Day 1 – Life Changing Year Malaysia
Ahhhhh…..the excitement of landing at our first stop!!
After the crazy rush to get on the plane (even though we were at the airport 2 hours early as advised!) we settled into our seats for the first leg of our big adventure!
Kate, after 5 months of lip dragging negativity, had bounced up the airplane stairs announcing that she was excited!! Who would have thought!
The flight was uneventful. Brittney is a little bit nervous flying so we held hands for a while until the plane levelled out and the bumping stopped. Later in the flight there was some turbulence but by that time she was fine and barely noticed! All Jono wanted was the iPad with the Harry Potter Series on it! Kate & Gert started a Poker war on the other iPads and I was left to read and have a sleep (I think all that planning caught up with me on the plane – I was exhausted!)
We landed in Malaysia right on time at 3.25pm. We don’t actually know how long we flew for because all of our devices somehow changed time on the plane! Odd! They are not even all on the same time now. And my watch needs a new battery so it was no help either.
Once out of the airport we couldn’t see Hassan who was our host in Malaysia and was going to pick us up. Luckily we had his phone number and even luckier Gert’s mobile was operational upon landing. The airport had wireless but Kate seemed to be the only one who could get onto facebook and give the world an update (mainly for my mum who is FREAKING OUT about our trip!)
Hassan was about 15 minutes away so we went to buy bottles of water ($1.00 each Australian – BARGAIN!) Then I decided I had better go to the toilet as I knew Hassan planned to take us on a small tour. As I neared the toilet, I remembered what country I was in and started to have a little panic attack!! I was worried what I would discover and I was not let down! Welcome to my first squat toilet!
Thank god I had decided to wear a skirt!!! I’m so thankful for that decision! I successfully navigated the toilet without getting a drip of anything on my shoes, skirt or pride and it was back to announce my success to the family! Kate was horrified – and promptly posted on facebook about it!!
Then we played phone tag with Hassan for a bit before we finally found him and loaded all our backpacks into his people mover!
I think the girls were happy to get in the car. 1. The car was airconditioned and 2. They were getting some admiring looks from some of the gentlemen and that continued for the rest of the day!
Hassan turned out to be awesome! A lovely retired gentlemen who told us all about Malaysia. We took a tour of Putrajaya on the way back to his house (The administrative capital of Malaysia) and along the way we saw the Convention Centre (nicknamed the space ship). Jono had been diligently playing games on the iPhone (definitely the reason I bought him 8 hours across the world!) and missed the conversation about the space ship. Once he put the game away he patiently waited to be taken to the space ship – we had to kindly point out he was looking at it!! SUCH disappointment!!
We saw the Prime Minister’s house and many mosques and then Hassan took us to visit the Pink Mosque. We were so excited to be visiting something awesome as we had only been in Malaysia for 2 hours!!
As we approached the entrance a nice guide informed us that the women would have to wear cloaks. I had a giggle at this as the girls exchanged horrified looks! We went to the cloak room (!) and were issued with baby blue cloaks complete with hoods!! Didn’t we look special! They were fine except they were made of really thick material which hindered your ability to hear what anyone was saying once you put your hood on!! We walked across the wide marble flooring to the entrance to the mosque and removed our shoes to line them up with all the other pairs that were there. Then we went inside to check it out!
There were lovely stained glass windows and another guide informed us that the entire back wall had the Koran hand-inscribed into the panels. The Mosque had cost US40 million to build and had 2 levels underneath that we couldn’t see. These were teaching classrooms and administration so the building was useful not only for prayers.
While we were there some people were praying and we watched them for a bit. And of course took their photos!!
The mosque can hold 8,000 people if they all sit regularly but up to 15,000 people if they cram in! There is a separate walled off section for the women to attend – this can hold up to 2000 women!! Every man’s nightmare!!
About this time we noticed Gert giggling. He thought it was hysterical that we were cloaked in blue while he and Jono roamed around in their own clothes! He took quite a few pics of us and giggled all the way back to the car! He also took some pics of the prayer positions and another guide gave him a guidebook on Muhammed.
On the way back to the car he kindly offered to buy me my own cloak!! I may have mouthed a rude word at him!!
Then we were off on our next adventure! Hassan told us his wife would not be home until late and that they did not normally cook at home (a family after my own heart!) So he would take us for a bit of a drive and then we would eat local food. We were so excited!!
We drove through a Malaysian Village where there were lots of open restaurants with locals eating at them. There were also little carts on the side of the road selling hot food and fruit – some of them had Christmas lights!!!
We had talked about the Malaysia fruit Durian. We were keen to try it. Hassan said we would either hate the taste or the smell!!
He pulled over to a cart on the side of the road for the big event and went to check that it was good Durian (!) We all had a laugh in the car about the traffic which I will amaze you with in my next post!
Then Hassan came back and we all piled out to taste the Durian. Durian is an interesting fruit with a spiky outside. And you can smell it before you see it!!! To me it kind of had the vomity smell of a Paw Paw (sorry!) but it wasn’t as obscene as I had heard.
Once they were sure we were keen to give it a go they cut one in half and we had to dig the seed out with our fingers. It’s kind of milky and has a kind of membrane around the seed that you bite through. (In hindsight Gert says it had the consistency of poo!) It’s kind of creamy textured and I though it kind of tasted like a creamy curry.
The kids all proclaimed that it tasted like ONIONS!!! I discovered this when I turned around to see their screwed up faces!! I had already told them not to pretend they liked it if they didn’t and they took that to heart! There were squeals of GROSS and EWWW and then Kate started coughing hers up!!!
We were crying laughing at her when she actually bent over and threw up! That was nearly the end of us all (bear in mind we were all in dire need of a toilet as it was 7.30pm and we had landed at 3.30pm!!) I’ve never laughed so hard! Gert valiantly had a second piece of Durian and we all sniggered while he polished it off!
Then we had a pic taken – as you will have seen at the top of this post, and it was back into the car! (the pic is actually here)
We then went to an area where we could look out over all of Kuala Lumpur. It was dark by now so the city was all lit up. We could see the Petronas Towers – their light beams go right up into the clouds!! Jono is super keen to visit them at a later date! It started to rain lightly on us but we didn’t care. We were having too much fun!
We drove down a winding road (did I mention my upcoming traffic post???) and then were on our way to Hassan’s area where he was to take us for a local meal. We decided to let Hassan order for us with just one piece of advice – not too much chilli for the children!! There was a beautiful whole fish dish that was cooked amazingly – and as we let the flavour of the fish wash over us in our mouths we gradually became aware of the LARGE amount of chilli that was in the sauce!!!! OHMIGOD!! HOT HOT HOT!! Hassan kindly pointed out that he didn’t think it was hot at all, right as the back of my head was blowing off!!
We drank tea and I had sugar cane juice. I’m writing this the next morning and being very thankful that the ice in my juice hasn’t upset my tummy – I forgot we weren’t going to have ice even before the first day was over!! EPIC TRAVEL FAIL!!
After we were stuffed with food it was off home for a good sleep. We watched amazed as two cars in front had a minor collision and the Indian woman got out of her car and started screaming at the other driver. She wasn’t too worried that she was now holding up 500 other cars and she refused to move!!! Hilarious!!
We came home to Hassan’s lovely house and discovered he has 7 cats! And one is missing its tail!! He gave us several different fruits that we all tried and liked much better than the Durian! We are very comfy with 2 in one room and three in the other and it turns out Hassan has family coming to stay too !! Yay!!
You may like these!: