Monday, 16 April 2012

Steel and Glass in Kuala Lumpur April 15th 2012

Glass and Steel
KL Tower and Petronas..

A good reason to stay in Chinatown is that major city attractions are quite concentrated and close together, not a great deal of effort required to get to any of them, according to the tourist map that is. So, today I'll test that theory and hike up to the KL Tower for a poke around.

Quite tired since 70% of the creatures that inhabit this guesthouse are nocturnal, to the detriment of others that want to sleep at night! A gentle hike then, but it's uphill making this bit of an  effort. Carefully following the map, the route takes a northerly direction from here, following the river towards Masijd Jamek. Over the highway and onwards in between those skyscrapers - actually quite innovative in design, rather impressive. An awe inspiring feeling when all around is a view of nothing but the glass and steel of a metropolis.Very little traffic again, but it is Sunday, which might mean something in this country 80% Islamic in culture.

I spy a couple of telephone boxes, no ordinary boxes either. British red telephone boxes either side of a gate where a sign invites visitors to look around the 'Malaysia Telekom Museum'. I wouldn't normally, but it's free, cool and a nice break from the uphill hike. It's the story of Malay communications from late 1800s to their modern day digital culture. Well told, it's actually grabbing my attention. A display of Jungle communication cabins right through to exchanges of the mid 1900s and into the digital era. All the equipment and associated  paraphernalia is on display. An interesting half an hour, wandering around, cooling down whilst being transported back in time.

Although the KL Tower can be seen from anywhere in town, I've learnt that it's not always the best idea to follow by sight, since the actual access gate can be miles away! Following the map then, still uphill towards the entrance, passing a row of yellow, Chinese looking houses, crumbling and ready for the wrecking ball - probably not to far into the future the way development seems to be  moving forward in KL. At the entrance, but not quite at the tower yet. It's up a long driveway winding round a hill. Thankfully, for those with tired legs there is a shuttle bus every 15 minutes, which sounds fine to me. On the bus, it's just a 5 minute ride to the red carpet, well, not quite, but right to the front steps, passing a display of formula 1 racing cars - 10RM for a photo!

An impressive structure from underneath, plenty of camera work here. Pony rides, yep, ponies are being led around a 5 minute circuit next to the entrance - demonstrating horsepower possibly, I don't know, but this just didn't seem the place to be holding pony rides! Just inside the entrance, a booth selling simulated motion rides! Further inside, a host of tacky souvenir shops, coffee and a couple of eating establishments. Then there is the ticket counter to buy a ride to the top - 45RM, about 9 quid, but since I've already had a birds eye view of KL I'm going to pass up this opportunity. There is of course the opportunity to splurge and have a meal in the revolving restaurant, part of the top section and I'm not even going to speculate the cost of that! A Google should reveal some details on it, maybe let me know what I missed. They do however have a recreation of a traditional village consisting of wooden fronts and veneers, free to see, including a couple of lizards. There is a room showing a video on how the whole thing was constructed. Comfy seat, cool, good for a nap. Thankfully, the video is on a loop so, I haven't really missed anything, and the best thing, it's free! Good to get close up to the structure, quite an awesome sight, but the rest of it, on the ground level, with exception of the video and village, just seems misplaced somehow.

Too early for a trek back to base, so Let's have another look at the Twin Towers.

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