I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. this morning, since my taxi to the KL airport was due at 3:30. It didn't go off. Luckily I woke up at 3:15. I was showered, dressed and ready to go on time.
After about an hour in the taxi and 45 minutes in check-in/immigration/security, I've been relaxing in the Air Asia gate area. I've also been thinking about my reactions to KL.
I've read reviews from other travelers of places I've been in KL. I enjoyed the city, especially because it is very walkable, which is something Mandalay is missing. What it lacked, though, even in the "historic" area where I stayed was a real sense of authenticity.
15 years ago my view would have been very different. I, too, would have been oohing and ahhing over every trinket and view. But living in Samoa and Mandalay have spoiled me. They both are off the well-beaten tourist path, where you can just get into people living their normal lives. The stuff they sell at the market I go to in Mandalay isn't geared toward tourists. It's the stuff that people need to live. ..
Yes, there were some lovely crafts at the Central market, amid the piles of plastic replicas of the twin towers. But unless my geography has failed me, Kashmir is not part of Malaysia, so those rugs are not authentic Malaysian crafts. Beautiful, nonetheless. And the curry laksa I had for lunch yesterday was pure Malaysian.
Luckily, after visiting Siem Reap a few months ago, my expectations were realistic. I wanted good places to eat. Interesting sightseeing and strolling around. Nice people. That's what I got. Now, I'm looking forward to an uneventful flight to Vientiane and then on to Luang Prabang.