Anyway, so we’ve been pootling around here in Kuala Lumpur for a few days now and generally having a nice time. It’s been warm and humid but not nearly as much as I remember it being last time (2 years ago). On the whole people are really polite and friendly. The kind of polite you just don’t get in korea — like “do you want to go in front of me?” at the checkout counter kind of thing.
I’ve probably been eating too much, but doing plenty of walking too so hopefully it’ll balance out. Food and beverages (everyone’s just saying F&B now) are much cheaper than Korea but the standard of living isn’t any lower. It’s hard to work out but I’m guessing that people here don’t get paid as much. I’m starting to think there’s some kind of global conspiracy where the proletariat get the same kind of income in any country which is set in relation to how much food and various services are. I.e. you could live in Norway where supposedly the standard of living is high, and you get high wages, but then the cost of groceries is ultra-high too. I remember back to when I was travelling through countryside Vietnam and noticing that the price of petrol was hella cheap — like 9cents a litre, but then thinking well, when you think of what the average peasant on a motorbike earns, then that’s not cheap — but then, how do the Vietnamese petro-corporations get the oil to sell at that price…? It’s a mystery.
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/8444637646/” title=”scarlet Ibis by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8506/8444637646_86f9b9a2d3.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”scarlet Ibis”></a>
_The Scarlet Ibis – more hardcore than your average Ibis._
We went to the Bird Park today. They say it’s the largest free-flight bird aviary in the world, and that they have 200 different kinds of birds in there but I would say it’s closer to 40. When I really make myself think about it, I don’t really like places like this anyway. Similar to zoos. Invariably the animals don’t look well, or they’re stuck in cages that are way too small. I know it’s nice for the kiddies to be able to see the animals for realz, but mostly when I see the kind of kiddies that get taken to the zoo/bird park, they’re the ones that should be locked up.
I think if there was a worldwide referendum to get rid of all zoos, and even all safari jeep tours, then I would vote YES. If you want to have the experience of seeing those animals in the flesh then you have to go out there by yourself and risk being eaten by them. Same with more normal animals, like the barn owl. If you live out on a farm and walk into the barn one day and see a barn owl then that would be an amazing experience! and one that you would not forget quickly.
*The KL City Hop on – Hop off Bus Tour*. I guess I would say it was okay in that the bus wasn’t too crowded and it can be a good way of getting to several different tourist areas in one day. However the 24hour pass is _not_ valid for 24 hours. We bought ours one day and they were punched for 10:30am, and then went back the next morning at 10:10am to be told that we couldn’t get on.
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/8443529233/” title=”incompetent tour guide boy by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8354/8443529233_4d5235f53c_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”incompetent tour guide boy”></a>
I’d say this was one of those situations where, due to a lack of training, the staff (pictured) make bad decisions which eventually come back to bite them on the arse. For the most part the Tourism & Hospitality sector in Malaysia is pretty good, (you’d hope it was, considering it’s something like their 4th largest industry) but I’ve learned from many, many experiences of touring around korea that when you run tourism operations with untrained, low-paid employees, you’re going to lose in the end.