Colonial Relics

But first a tip to start the blog. We came in on the train from the airport for 70 ringits for 2  (£14 ) and then paid a cab 40 ringit ( £8) to drive us to the hotel. This morning flying on Air Asia from what they call the Low Cost Carrier Terminal which is on the other side of the airport we would have had the taxi then the train then the shuttle bus to the LCCT. Instead we got a limo no less to take us straight there from the hotel entrance for 100 ring its {20 pounds} and it took just 30 minutes

Last night we went to visit an American friend who vacations here for 3 months to avoid the Baltimore winter weather. He stays as a long term guest at The Renaissance Hotel and he gave us a tour of the hotel and it’s huge pool. It is really more like a resort than a city hotel.

We adjourned to the Club Lounge for a few drinks and chatted. As we chatted about travel and journeys he talked about travel in his grandparents day in the 1920’s and 1930’s and, being American, of the importance of ships and ships Captains. I had never really thought about it before but our friend told us how society weddings were planned not by the date the bride wanted to get married but when the married couple could sail to Europe on their honeymoon on their favourite ship and far more importantly with their favourite Captain. So if the ship and the Captain only came together in say November that year then that was when the wedding would take place. I remember reading that The White Star line moved Captain Smith to the Titanic because he was so popular with passengers despite some misgivings about his seamanship skills. With him on the maiden voyage the Company was assured that the most influential of rich society on both sides of the Atlantic would be onboard.

Before 9/11 quite a few airline Captains would saunter back to have a chat with the passengers but in the 1950’s and 1960’s as airline travel gathered pace it was de rigour for all Captains to spend plenty of time in the passenger cabin. Clearly a throw back to the old ship days. Indeed on my ship the Orcades we had a Staff Captain as well as a Captain whose job it was to spent most of his time with the passengers as so many of P&O’s Captains were ex cargo ships and had no time for what they called “human cargo ” quite often to their faces.

Anyway I digress from the relics ( Colonial not seaman). I went downtown to find the old buildings. There are quite a few. I chose to look at the Old Railway Station completed in 1910 and designed by A.B. Hubback. Surprising to me was that so many of the old Colonial buildings in Kuala Lumpur are designed to reflect the muslim style of architecture rather than the pomp and very Victorian style found in say India. It is rather nice that they felt sensitive enough to build in that style. The railway station from the outside is impossible to photograph now as there is a bloody great 4 lane motorway roaring past it’s front door but I borrowed this one from wikipedia



clearly it was taken before they built the motorway. Quite why after independence they built another at Sentral and gave up on this one I have no idea. The Sentral is just a concrete eyesore whereas this has character. It is an immense place and all the trains still stop here a few minutes after leaving Sentral. Go figure as the kids would say.

It is huge inside



and keeps the theme in the ticket hall etc as well

Ticket Hall KL Old Train


From the station it was but a hop skip and a jump to the Central Market built in 1888  and still a market of sorts though catering to the tourist trade exclusively now

Central Mkt K.L.


I loved the inside so colourful and with amazing floors.

Central inside1


You can buy almost any tourist type tat here and I indulged with some over the top gaudy fridge magnets for the kitchen which I think I might have to battle to keep up there.

Around the corner from the market is Chinatown again an area the developers must be salivating about and tossing in huge bribes to knock down

Chinatown Street KL


Down one of the many small streets lined with these very colonial shop/house buildings Chinese New year was still in full flow

China Town KL


and round the corner the Temple was busy. The Chinese  seem to have a relaxed style to religion. Mercedes and Audis would pull up outside the entire load would run in, light a few incense sticks say a few words and 2 mins later were away off to make another fortune before dinner. Despite all the things the Malays have tried to do over the years including forcing companies to employ a minimum of 20 % of management  from the Malay population and taking almost all power away from the Chinese, they still run virtually everything in Malaysia.

Chinese Temple KL


this was the temple with a classic old Chinese guy outside straight from central casting.

Inside the incense was burning by the shed load.

Inside Chinese Temple KL


The multiculturalism of Malaysia was aptly demonstrated by the the Hindu Temple on the other side of the road

Hindu Temple KL



what I love to find is small alleyways where stalls cook food and serve beer a far cheaper prices than in swanky pubs and hotels . This Chinatown didn’t disappoint



a large 660cl bottle of local beer was  20 ringit still a kings ransom for South East Asia at £4  or £3,60 a pint but way cheaper than in the hotel.

Of course the Club Lounge is even cheaper at The Renaissance as it is free flow on all drinks from 6p.m. till 9.30p.m. but you do need to be a Gold or better still a Platinum card holder with them to get in.

My American friend was telling me that he still has one of the sleeper suits that  British Airways gave out to First Class passengers. His was from the first flight to give this service and is still in it’s original wrapper. I was telling him that we looked at one stage to have a motif on the suit depicting the level the passenger was at in the Executive Club so others could recognise a Platinum holder from so the far more common silver or worse still a Blue which the wearer we hoped would be spurred on to increase his miles rather than appear for too long in the First Class cabin with his Blue motif. Perhaps wiser heads feared that the poor Blue fellow would switch to another carrier rather than be shown up. We shall never know.

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