Posts Tagged ‘Asia 2018’

I arrived home on Thursday 1 March in the early morning – I disembarked from the airplane at about 7:20, at Manchester airport. Readers, that was a shock. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Manchester airport look welcoming but that morning it was especially not so. The previous day I had been in Kuala Lumpur in temperatures a bit above 32°C, and in Manchester it was somewhere below 32°F; and unfortunately I was mainly dressed for Kuala Lumpur. But I had a plan – a heavier pair of trousers was at the top of my case, along with a jacket and a waterproof, so I repaired to the gents loo and (with a bit of a struggle) changed. Then I had time for a cup of tea in the Arrivals hall before heading off to the airport station for my train home.

I was just about to go down to the platform when I got a call from Val, who told me that Customer Information at the airport had called her to say that my passport had been found – I had obviously dropped it at some time in the previous half-hour. So I rushed back to customer information, identified myself, and was reunited with my passport. One lesson to draw from that experience is that it is a very good idea to fill in the ‘Emergencies’ page at the back of your passport – that way, if your mislaid passport is found, the finder has someone to call…. Then I charged back to the station just in time to get on my train. (more…)

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KL Bird Park

On my second day in KL I went for a ride on the Hop-on/Hop-off bus. I hopped-off at various points but the main stay was at the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. This is located in a large green area just to the west of the city centre – other attractions here include a zoo, public gardens for walking around, various botanical gardens and a butterfly park. The National Mosque is on the edge of this area, as is the Malaysian Houses of Parliament.

The Bird Park advertises itself as the “World’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary”. I can’t comment on that claim, but I spent an enjoyable two-and-a-half hours here. I can’t say it was spectacular, but it was peaceful and relaxing. It was also very hot, of course, and to be fair a number of the birds were pretty motionless – perhaps they’re more active early in the morning or the evening? Nonetheless it was enjoyable being to see the birds close-up – to walk around among them, in fact.

There were some areas where the birds were caged, and those parts were less fun. The parrot house was one such, although there was a hierarchy of enclosures. Some species of parrot (I’ll call them all parrots even though there were in fact a variety of species there) were in quite small enclosures while a couple of other species were flying freely within the overall parrot house; and indeed, to interact with the visitors. I’m not sure why some parrots were kept in smaller enclosures – perhaps they’re aggressive with other species?

At the end of the visit I went outside and waited for a Ho/Ho bus. Readers, that turned out to be the hardest part of the day. It was mid-afternoon by this time and therefore very hot and humid, and I had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus, with nothing to take my mind off my discomfort. Given that my intention at that point was simply to return to the hotel, it might have been better to get a taxi. On the other hand, however, if I’d done that I wouldn’t have seen the Petronas Towers, which I passed and took pictures of once I was on the Ho/Ho bus. You can’t win them all.

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Here are a few pictures I took in KL city.

First, in the Pavilion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang. This was just a few minutes walk from my hotel, in the midst of some very busy streets. It’s a very high-end mall: lots of the top names (e.g. Prada, Cartier, Rolex) have stores there. So do some other names that don’t seem quite so high-end: Dorothy Perkins (!) and T. M Lewin (!!). But maybe those brands seem more exotic from the perspective of Asia.

I also did a hop-on/hop-off bus ride and here are a few from that:

The National Palace is where Malaysia’s Head of State resides. Malaysia has a totally unique constitutional model – an elected constitutional monarch. It all goes back to the situation at the time Malaysia independence in 1957. At that time the Federation of Malaya consisted of two British colonies (Penang and Malacca) and nine Sultanates. In 1957 they decided to adopt something quite like the British model and have constitutional monarchy but with the government being drawn from members of parliament. But who should become the monarch? There had always been nine Sultanates; some bigger, some smaller, but all theoretically equal in status. So they decided to rank the Sultans in terms of seniority (length of time as Sultan); then the most senior Sultan at the time of independence would become the King (and head of state) for a term of five years. At the end of that time the first King would be followed by the current Sultan of the next Sultanate, in terms fo the 1957 seniority list. However, although everyone knows who the next King will be, they go through a form of election: the nine Sultans vote for next King, it’s just that the ballot paper only has one name on it, that of the agreed Sultan! I have to say that however strange it seems, it has served them well ever since 1957.

And finally a few images from a visit I made to the National Museum. I didn’t go in, just took some pictures of the exterior of the whole museum, and of the interior of a “Village Chief’s House” that has been erected in the grounds.


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