterns for Chinese New Year, and the fountains lit up with coloured lights it was a nice atmosphere.
The Petronas Towers
The fountains outside the Petronas Towers
A tower of lanterns for Chinese New Year
View from the hotel
The following day we drove out to a factory about an hour away in a town called Senawang.  It was a lot quieter than the busy city, and gave me a better glimpse into how the people there live.  The houses there were colourful two story units stacked next to each other, and each one had a metal gate in front followed by a concrete area for the car.  Yards were a definite luxury, but the houses looked like they were well kept and reasonably sized.  

For lunch we went to a place called Bigreen Leaf.  It was the place the locals went for lunch, with a buffet of all kinds of different dishes.  We were each given a tray with a banana leaf on it, which is what they used as plates.  There was an array of rice and different dishes with lots of spices.  The locals were all eating with their hands, but I took the easy route and used a fork.  It was good food overall, but I had no idea what anything I ate was.  It's probably best that way!
Banana leaf lunch
the restaurant 
After that we headed to the airport for the flight to Singapore and then back to Australia.  It was a good introduction to the Malaysian culture, and I'm sure I'll learn more on my next trip back up.

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