Wednesday, February 17, 2016

International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I thought I learned the name “Kuala Lumpur” from Jurassic Park, but I can’t find confirmation online and don’t have the book handy. In any case, I’m here now, speaking for seven days at the International School of Kuala Lumpur—the first school I’ve seen that has both a turtle and koi pond on site. Or, for that matter, either.

I connected in Dubai, and as I have seen on past trips to parts of Asia, they cap the boarding process with the spraying of insecticide.

The Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004, were the tallest buildings visible from my hotel room. At night they look ghostly. 

And unlike American skyscrapers, they don’t stay lit all night. 

Inside one lobby in the towers, I saw an advertisement for a superhero symphony.

When I learned a place called Batu Caves was a 30-minute subway ride away, I could not resist. It’s one of the most visited Hindu shrines outside India. It’s also one letter off from my favorite of all caves.

This area on the subway platform would warm the heart of any author (though in KL, everything is warm all the time).

En route, I encountered a couple of signs that drew attention from other Westerners as well.

From inside the entrance of the Dark Cave (part of the Batu Caves complex), you can look into the distance and see the Petronas Towers.

Views from either side of the biggest cave:

More glimpses of Batu:

Passing a pharmacy counter back at the mall at the base of Petronas Towers, I saw a book you won’t find laying around your average CVS.

My favorite of their ‘80s hits is a tie between “Rio” and “The Reflex.” I didn’t know they run juice bars, too.

At the base of KL Tower (which resembles Seattle’s Space Needle) is the last remnant of what used to be on the site of KL: rain forest. 

You can enter and wander freely. On the canopy walk throughout part of the forest, I saw a few others, but back on the ground, I was alone. 

I found out the weird way that if you don’t exit by 5 p.m., they lock you in—and some people on the outside don’t lift a finger to let you out.

One guy (whom I believe was an employee of the park/grounds) sitting at one locked exit instructed me to “go around”—but I had no idea what that meant exactly, so I walked back about 20 minutes till I found the only other exit I was sure I could find. That was locked, too.

Two other surprised guys showed up on my side of the gate, and we all waited while someone went to find a key. After a short while passed with no sign of rescue, I considered climbing over and probably could have, if not for my hands being slick with sweat and the bars being metal. Luckily, the gatekeeper eventually did return.

And all that was just Sunday.

I walked a lot farther than I realized.

The next day was my first of seven at ISKL. Another adventure begins…

I hand-carried 76 books. By day three, I had sold them all but did not bring enough.

Thank you, ISKL for bringing me to KL, which I find easy and enjoyable to explore.

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