Take Two – The Girls that are Shopped Out


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.

Shop mania!

Massaging stations placed around the mall

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.

Eating where the sushi plates come by on a track, complete with iPad ordering system (waitresses beware!)

The daily thunderstorm... by now we've learned the uselessness of weather forecasting here - it's the same every day!


10 responses »

  1. Good luck with the visa applications. Your dad sent an email about how you are trying to get them.
    Sorry to hear that you are shopped out. I don’t know if I will ever not like shopping, or at least window shopping. But I guess you don’t have a whole lot of room to spare in your suitcases either.
    What jobs are you searching for? Speaking of which, have you been able to do any humanitarian or volunteer work there? And are you still doing yoga every day?
    Opa’s birthday is this week – hope you can facetime with him.
    Hi to everyone from the Pacific Northwest.
    Tante Natasha, Oom Chris, and Jack too.

    • Thank you. I never thought, not in a million years, that I would get sick of window shopping. But I can! It’s crazy.
      Well, my dad is looking for jobs in our next spot. Unfortunately, we haven’t stuck to our yoga schedule, but we have been going swimming every day. Hope you are having a good time.. When do you go to Chicago to build a Dyson vacuum cleaner? Say hi to the city for me!

      • I went to Chicago two weeks ago. I got to take apart and build a dyson – pretty neat stuff. It was really cold and really windy.
        At least you are doing some sort of physical activity every day – other than walking.
        How are the visas coming along?
        Do you know what you where and what you want to do in China?
        Hope you are staying cool.
        Tante Natasha, Oom Chris, and Jack too

      • That’s Chicago! – really cold and really windy.
        They’re coming along.. we are picking them up soon. Until now we do have a pretty solid outline of China – the details come along the way.

  2. Thank you so much for your post, I really enjoy reading you. As a much wizened (and now much unburdened) aunt keeps telling Finn: “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

    Much love,


  3. and next time we will make sure to show you the green spots of KL. Yes, they hide them well, but there are still plenty of them….

    Happy traveling

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