foreign travel

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2012

My first elephant ride

My first elephant ride

I’ve traveled to Kuala Lumpur to attend a business conference twice, once in 2009 and again in 2012. The city is one of those exploding cities of southeast Asia. A lot of new commerce, a lot of young folk getting into computers.  Impressive buildings and malls with interesting food courts, and a metro system.

Petronas Buildings

Petronas Twin Towers as seen from my hotel

KL Chris Susan Dan Helen Jackie Susie

Chris Susan Dan Helen Jackie Susie (2012)


Joan, Mike, Helen and Me (2009)

So a modern city, but exotic to me because I do not speak their language, I am not familiar with their mannerisms, and the heat and humidity sprout jungle everywhere. Jungle that wants to take back the land, and one day, I suppose it will.

I gave several presentations to our software customers in KL

I gave several presentations to our software customers in KL

After the conference in 2012 a group of us from Rocket Software hired a tour bus and visited the Batu Caves, a kind of natural cathedral of limestone, with spooky openings to the sky, and Hindu temples inside and out along with somewhat aggressive monkeys that will steal anything from your hand hoping they can eat it.

KL me at batu caves temple

Long climb to Batu Caves – best to do in morning before it gets too hot and humid

Granpa monkey at Batu Caves

Grandpa monkey at Batu Caves

After our visit to the caves, we headed to the elephant sanctuary, where we fed elephants, rode on elephants and bathed with elephants. They are monstrous beasts, that could so easily kill you, so it is a bit unnerving to be touching them, climbing on them, wading in the river with them.

Elephant sanctuary

Elephant sanctuary

KL elephants bathing

Going for a bath. We were allowed to get in the river and help cool the animals off. I learned they do squirt water with their long trunks, and their poo looks like boats of mud and straw as they float down river.

From there we went to a monkey sanctuary on the top of a small mountain, where whole families of monkeys seemed to be in control of the tourists, though with much infighting and jealousy. The parents were gray-black with long tails, the babies orange. I was walking around when an adult monkey tapped my shin gently. I looked down. He tapped again, a little harder. Ah! I had stepped on his tail – was in fact still standing on his tail. I quickly stepped back and apologized. They have such almost-human expressions, though intense brown-orange eyes. And sharp little teeth.

KL monkees on sign

Monkey sanctuary of sorts

KL mommas with babiesOur final stop, after dinner by the river, was a magical night rowboat tour of the Kuala Selangor firefly colonies, the largest colonies of fireflies in the world. They gather in trees along the river and blink in rhythm, like stars in a far dark heaven. The river trip felt both romantic and mystical. Especially when the boatman stopped paddling, and we coasted, in awe of the spectacle, my heart syncing to the rhythm of the flashing lights.

1 reply »

  1. It was fun to see you on the elephant. The story about you standing on the monkey’s tail was so cute, I could just see it. There are certainly some lovely sites there, but lots of walking. I’m so glad you could go, it looks very interesting.

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