When our taxi pulled up in front of the tall hotel, the first thing that struck me was ” Wow! classy and minimally stylish!!" The 12 floor hotel was conveniently located in the city’s renowned entertainment, shopping and business district and close to the imbi station as we found later.
The rooms we were allotted came with stunning views. I woke up looking at KL tower, menara Maybank, Polis HQ ,the colorful monorails made an unusual and cute sight like a toy train. We chose to stay at the lower floor(5th) since we wanted two rooms on the same floor. This was also the first experience for my teens to stay independently in a hotel, they checked in on their own and handled every service independently. After refreshing, we opened the inhouse menu card , only to see there were no vegetarian dish. Alas! Class and style does not spell good vegetarian food in this hotel. Even Salads were served with chicken pieces.
Our driver a Malaysian Tamil who drove us to the hotel had already informed us the only place to eat vegetarian food in KL is at the likes of Saravana Bhavan or lakshmi vilas at Little India. The famished us, walked over to Berjaya times square which was a mall nearby hoping we would find Subway or McD. We had to walk through a small Chinatown eat street to reach this place. The sight and stench (or aroma if the Chinese may call it) that emanated from the kitchens were stomach churning. Gosh! What all they eat, anything that creeps, crawls, flies. They spare no living organism.
Food I realized was tough here for us vegetarians. At times square, where we ate pizza, We had to say “ Purely vegetarian, no eggs, no fish, no chicken, no meat, etc” Or else for them all the above are considered vegetarian. Even the uncut fruits looked scary and the fruit Durian is banned in public places like bus due to its awful smell.
While in KL, we traveled away from the hotel (where we stayed) to eat dinner and lunch at Indian restaurants. The complimentary breakfast i never dared to try. Just once when i wanted to try their vegetarian local cuisine nasi lemak( rice kanji) a fried anchovie got mixed with the fried peanuts. The foreigners who serve themselves end up mixing the spoons and so the anchovie ended up in the peanut bowl. From then on it was only corn flakes and milk which was kept at the farthest end. We even travelled one afternoon to Little India just to eat vegetarian food along with our friends.
About our friends,we met them in the hotel lobby that day evening. A 70+ couple from Chennai, A 60+ couple from Bangalore, A 25+ couple from Orissa and us. Together we were a group of 10 in KL and this group taught me old age is never a deterrent for fun and one need’nt be from the same age bracket to enjoy. It was humour and fun unlimited with this group from then on. We hired a cab, took a monorail, LRT, LCCT( low cost carrier terminal) and explored KL like a local and sometimes with guided tours.
KL - this city is a marriage of the old and the new and has The Malays, the Chinese and the Indians living in harmony. Though the migrant Malays (not the native, those who migrate from neighbouring Indonesia) have an upper hand and get citizenship in 5 years while the Indians and Chinese take 10 years to get a citizenship. Reason, the Malays have a say (vote) in the formation of the government which is a muslim government . Many Indians whom we met said they don’t face racial discrimination and enjoy freedom unlike Singapore. Wherever you go, you can’t miss the photos of the king, queen and the Prime minister. Their King or Sultan is more like our President. The Defence forces comes under his wing. The current king is very special they claim because at 85 he has been elected for the second time. No other king enjoyed that privilege.
I also understand that Malay has a little influence of Sanskrit. For instance, you can’t miss the word Jaya in most places like in Putra Jaya, Kelana Jaya. Jaya means victory as in Sanskrit. At some places, I was able to decipher malay through english . for eg., central is sentral and clinic is Klinik and pudu means new which also means the same in tamil. Bas is bus while teksi is taxi. Apa khabar? is How are you? Sounds so much like Aap ka khabar?
We were warned to keep our valuables in hotel lockers as KL is supposed to be an unsafe place.
In my next post, off to Istana Negara – the national palace and other places .
the room with a view
the room with a view