“Hey bird. Hey Mr Birdy. Oooh hello birdy”
“Are you going to say hello to every bird in here?”
“Is it going to annoy you?”
“Yes! There’s over 3,000 birds in here!”
“In that case, yes. Yes I will. I want to say hello to all of them. Oooh hello fishy”
Leaving the cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands, we were dropped at the bus station by our lovely host Jay from Gerard’s Place at 8:30am for our bus down to Kuala Lumpur; capital city (Hauptstadt) of Malaysia.
The journey went quite quickly without incident (Zwischenfall) and, after being dropped at KL Sental station, we got an Uber to Travel Hub Guesthouse; our hostel for the next three nights. It was there, however, that we stubbled across a slight problem.
“Where’s my Kindle?”, I asked Tessa, a wave (Welle) of fear (Angst) rushing over me. “Oh shit. I think I left it on the bus”. “You’re joking”, came her reply.
After ten minutes of frantic (frantic bedeutet außer sich sein) calls to the telephone numbers on our bus tickets (they didn’t work) and from Google (that did work), I managed to speak to the bus company who put me in touch with our bus driver from earlier in the day, expecting him to now be a long way from KL. But…I assumed wrong! The driver was still in KL (albeit (wenn auch) at a bus station about 10km outside the city) and he had found my Kindle in its blue case! If we could get to the bus station in the next hour then he could hand me my Kindle back in-person (before he drove back to Cameron Highlands), otherwise I’d be at the mercy of the dreaded ‘customer services’ at the bus station.
The Uber driver must have been rather confused – who could blame him – as he double-checked our destination two or three times. “Bandar Tasik Seladan bus station? Are you sure?”, he asked. Eventually we managed to adequately explain our predicament (Zwickmühle) and he drove us on our way with us checking the time constantly. 35 minutes later, we arrived at the passenger entrance to the bus station and called our driver. Mr Uber Driver came through for us again when I passed him the phone and he spoke to the bus driver in Malay and confirmed (bestätigen) where he had to drive. Five minutes later and I was reunited (wiedervereinigt) with my Kindle! And the bus driver proved what a bloody nice chap he was by refusing (ablehnen) my 20 ringgit note as a thank you. Restores (wiederherstellen) your faith (Glaube) in humanity it does.
“You are so lucky”, Tessa said indignantly (entrüstet, passt hier aber nicht, konnts nicht fassen, was er für ein Glück hat). After the loss of my necklace and now my Kindle, I’d been rather fortunate (glücklich) with getting lost items returned to me. Fingers crossed I don’t forget something again!
After collecting my Kindle, we asked Mr Uber Driver if he’d then drive us to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park which is one of the World’s largest aviaries housing more than 3,000 birds of 200+ species. Arriving at 14:45pm, we had just enough time to wander around the first section of the park before the 15:30pm Bird Show at the lake-side amphitheatre. We walked past many parakeets, macaws, waders, eagles and emus with Tessa attempting to say “hello birdy” to all of them. Fortunately for me, she gave up after about 30 birds and a couple of fish and we continued our walk to the amphitheatre.
Once we sat down for the Bird Show, we were introduced to parrots doing tricks just as raising a flag up a pole (Fahne hissen), racingp (Wettrennen) to stack rings of a stick and flying through hoops (Reifen) held by members of the audience. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes of the show, a gigantic roar (Gebrüll) of thunder (Donner) came from overhead (oben) and it started to rain so the show had to be cancelled. At this point, the rain wasn’t too heavy so we hoped we’d still be able to see the rest of the park. As we walked back past the emu enclosure, rain started to pour onto the path above 20 metres ahead of us. “Quick. Run in there”, I shouted to Tessa, as we managed to take refuge in a children’s education room just in time.
“It’ll blow over. It’s only a shower”, I said, as usual (wie immer).
Over two hours later and as the park was about to close, the rain eased (nachlassen) enough for us to make a run back to the entrance and order an Uber. We ended up seeing less than half the park which was very disappointing (enttäuschend) especially as the entry (Eintritt) was over 10€ each.
That evening, to cheer ourselves up, we decided to go to the cinema to see “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them”, the first Harry Potter prequel (Vorläufer). The huge Golden Screen Cinema in the even more huge Times Square shopping mall (there’s a rollercoaster (Achterbahn) in the middle!) cost us less than 9€ total for tickets, popcorn and a drink! Suitably cheered up, we headed home looking forward to exploring the city the next day although slightly nervous we’d been told there was a large anti-government protest taking place the next day and many roads and public transport would be closed.
Heading out after breakfast, we soon encountered the starting point of the protest close to our hostel in Chinatown. Hundreds of people were wearing yellow t-shirts with the word ‘Bersih’ on them (meaning clean in Malay, ‘Bersih’ represents a group of organisations who are campaigning for clean elections (Wahlen) in Malaysia and accuse (beschuldigen) the presently elected government of vote rigging (Manipulation) and embezzlement (Unterschlagung/ Veruntreuung). We’d read that morning that the leader of the organisation, Maria Chin Abdullah, had been arrested (verhaftet) and detained (inhaftiert) the previous evening under anti-terrorism laws. The fact that Mrs Abdullah is 60-years old and has been the face of peaceful protest in Malaysia for over a decade (Jahrzehnt) made the timing of her arrest a little suspect (verdächtig) and, we guessed, could add an edge to the days proceedings. Walking past and amongst the protestors, everything was very peaceful and the majority of the attendees seemed to be of an older age.
We walked ahead of the protest towards Times Square to have a further look around the mall before walking to the nearby Pavilion mall – the biggest in Malaysia. Despite (trotz) being a predominantly (überwiegend) Muslim country with less than 10% of the population Christian, Pavilion mall had a giant 10m sparkling Christmas tree outside the front doors and, once inside, a Christmas-themed ground floor complete with a merry-go-round and Jingle Bells music playing. All rather surreal in the 30 degree heat!
Pavilion mall is connected via a pedestrian (Fußgänger) walkway to Suria KLCC mall which is underneath (unter) the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Formerly (ehemals) the World’s tallest (größte) buildings, the Twin Towers are a national symbol of Malaysia and attract (anlocken) a huge amount of visitors to the viewing platforms. We hoped to join them but, as we arrived, we found ourselves back in the middle of the protest. But this time, tens of thousands of people had gathered (versammeln) in front of the Twin Towers. Once again, the protest was very peaceful and the protestors seemed energised by the people speaking on stage.
As we got to the Twin Towers viewing entrance, we were told that only people who had previously bought tickets could go up today so we were left a little disappointed (enttäuscht) that we wouldn’t be able to go up and see the city (as well as the protest) from the air.
We’d met an American on Langkawi called Matt who had recommended (empfehlen) a rooftop bar to us that was formerly a helipad (Hubschrauberlandeplatz) (called Heli Lounge Bar) and, seeing as it was only a 15 minute walk away, we decided this would be the next best thing. After buying a pint of Guinness (doesn’t taste the same) and a lychee martini (not great either) we had to wait a short time for the rain to stop before we were allowed up onto the helipad roof. Once up there, we caught the end of the sunset and were treated to a wonderful 360 degree view of Kuala Lumpur city centre from the above. The magnificent Twin Towers and KL Tower were lit up (erleuchtet) and proved spectacular centrepieces (Herzstück/Mittelpunkt) to the shiny 21st century city around us.
After finishing our drinks, we caught the nearby Skytrain back to Chinatown. After a free BBQ at the hostel (no corn this time, unfortunately!), Tessa once again forced me to accompany her to a bar to watch Liverpool play, this time against Southampton. A rather drab 0-0 draw but Tessa seemed pleased enough with the result against a tough (schwierig) opposition (Gegner).
Next morning, we’d head to the largest mosque (Moschee) in KL (a first for both of us) and have a walk around the botanic gardens.
Arriving in blistering (glühend) Sunday midday heat (Hitze), it seemed as though the people running the Masjid Negara mosque were following the excellent advice of the new Leader of the Free World (falls ihrs nicht versteht: er meint Donald Trump, der will, dass Muslim in Amerika sollten auf eine Liste geschrieben werden) by deciding that all foreigners needed to be put onto a list. Despite (Trots) our support (Befürwortung) for fascism (Faschismus) and the building of walls between people (literally or otherwise), we signed in as ‘Tim Hart’ and ‘Teresa Morgan’ from France, just in case. For me, the discomfort (Unannehmlichkeit) ended there but for Tessa it was just getting started.
Women are required to fully cover their bodies and the mosque kindly provided fetching pink jilbabs (head-to-toe dress) and hijabs to wear. I managed to get away with just my cotton trousers and t-shirt. Tessa said it was an interesting experience but that it was incredibly hot walking around and wondered how Muslim women could do it every day in the sun (many jilbab and hijab are completely black, absorbing the sun).
After removing our clothes, we headed to the nearby botanic gardens and walked round for a couple of hours discussing the various social and political differences between the Western world and the Muslim world we were now in.
We had a nice meal at the nearby Chinatown food market (including amazing dim sum pork buns for me) before retiring to bed, ready for our 09:50am flight out of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia to the capital of Indonesia; Jakarta.