I am in Malaysia. I flew here on the 9 January, with Malaysia airlines, one of the best flights I’ve had. Malaysia has a population of around 31 million, with approximately 50% Malay, 22% Chinese, 12% Orang Asli, 7% Indian and 9% other nationalities. Add tourists and expatriates from across the world, and the country provides a huge diversity of nationalities and cultures to live amongst, I like this.
The weather is unpredictable, it can be scorchingly hot and turn to torrential rain in moments. There have been some spectacular thunder storms here too.
I’m staying in a small independent hotel, in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur. I spent the first week here recovering from hideous jet lag and a virus I got in the UK. Back to feeling human again I have now done a bit of exploring.
Arriving here at this time of the year I find myself in the lead up to the Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese New Year starts on the 28 January and every where is decorated in red and gold, with masses of artificial pink cherry blossom. The Chinese lantern is popular and is displayed on everything, from homes, street facades, shopping malls and in restaurants. The celebrations also include dragon and lion dances, either inside or just outside shopping malls.
The mall is popular and being air conditioned, they are respite from the heat and humidity here. Aside from the usual consumer options, they provide an extensive choice of food, from restaurants, fast food, bakeries, and street food. Most of the bigger malls also have a programme of displays as part of New Year celebrations, including dragon and lion dances, traditional musical instruments and dancing, and drum playing.
There are a few street food stalls just a few minutes walk from my hotel, offering a range of options, from fish, fruits, dim sum and meats.
I went to the Central Market, which has been operating in some form since 1888. The art deco building it is now housed in was built in 1930s . It was very quiet when I went, it didn’t inspire me very much, but I’m not a fan of the market.