Kuala Lumpur - chaos and harmony

A story by german traveller Chris about the crazy KL traffic and the day where all cars disappeared miraculously. And a story where they escaped from the heavy in a chinese tea shop.

In the last 2 days the streets of Kuala Lumpur were deserted. The mob of cars that usually jam up the streets of Kuala Lumpur from morning to evening has disappeared. The busy main street of the capital became a sleeping beauty. I asked myself: What happened?

The solution is: end of Ramadhan ("Aidil Fitri"). The first day of the month of Shawal, the following month of the fasting month Ramadhan is celebrated in Malaysia as "Hari Raya Puasa". The Malays spend this holiday with their families at the countryside. A whole exodus of the city population leaves after the mosque visit (but also the non-muslim citizens). In Malaysia they call it "balik kampung" (back to the village) - fever. Only this way it was possible to cross the pulsating main roads without any problems.

Kuala Lumpur without MIT (motorized individual traffic) was a pleasure! Even though a lot of money had been spend on public transportation during the past years, side walks and pedestrian bridges have been neglected.

KL's public transport system is changing from slow, chaotic and crowded to speedy, comfortable and uncomplicated" (Lonely Plate 2004). That makes me think of MICROBUS 😉

Do you know the feeling of panic just because you want to reach the other side of the road? I stand at the edge of the road, the right leg jerks over and over again, now, NOW I dare to cross the road, but then another guy on motorbike closes in on me with rapid speed so that I have to jump back. At the next attempt it's a noisy bus that drives drops of sweat on my forehead. The fact that people drive on the left-hand side doesn't make it easier for me. Meanwhile, after a week, I don't risk my life anymore just because I think "great, no one is coming from the left, let's go" until a concert of honking cars let me know straight up that I'm about to make a huge mistake.

But even under consideration of the left-hand traffic, vehicles of various kinds approach from unexpected directions because these are the unofficial traffic rules:
a) don't exist
b) the ones that exist (according to rumours) are not followed
c) everything goes and
d) the strongest wins.

Meanwhile I got the habit of starting to run whenever the locals do hoping they know what they are doing.

Tea Ceremony

On a discovery trip through the city it's always worth it to take the first sound of thunder seriously and to look for a shelter. Because one thing is for sure: the next big tropical rain is coming up.
We were just in front of a chinese tea shop as it started to pour. Amazed we check out the amount of tea types that were piled up in nicely decorated cans on the shelves as a young Chinese woman approached us: "I show you how to make good tea". We sat down on a small table and were introduced to the ceremony of making tea.

At first she heated the small tea bowls in a miniature teapot with hot water. After that she put some balls of (rolled up tea leaves) green yasmin tea in the pot and poured hot water on it. She waited 15seconds and explained in english with a strong chinese accent that you never drink the "firlt lun" (first run) but throw away. The following second infusion we got to taste. Me, as a coffee junkie, thought the tea was rather bland. Next she prepared Jun Shan Yin Zhen tea, then the third type of tea with an unpronounceable name. Tea. I found the second type somewhat earthy but that was nothing compared to the third type which reminded me by smell and taste of moldy forest leaves. Baaaaaaaah! She waited patiently, until we finished our bowls before she served us the next infusion. There was no escaping and I started to worry anxiously that I had to drink yet another bowl of this horrible tea. To remain the friendly smile on face was getting harder and harder.

A classic, everybody knows that probably already who traveled abroad: You are in a situation which you wanna leave immediately but you can't think of a way how to do that in a polite and friendly manner. So: another bowl of tea... until I managed to finally say "thank you very much for this very interesting demonstration..." and she released us with the expectation that we were to buy something now. I managed to explain to her that we don't need tea while travelling but would love to return in 2 months. She took it with countenance and handed out info brochures about chinese tea which weput in our pockets and left the shop quickly. How nice, it had stopped raining.


<a href="http://www.movetivation.net/wordpress/2004/11/15/kuala-lumpur-teil-4/#more-19" title="Read the original german story here. ">Read the original german story here. </a>