Parks, Museums and Petronas! (KL Trip Day 3) Part 1 of 2

19 Feb

(This is the 3rd installment of my trip to KL. I divided it into 2 posts because it’s pretty long as usual. 🙂 This is Part 1 of 2)

Saturday – November 19

I was up as early as 7 and started getting ready for our day tour. I went downstairs to join F for breakfast but only the guys from Indonesia were at the breakfast table.  I asked Pat, one of the hostel staff if he saw F. He said not yet but I can go and check him at the male dorm. Of course I didn’t want to invade the boys’ privacy so I asked one of the Indonesian guys who were also staying at the male dorm to open the door for me.  And there he was, still in the dreamland, far away from reality. 😀

They told me I can get inside the room so I could wake him up. I told them, it’s okay,  I’ll let him sleep for more and that I’ll just wait for him to get up. So I had my morning coffee as the Indonesian guys left for their day’s itinerary. (Oh btw, one of the Indonesian guys fell from the bunk bed on their first night at the hostel because he was sleep-walking. And it resulted to a bad sprain on his foot, ruining his KL visit. He just stayed in the hostel most of the time while his friends were out exploring the city. Poor guy.)

So after what seems to be forever :D, kidding, maybe half an hour, F walked out of the door.

“Hey! Good morning Mr.” I said.

The sleepyhead replied, “Good morning.” and walked towards the washroom.

He later joined me for breakfast, took the map and discussed the day’s plan. Like our first day, he was in-charge of what to do and see around. I liked it that way. 🙂 A little later, a couple came and joined us. The guy is from Australia while his girlfriend is from Brazil.  Nice. So we are four people from four different continents – Australia, South America, Asia and Europe. Well F is actually from Eurasia (Europe and Asia). They’ve been around KL and were leaving for Malacca that day, so they voluntarily gave a few tips on what to see around. The girl asked us if we have been to some shops because she went to one and bought a really nice handbag and she thought she’d share it to me.

I answered, “We haven’t.”

F objected, “Oh come on, we’ve been to some shops! I took you to the Pavilion yesterday. You already forgot?”

“Oh yeah, Pavilion. But you know it’s just the same big mall we have back home. What I’m looking for are some local shops to buy something Malaysian.”

The Brazilian agreed to me, “Yes. Pavilion is the same huge shopping mall you can find in most cities around the world, so you better go to the local shops instead.”

Both men just didn’t argue with us. Well, we women know better. 😛 Then we talked a little about football. I told them how I love Kaka and how I want to visit Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 😀 Then after some more football talks and stories about our countries, we got up to prepare for our itinerary. The Aussie guy told me one last travel tip. He said we should go to the KL Tower (Menara Tower) to have a panoramic view of the city. There is a revolving restaurant up there but it is very expensive. So he suggested maybe if we like, we can just have a drink there and have dinner in some place nice and cheaper. Well he assumed that we ‘drink’. We thanked both of them for the advices and helpful suggestions.

Oh I forgot to mention that the day I arrived F mentioned to me that the hostel employ Filipino staff, along with one Thai guy (Pat), a Malaysian bloke and an Aussie woman. I met the Filipino staff, Neldie the morning of Friday (Day 2) when F introduced her to me. Then later that day, we found out that there is another Filipino staff named Myla.

Now, why did I mention them? Well it was because of the intriguing questions thrown to me and F by Myla while we were getting ready to leave.

I was standing at the reception while waiting for F and having a small talk in our local language to Myla about her work at the hostel and her life back home in Bicol, Philippines. Then she inquired:

“ Is F staying in the male dorm?”

“Yes with the Indonesian boys.” I answered

“What about you? Which room are you occupying?” She asked.

“I got the private room upstairs. Room H.” I said.

“Why don’t you guy stay in one room?” She intriguingly asked.

“Noooooo!!! We can’t.” I laughed as I answered.

“Why not? Couples here stay in one room most of the time.”

Laughing out loud, I answered, “No. We’re not even a couple. We’re just good friends traveling together.”

She didn’t believe me at first. She thought that I was just being too conservative. Too Filipina. Actually for me, I do not mind sharing a room with male friends, well as long as it’s not just the two of us. If we’re in a group, there is no problem. That’s what my friends and I do most of the time when we travel.

Well, it took a while before I convinced Myla that nothing is going on between me and F. LOL. Or so I thought. Because after some more chats about the Philippines, she asked me again,

“Is there really nothing between you and F? Not even a little spark? He’s good looking.”

I laughed hysterically and uttered a long “Noooooooooo… nothing!”

And just as I said that, F came and was intrigued with what we were talking about. He asked why I was laughing too much. I turned to him and said,

“Well, she’s asking if we really are JUST friends.”

F burst into laughter also. Then I told Myla that F actually have a GF and is about to get engaged in a week, when he gets back to Turkey. Then I let F do the talking about his blossoming love life and how we became friends. LOL.

Myla probably thought that with F’s good looks, it’s impossible for women not to have hots for him. Well not me. Though, I must admit that I find him good looking, especially now that he has grown beard and mustache, making him look like a bad ass! LOL. He looks better with it I think, as good-boy looks doesn’t appeal too much to me. But there’s just no spark. Nada! Like I always tell Idy when he used to tease me to F before,

“N.I. = Not Interested.”

(Idy gave it a different meaning though; he said maybe N.I. means “Nice Idea.” LOL.)

Anyway, so looks like Myla was already convinced that what F and I have is plain platonic relationship. Nothing more, nothing less. 🙂

Actually, that was just one of the many occurrences that we had to explain our non-romantic relationship and how a Turkish man and a Filipino woman ended up as good friends.

So this day, we decided to visit as many places as we can around the Botanical Gardens – Parks and Museums. The hostel sells tickets to Bird Park and Menara or the KL Tower. They said we can save if we buy from them instead of getting it onsite. Of course, we didn’t know if that was true or it was just their marketing ploy so we’d buy from them. We bought the tickets anyway.

We hopped to the Monorail in Bukit Bintang station and got off at KL Central. I noticed that there were tenement buildings near the Central Station that kind of resemble the ones we had back home.

We were told that the Parks and Museums are just walking distance from KL Central so we snubbed the taxis around. F took out his virtual map, trying to figure out where we are heading. A police officer in KL Central told us that we should pass through the Hilton Hotel’s parking area to get to the National Museum which is in the opposite side. So we walked and walked and walked and ended up in what seemed to be the wrong side of the world. LOL. There were no tourists, not even a local walking around the place. Only fast cars and trucks in the highway can be seen. Then a few more walks and we saw two men near the hotel’s parking entrance. They told us to walk to where the giant tree is and there we’ll go down the stairs to get to our destination.

It was so hot and humid in KL that morning. The weather was like the summer in Manila but it was better than the rainy weather we had the day before.  So we went to National Museum first. There were a lot of school kids on educational tour that packed the museum’s lobby. We went inside to see what’s in there but we were told that we have to buy a ticket first. After deciding that there maybe nothing there that might interest us since we also went to the mini museum in KL City Gallery on our Day 2, we went out and headed to our next destination.

F wants to see the National Mosque, so under the scorching hot KL sun, we walked again. We passed by the Planetarium, the Police National Museum, Islamic Center and ended up in the Islamic Arts Museum. We went inside the arts museum and looked for the washrooms to freshen up because the summer-like weather was a torture! We stayed for a while inside the air conditioned arts center. There were some Muslim kids inside, probably having a tour. Then we checked out the white inverted dome that just looks fascinating and beautiful with the gold ornaments around it.

Inverted Dome inside the Islamic Arts Museum (Not my picture. c/o google images)

Then we headed to the National Mosque which was just standing next to the museum. It was almost noon time and the mosque will be closed for their prayers in 30 minutes. F wants to pray there before it closes for tourists. I told him I will just wait for him outside, even though it was so hot but he insisted that I get in. He even took this huge purple piece of clothing with a hoodie and handed it to me.

“What am I going to do with this?” I asked.

“Wear them so you can get in.” He said.

But I swear, with what seemed like 30+ degrees outside, that is the last thing I want to wear. It was so hot and I will wear that huge purple robe? Oh no. I had to put that thing on top of what I was already wearing – short-sleeve top and jeans. And I don’t know about F, but he’s wearing long sleeve top with an inner shirt and trousers and I thought it’s too hot for the KL weather. When I asked him why he didn’t bring t-shirts instead, he said,

“Well I asked you if shirts are okay in Asia at this time, you said yes. So I bought these.”

“I thought you were pertaining to t-shirts.”

Obviously we had a miscommunication there and that just shows one of the many differences in our culture – how things are called, even gestures and facial expressions that will be part of my Day 4 story. 😀

Anyway, there were other tourists visiting the mosque and like me, they had to wear the purple robe. But at least it looked good on them because the robe or whatever they call it seemed to be custom-made for tall people like them. And I am very tall, super tall. (5 ft.) LOL So you can visualize that I can actually sweep or clean the floor as I walk. The lady at the entrance told us to leave our shoes and flip flops. Then before she let us in, she assisted me in properly tying the robe and then grabbed the, I don’t know what they call it, a scarf or something, well the thing that Muslim women use to cover their heads, then put it on my head. So another piece of clothing was added. So there I was, wearing an ultra huge robe covering my entire body, yes my toes can’t be seen, and not even the tip of my fingers, and the scarf that only showed my round-shaped face. F looked at me trying to suppress his laughter.

“Stop giving me that silly smile. You made me do this. Don’t laugh at me!” I warned him. LOL

We went up the stairs while I was dragging the long and huge robe I was wearing. I was imagining how I looked like. I probably looked like a monk or something wearing the robe minus the scarf. I saw my reflection in one of the glass doors of the mosque. I now know the reason why F was giving me that silly grin. I looked funny because of the super huge robe.  So we walked towards the mosque’ main entrance as I kept on rolling up the sleeves and lifting the robe because I can’t walk properly and  because I swear it was really really hot! I asked F if I can actually do that – roll up the sleeves or lift the robe. He said not really because I’m not supposed to show my arms, but he didn’t really mind.

Then I warned him again, “You will not take a picture of me wearing this.”

He smiled and said, “No. I will. Later I will take your picture.”

“Nooooooo!!!!!” I objected.

“Yes I will.” He said teasing me.

“No!” I firmly said.

I explained to him why I won’t let him take any photo of me wearing the scarf or the robe. It will freak my parents out. F knew that I am a practicing Christian, a Born Again Christian that is, and that I belong to a Pastor’s family. So I don’t want any evidence because if they get to know, I will have a lot of explaining to do. And I do not like that. We already had some unpleasant “talk” a week before I left for KL, because they were kind of worried that I was meeting a male friend that I met only in the internet, in a foreign country! Though somehow I knew that if ever they would find out, I will be able to explain to them that I did it because I was with F and I was just respecting their belief and practice inside their place of worship and that I am not compromising my faith. F understood where I was coming from so he promised he won’t take any evidence. Thank you.

At the entrance, there were Muslim women volunteers talking to the tourists, telling them something about the National Mosque and their religion. Two of them approached us as they said their Salaam greeting. One of the women went up to me to fix the headscarf I was wearing. She said it’s okay to expose the chin. LOL. That’s probably the one of the reasons why F was laughing at me! 🙂

They told us that only Muslim are allowed inside their worship hall and that taking pictures is prohibited but F was a law-abiding tourist so he went inside and took pictures. LOL. I stayed outside as F checked out the mosque. One of the women asked if I am from the Philippines. Wow. I wasn’t mistaken as a local for the first time. I said I am. She seemed to be updated of the international politics, so she asked me about what recently happened to the former president Arroyo because she was in the news. She was arrested whilst I was in KL. And of course, I willingly fed her with my knowledge and opinions of Philippine politics, something my father and I usually talk about at home alongside sports and movies. While we were busy talking about political leaders, F went back outside to ask where he can wash his feet, arms and face, so he can pray. So he left his camera and other stuff with me as I sat on one of the chairs. The woman did not leave me and like the other volunteers started to tell me about the Malaysia’s national mosque and Islam. I think she said something about importing tiles from Morrocco or some similar country for the construction of the mosque. She explained the meaning of the Arabic writings on the stained-glass windows just right below the umbrella-styled ceiling. She handed me a leaflet that contains FAQs about their religion. And although I am completely from a different faith, I listened to her.

Inside Malaysia's National Mosque. (picture c/o Wiki)

The umbrella-styled ceiling of the mosque (F took this photo)

It didn’t take F too long to pray, so after we explored the other parts of the mosque, we returned the robe and scarf, then left. I told him I am already starving since I only had coffee for breakfast. But there was no restaurant around so we thought to go to the Bird Park, thinking there might be some fast food there to fill our empty stomachs.

(*to be continued)

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2 Responses to “Parks, Museums and Petronas! (KL Trip Day 3) Part 1 of 2”

  1. Y February 21, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    Thank you guys for liking. 🙂

  2. Addie February 23, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Oh my god. I have to stop after the part where you had your conversation with the staff and say that, “It’s a crying shame F is already engaged (or at least that time WAS getting engaged) because I think I like him already!!! Peeeetyoooooooor, please! Haha.

    I will continue my reading later. Just wanted to get the one above out of my system.

    P.S.

    Is he really engaged NOW? 😦

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