Started off our first day in Kuala Lumpur with a visit to the Batu Caves. Martha and Ashley seemed mostly excited about quaint and exotic religious practices involving offerings of milk and flowers to the local gods. I’m pretty sure their excitement mostly related to getting some little red string bracelets after the offerings. However, my interest was in the monkeys. Wild monkeys running loose amongst tourists….. always a recipe for entertainment. Needless to say, it really made my day when the best entertainment turned out to be with our own little trio. With nobody getting maimed, of course….
Martha and Ashley had purchased the strings of flowers and offerings of milk to bring up the hillside into the caves. There’s a very large run of stairs going up the hill, flanked by a giant gold statue on one side, and a small temple on the other side. After getting up a few flights of stairs. this monkey comes bounding down the stairs and crosses Martha and I both before accosting Ashley. He goes straight for her bag of flowers and milk and grabs hold of it with both hands trying to snatch it from her. Ashely didn’t let go at first and there were a few seconds where she was playing tug of tar with this little monkey. The realization that she was in the midst of a physical altercation with a wild monkey in Malaysia may have hit her shortly thereafter, and with that she let go of her offering bag. The monkey tore into it and grabbed the bottle of milk and ran off with it on a handrail next to the stairs. We were all looking at this monkey in disbelief.
I said: “Alright monkey, now what? You’re not gonna be able to open that bottle of milk.”
Just then, the monkey opens the bottle of milk, stabilizing it with his feet and removing the screwcap with both hands.
“Well played, monkey.”
What more can you say? He starting dumping the milk and lapping it up with one hand, displaying utter contempt for our petty offerings.
The caves were beautiful though, and the experience at this tourist attraction provided a nice window to just how different Malaysia is from anywhere else we’ve visited in Asia. This destination was very much Hindu, and much of it felt like a visit to India. The music, the incense, the explosive bright colors everywhere, the smells from the food stalls… a great bit of it seemed like it could be somewhere in India.
There were a few fruit stands amongst the food vendors, and one of them had a big stock of Durian for sale. Ashley had been saying she wanted to try it, so we had to take the opportunity. After being assaulted by monkeys, it seemed like a good idea to just relax and enjoy some ripe, freshly cut Durian. I ate a bit of a small piece, and yes, it’s still pretty offensive to the senses…. but, I can handle it. I don’t know that that’s a good thing, but there it is. Now, Ashley…. well, hmmm…. Ok, I won’t put up any pictures, but let’s say that if you know her, she’d really appreciate any Durian related products: candy, liquor, pastries, handicrafts. You name it, if it’s Durian-related, it is likely to warm Ashley’s heart. It’s all she can talk about. Anyhow, here I am about to enjoy some Durian:
You may also take note of the monkey at the top of the page, enjoying the last of the Durian we bought. They got a little hostile over the Durian. We drew the line at giving them our Mangosteens though.
So, after our little day trip to the Batu Caves, we returned back to Trader’s Hotel for “Cocktail Hour,” which was completely civilized and just lovely:
Dinner time brought us out to a night market for some street food. The food was great. The service was beyond lousy. So far, really enjoying Kuala Lumpur though. It’s a very interesting city with such a diverse mix of cultures that it’s really hard to pin down the essence of the people and the place.
Back at Trader’s late…. the view of the Patronas Towers is amazing from our place.