Exiting Lucinda at Belawan was a little more complicated than expected. As fantastic as Indonesia is, the regulations and paperwork are a nightmare. It takes hours to get simple work done. Administratively the worst country so far.
Lucinda’s boat ride only took a day once she left and we flew Medan/George Town, Malaysia.
We left a few days after Lucinda and paid the fine to the immigration officer at the airport. He counted the bills out under the table, left them under the table, and smiles
We were staying in Georgetown on the left, below, and Lucinda arrived in Penang, on the right
And the green dot in the middle shows where in the world this is, the north end of the Malay peninsula
We meet Mr. Lim (centre, below) at his office then jump on the back of his scooter and head off to customs and immigration over on the mainland. Malaysia is fast, and we’ve processed the Carnet in 10 minutes, immigration another 20
George Town from the ferry
Then we ride back over an enormous bridge (see track above). I used Basecamp to measure it and it’s pretty much exactly 5 miles long. Huge and cool.
George Town is famous for not having sidewalks, just trenches, and great street food, which is called hawker food. A sidewalk
Off to find hawker food, which is done at night
This must be it
It was excellent and we ate here each night, mostly stuff I didn’t recognize. I’d point at something that looked unusual or smelt spicy or both. This is the best food I’ve had since maybe Mexico
It’s a pretty town by day, lots of British colonial history. In fact english seems to be the spoken language. We haven’t done our Malaysia fact reading yet so actually have no idea what’s going on at this point. Usually we’re better prepared but riders say Malaysia’s casual so whatever
After a few days we head south to Lumut
It’s a dull drive and we jump off onto a B road as soon as possible, which is still boring. Light industry and palm trees the whole way. The next day the ride to Kuala Lumpur
Still boring, but there are lilies in the ditches
White this time
And even lotus
We see on the GPS that we’re very close to the ocean so take a detour. We cross a bridge and see this
Egrets in the trees
So go and park down a side street
We walk along the docks and watch a man sort fish while another counts
The discards, we think
The view from this station, really nice
Further along the road, a cow, which I suppose is a reason to stop for lack of another
A house at the side
Then down to Kuala Lumpur.
A nice big city, so we wander around and do the tourist thing. The temperature and humidity are moderately high, but not ferocious as they were in Indonesia. First stop, the Islamic Arts Museum. A modest front but a great building inside
The main hall with inverted dome
There were various exhibits, this one arms and armour
And batik originates from somewhere near here, maybe, because they had a lot of it on display
The highlight was the book displays. Koran copies from around the world, some 100’s of years old. A few of the most impressive were from Africa
A medical book
This is an astronomy book from north Africa
There was a hall of models. 20 mosques from around the world
Mecca in the foreground
And an adobe mosque in New Mexico
Then, another day, the thing we’ve been looking forward to for a while. This is the base
Yes, the Patronas Towers! Big Oil, big-ass building. Asian capitalism in its glory, great to see.
A photo off the web
The tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004 and still the tallest twin towers at 1483 feet. The foundations were the world’s biggest concrete pour until 2007.
We go on a tour. A holographic tour guide at the bottom
Up to the sky bridge
The view from there
Then up to the top to an observation lounge
Looking at the other tower. Diagonal pic to show more
And the view, attractively dystopian
Then off to Masjid Negara, the national mosque
What can you say. Perfection.
The prayer hall
A good view from here
More on Kuala Lumpur soon, but first we’ve got a side trip.