Thursday, August 24, 2017

SE Asia 2017 - Day 10 (8/23/2017) - Failing at Kuala Lumpur

I left the hotel at 11:45 this morning, intending to sneak in a quick visit to Masjid Jamek before they closed at 12:20 for the early afternoon prayers.  I took the took Kelana Jaya line one stop from Dang Wangi (KJ12) to Masjid Jamek (KJ13), thinking that it would be easy to get to the mosque from there since the train stop is named after it.  It's possible that it is indeed easy under normal circumstances, but it was impossible on this day.  All paths to the mosque appeared to be blocked off by construction (I tried from pretty much all possible angles), and there didn't appear to be any activity at the mosque itself.  I'm not sure if it this was due to renovations or had anything to do with the SEA Games.  The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was similarly blocked off, though in this case there was clearly SEA Games related activity going on in front.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building taken over for the SEA Games

Giving up, I headed off to find lunch at Water Lily Vegetarian Restaurant nearby.  The lunch setup there was pseudo buffet like - they gave you a plate with rice to start, then you could pile on as much of the various stews and dishes that you wanted.  The single plate and a bottle of mineral water cost me only 12 Ringgit, or about $3 USD - quite a value.

After eating I took the Kelana Jaya line in the other direction to KLCC (KJ10).  After a stop by H&M in the shopping center, I tried to buy a ticket for the Petronas Twin Towers observation decks, but they were sold out for the day.  I knew this was a possibility based on my pre-trip research, and even attempted to buy a ticket online ahead of time, only to find the booking site broken; I should have bought a ticket in person in advance two days prior on my first morning in KL.  In any case, I was able to buy a ticket for 9am the next day, which should barely allow me to squeeze in a visit before skipping town.

Petronas Twin Towers during the day

Having not succeeded in any endeavors (save eating on the cheap) on the day, I returned to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours.  I then got the brilliant idea to ride the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus to see a bit more of the city while killing off the rest of the day - the first stop on the route was the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC), right across the street from my hotel.  But even this involved a fair amount of failure.  First I had trouble finding the right ticket counter to buy a ticket.  Then I found out that they only accepted cash - I didn't have 55 Ringgit in cash remaining.  Then I tried returning to my hotel to buy the ticket online, but that failed as well.  Then I walked back to MaTiC to use their ATM, only to find that they didn't have one in the building, so I had to go find one at a nearby bank.

I did eventually get some cash and buy the ticket and get on a bus, sometime around 5:45pm.  But then the bus was slow-going due to rush hour traffic.  At 7:15 the driver cut the trip short (I think they normally run until about 8) at the 9th (of 23) stop, and asked me where I wanted to go.  He then took me to KL Sentral so that I could catch the (very crowded) Monorail to Bukit Bintang - I had seen an Iranian restaurant as we drove through there, and wanted to give that a shot for dinner.

The name of the restaurant was Naab.  Unfortunately, their vegetarian options were somewhat lacking - none of their main courses were vegetarian.  So I selected a few appetizers instead.  The waitress suggested the Mirza Ghasemi (I requested it without the egg on top), and it was quite good.  She also suggested the Lentil Soup, and I found that to just be OK.  The Felafel was not the best, but it was also fine.  To drink I ordered a Sekanjebin, which is an apple cider and cucumber drink - it had a very interesting flavor, and was as refreshing as they had advertised.

SEA Games display in Bukit Bintang

After eating I walked down Bukit Bintang a bit, then popped into the Pavilion shopping center.  I found the Famous Amos stand and had a chocolate chip cookie for a bit of dessert.  Finding that a bit unsatisfying, I also grabbed a mango-pineapple juice from Juicy Fresh Juice Bar across the street.  I then took the Monorail to Bukit Nanas and walked back to the hotel.



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