Thursday, July 12, 2007

Malaysia Celebrates

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Malaysia's independence from British Rule, and everywhere we went in KL we saw this logo:

Considering this occasion we decided to follow one of the recommended walks in our Lonely Planet guidebook, which took us around some of KL's older, more colonial buildings. The walk began in Merdeka (Independence) Square: a large, open grassy area flanked by colonial buildings that at one time formed the centre of Malaya's Government.

KL's architecture, old and new

The family in Merdeka Square's gardens

At the North end of the square is a 100m-high flagpole that was erected to fly the newly independent country's flag. They claim this is the world's tallest flagpole but, just as with buildings, opinion on the internet is divided about this too.

World's tallest or not, it's flippin' tall!

Those who haven't seen Elliot for a while may be surprised at how much he's grown.

The following day we visited Lake Titiwangsa, a picturesque park just north of the city centre. To celebrate the anniversary they had "Eye on Malaysia": a London Eye- like ferris wheel of air-conditioned capsules that you could ride to get a good view of the city's skyline.

"Eye On Malaysia"

I would guess this one is about one third the size of the London eye, but then this is only a temporary installation for 2007, to celebrate the anniversary. The capsules were smaler but (thankfully) air-conditioned, and where the London Eye gives you only one (slow) rotation for your fare, the Malaysia Eye took us round about six times for only 15 Ringgit (£2) each.

The lake is also popular with courting couples

Nice afternoon for a bike ride

We'd got a taxi to the lake but there were none to be had back to the city, and in KL taxis are not allowed to stop for you anywhere but on official taxi ranks, a fact I discovered only after several minutes of failing to flag one down. In the end we had to walk to the nearest monorail station -- a twenty minute walk in intense heat and humidity running out of bottled water and sweat running down everywhere. Boy, were we glad to finally board the air-conditioned train!

They're small but regular!

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