First a little apology for the previous post, half-finished and without pictures. I guess that is what happens when I press Shift-P while typing… I would have prefered to learn that without a first-hand experience, but now you have seen what a rough draft looks like.
Yes, we are the girls that are shopped out. Not that we’ve bought a ton; in fact, we’ve bought nothing. What we’ve discovered is that the cultural atmosphere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia consists of shopping, shopping, and really only shopping. And I guess you could say we’ve seen a little too much of it, so now we’re shopped out.
Unlike Singapore, where the outside world is clean, decorated, and interesting, Kuala Lumpur is pretty gray, consisting of highways that are always stopped up, regardless of it being 10 am on a Tuesday, and gray concrete blocks. There is construction in every crevice, there’s no green space, and the sparse little spots you see are overrun with trash (at least where we are staying). On the outside, it doesn’t look like a lot of culture; it’s a little bland. If you go inside, then you don’t really get anything that screams “Malaysia!” either. Unless you count millions of ads, merchandise, and price tags a culture. For a shopaholic it’s dangerous, for a boutique sort of girl it’s too brandy, for a designer-brand-only-the-best-for-me girl there are too many choices, and for us, well it’s just too much! At first we looked at things, liking them, but now, I don’t even want to try it on! It’s a curious feeling… as if we’ve become oblivious to wanting anything, and everything to buy is only a distraction, an obstacle to overcome, on the way to the ice cream store. Although I have the excuse to go shopping (my sisters and I all share one single bag! see here for its size), I wouldn’t really want to. Amazing and very strange.
Why I would want to be Muslim here
I envy the women with headscarves in the subway. I truly do. Because every time we go into the hour-long ordeal of going into the city we have to bundle up like Eskimos – in a city just north of the Equator. It’s like a battle against nature – how can we make this tropical climate mimic northern Siberia? Air conditioning that blows freezing air at your face, as if you were ice cream they’re trying to solidify! And so, I rather envy the women who wear headscarves and burkas, they’re much more adapted to the environment here: the subway, shops, houses, and workplaces are all air-conditioned. And because it’s not a very pedestrian friendly city (it’s a battle and waiting game every time we cross the street) everyone here sticks to the cabs and to the subways instead of walking. This doesn’t lead to much improvement among the street lights and places where people (that don’t seem to be there) are theoretically supposed to cross. So the cause of this problem might be the other way around.
One of the largest sites in Kuala Lumpur are the Petronas Towers. They are the highest twin towers in the world, and were the highest regular towers in the world from 1998 until 2004 when Taipei 101 came along. The Petronas Towers were designed by Cesar Pelli and they don’t actually look as tall as they are. It could be because they are silver, or because there are two of them, or that there are less floors and less surrounding skyscrapers, but it’s true that they don’t look as tall as you would have thought. At first I couldn’t believe that they would be taller than the Sears (Willis) Towers in Chicago, and it turns out that without their spires on top, they would be shorter. In accordance with the CTBUH guidelines, the spires on top of the Petronas Towers count, but the ones of top of the Sears (Willis) Towers don’t, which makes me a little annoyed as a Chicagoan.
Here in Kuala Lumpur we have our own little apartment and have been doing a lot and a little at the same time. A lot of homeschooling, pool time, grocery shopping, job searching, travel-planning and visa acquirement, and little sight-seeing. So in the end it ends up boiling down to a lot.