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September 14, 2010

KINDEST CITY IN THE WORLD - KUALA LUMPUR!

View over KL from KL Tower (Photo: Jason Schwary)

Kuala Lumpur is one of the most dynamic cities on the planet, from commerce to culture, economy to ecology, fashion to fitness and transportation to technology, there isn’t much that this city lacks. Oh, and I almost left out that this city stands on record to contain the world’s largest interior tropic rain forest, tallest towers at an astonishing 452 meters and the 4th highest sky needle to boot. I could go on and on and on, but time is scarce when life on the road beckons so strongly.
Smiles come cheap and easy (Photo: Jason Schwary)
Despite the preceding paragraph and the astonishing facts of Kuala Lumpur, it is my past experience and the better part of the 25 countries I’ve visited that when I tell you, as certain as reading a bold face headline from the front page of the New York Times, - - “THE PEOPLE OF KUALA LUMPUR ARE THE NICEST CITY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!!!” It’s true, Extra, Extra, Read All About It!! It’s a bold statement but it’s even bolder to impress me as much as they did.  I mean everyone was friendly! The service industry, you know, the ones that make their money off being nice to you was somewhat expected, but the others? The other 2.2 million people that drove taxis, ran the kitchens at restaurants (someone actually gave Marie and I an entirely free meal packaged up to go after he talked with us for 45 minutes about the composition and makeup of the Malay people), worked as security, the children on the street, the patrons that sat next to us at lunch and the countless others that deserve mentioning for there candid gestures of warmth and kindness.  It’s too bad I can’t go into more but there are several other attributes to this city I must get to before the journey heads south to Malacca.
City Reflection - Palm trees, Skyscrapers and Mosques (Photo: Jason Schwary)
Imagine Kuala Lumpur as the most advanced, cleanest, friendliest city nestled in the hills of a tropical rainforest at the edge of a peninsula that arguably has the most insane beaches anywhere. If your thing is shopping then welcome to a city that boast 22 malls. If your thing is cityscapes or skyscrapers then welcome to a city that has over 125 high-rise buildings (25 stories or more) and the other structures I mentioned above (or better yet, take a look at the pics enclosed in my blog). If your thing is food then welcome to a city chalk full of the best Indian, Chinese and Malay food you can possibly find. If your thing is finding yourself through a religion or spiritual entity then try out one of their mosques, temples or churches. If your thing is learning a new language then spend time on the streets practicing Chinese, Malay, Tamil, Arabic, English, Japanese, Korean, or any other of the other 15 languages that are spoken frequently. And if your thing is...well, whatever it is, then I bet you can probably find it here, in Kuala Lumpur, or KL as the locals call their beloved city.
This is NOT a green screen (Photo: Jason Schwary)
For Marie and I, I think we were just plain old lucky. The cheapest flight from Paris brought us to this fascinating city and we found ourselves the fortuitous benefactors of a great place to start our 6 month Southeast Asian Odyssey.  And guess what?  On March 8, 2011 we’ll depart from this same city that we can say started it all.  Not bad for luck. Not bad at all!
I’d be honored to say I’m more a photographer than a journalist so check out the photos I’ve posted of this place. They’re pretty good and can say a heck of a lot more than one post can do!
Is anything as it really seems? (Photo: Jason Schwary)
Next time we see each other I’ll be 2 hours and 120 km south in the “former” capital of Malaysia, a small town of roughly 645,000 inhabitants. See you relatively soon!

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