The Shock of Being Home

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Of all the cities I grew up in I have the fondest memories of Kuala
Lumpur, the mostly unremarkable capital of Malaysia. We lived there
for 5 years, whilst I was between 10 and 15 years of age. I overcame
my fear of camping, learned to rock climb, sailed for the first time,
learned how to play rugby (mainly how to run away from tackles),
learned algebra, collected Magic cards, watched the school gain the
IASAS basketball trophy on home ground, travelled around the country,
ate great food, made great friends and many more things besides.

Since I haven’t been back since since we left the place in 1997, I was
understandably excited to be heading back home. If you’ve never been
to a South East Asian city twice, you won’t necessarily appreciate the
speed at which the cityscape can change – new buildings can spring up
in place of old ones knocked down, whilst new roads destroy what you
know in your head. So I wasn’t expecting things to be the same – just
curious as to what I remembered, and how things had changed.

And for the first shot – I introduce to you the road known as Jalan Tun Razak:

Yeah – weird isn’t it? City Square and Ampang Plaza have been gutted
and are being rebuilt and the road is just – well. Yeah.

Anyway, we stayed in KL town for 5 days, with the friend of a family
friend off Jalan Ru, very near to school (ISKL). And..wow. The things
I remember, and the things that have changed. The first obvious thing
to note is that KL is now full of fly-overs – roads coming from
nowhere and linking to nowhere that they used to. As an example, Ulu
Kelang (now sometimes spelt Hulu Klang) was a small two lane road that
went up past our first house in KL to Melawati, where the new
elementary school campus of ISKL was. It’s now a 6 lane highway, with
two other big highways leading onto it. Or the Pink Tablecloth, a
loose ‘restaurant’ which was on the corner of two busy roads. Up until
a year ago, it was still on that same busy corner, but it’s now moved
roads completely, opposite another old favourite Mei Keng Fatt.
Because of this, it’s not doing as well as it was.

So, I’ll try to keep the boring reminiscing down – if you have any
specific questions, feel free to ask ’em in the comments and I’ll get
back to you. Safe to say school is still largely the same. There have
been some changes: the lower field was recently astroturfed, the old
Pac Shack area is now a glass fronted entrance to the Athletics and
Activities office and the Pac Shack itself has moved further back,
opposite the gym (next to the stairs heading down to the pool). There
are (or will be) a number of pictures of
school in our Flickr streams. Below are two of the best, to give those
of you who have been there before a taste of what it’s like now.

Of course, there are always a few other important touchstones.

1) Food – I introduced roti canai to Rachel – she can fill you in on
the details, but here is a shot of our dinner at Naan Corner (still up
and running, more expensive than previous, but still tasty)

2) Homes

It was weird that driving around Ukay Heights with our host, I could
still remember where to turn. Here is our first house:

On one of the other days, I took Rachel for a walk around Keramat
(which is now flanked by highways, but largely unchanged in the
center), and we found our second house:

It’s times like these when I wish I wasn’t a wuss, so that I could
have gone up to the house and asked to look around.

Finally, our initial home in the country, the hotel MiCasa.

The place is currently closed, and is either under severe
redevelopment, or is being knocked down. I’m glad I caught it when I
did.

3) Drinks


100 Plus baby!


And susu cokolat

..of course, we did do other things in KL. I had great meals with old
friends – Jeff and Shareena, as well as Mrs..I mean Susan and Rahim,
we went to the Petronas Towers which now have people in them (they
were only just completed when we left previously, and tours of the
upper floors weren’t yet in full swing), walked around Chinatown and
hit up the old colonial heart of the city:

I didn’t take as many pictures as I could have I suppose, and the
strongest images in my mind are ones I have no pictures for. The walk
up to our old house, the look of the playground in Ukay Heights,
walking around Ampang Mini Market, and all the interconnecting
corridors at school. Magical.

Anyway, as I said, if you have any particular questions about things,
just let me know and I’ll respond here. As always, we’ll be adding
more pictures as we have time, so you should check our Flickr pages
ever so often to see what’s new. Just click through the pictures above
to find a link to them.

After we left our kind hosts, I organised a wee trip to a tropical
paradise for Rachel. She’s never been snorkeling before you know…

See you next time,

James

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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