I was feeling quite sick again and had spent the whole morning coughing up a storm – my flu/cold had morphed into what feels like the beginnings, if not the onset, of bronchitis. I was exhausted and not sure how I would survive lunch and another tour without passing out.
But lunch managed to revive me! Our guide had told us how Indians use spices to clean the alimentary canal and improve health, and following a fairly spicy lunch of papadams and various chutneys, along with rice and chicken curry, I actually started to feel much better. It really was uncanny.
Everyone really enjoyed the lunch – it was very casual and there was FAR less food than the day before. And, it was an experience – which I love – many of us tried our hand (literally) at eating with our hands, although knives and forks were provided. It’s always fun to see the group try something new – it’s great for building relationships because they ask each other what to do, chuckle over missteps, and bond!
Then some of us finished off the lunch with a coffee specialty that our hosts suggested – coffee with fresh cow’s milk.
KL is one of those cities where you’re not supposed to drink the water, not eat fruits without a peel you can take off, and definitely not drink unpasteurized milk. I will say that when you visit KL, it’s amazingly modern (like their airport). It reminds me more of Shanghai than Bangkok – more modernization, less character.
But still, these precautions exist…as evidenced by the 10 bottles of complimentary water I had in my room by the final night. A definite sign that you shouldn’t be drinking the tap water.
And I’m glad we didn’t – it was the best coffee I’ve ever had. One of our hosts said it perfectly – the fresh cow’s milk adds a caramel flavor to the coffee. The tiny chunks that form are rather unappetizing, but the taste is so lovely. And fortunately, I faced no ill side effects!
Feeling much better, we embarked on the afternoon’s activities – well, most of us did. Both the American and the Englishman headed off to meet Katie for the afternoon, after we extracted promises from them to text us periodically so we knew she wasn’t a serial killer (she wasn’t).
Although lunch was lively, by the time we got to the bus, everyone was dragging a little – I’m thinking I may need to start instituting mandatory naps after lunch! Our guide had come up with his own plan and route for the afternoon, and I was happy to give him some leeway as long as he got us back to the hotel on time this time.
Our first stop was the Royal Palace, which was just beautiful. We got to make a short photo stop there, and I got out to photograph the palace, and moreso the horses and guards. As I was photographing them, a young couple asked me to take their photo in front of the palace, which I did.
A few minutes later, another couple came up, and I thought they wanted the same thing. But what they wanted was to take a photo of each of them WITH me in it. I’m not sure if they thought I was a celebrity, or just haven’t seen many Americans before, but it was quite funny!
Then, it was back on the bus for more touring around. We stopped briefly at Independence Square, and I very much wanted to get out to take some pictures, but no one else on the bus was interested, so we just moved right along. Since we’d had to skip the batik factory the previous day, we stuck it into the afternoon on Saturday, and I’m glad that we did.
We got to see the artists freehanding their designs on the silk, which was just amazing, as well as painting the colors onto the fabric. I was inspired to buy a beautiful deep purple dress, which I wore as my gala dinner dress later that evening. After a short visit there, we were back on the bus and back to the hotel by 3:30.
I puttered around and packed for a bit before settling down for a much-needed nap. I was so tired that when I woke up to my alarm, I thought it was actually the following day – I was so confused!
But we still had one more event to go – the Gala Dinner. Our host had chosen an Italian restaurant, and it was a bit funny to go all the way to Malaysia to go to an Italian restaurant!
Fortunately, the bus ride was not nearly as long as the night before, and we arrived and headed into the private room that had been arranged for us. The restaurant, Ciao, backs onto a beautiful golf course – we didn’t see much of it, since it was dark, but they have a little walkway area in the back and some lighting so that when we walked out, we could see the Petronas Towers at a distance.
I had the fortune to sit next to our speaker from the first morning, a newly retired judge who had spoken on the modernization of the Malaysian court system. He had given a great presentation, and turned out to be a wonderful dining companion, along with his lovely wife. Sitting in the center of the long table, I had the benefit of participating in a number of conversations, which provided me with a very enjoyable evening.
But soon, it was time to head back to the hotel – many of us agreed to keep the night going by heading to the dance club within the hotel, and a good third of the group did that. After some more conversation, and our goodbyes, it was finally time for bed.
Of course, I managed to be wide awake and puttering around again until about 3am. Not ideal when you need to be up by six am! But I managed and am now on my final flight of the trip – #8. We’ve been traveling for more than 30 hours now, from the time we left the hotel in KL. And yet, it’s still Sunday. And I can’t wait to be home!