Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Our children have 5 weeks of school holidays at Christmas so we decided to take a trip together and they are studying Bahasa Indonesian so when we saw a $250 airfare from Denpasar to Sydney our minds were made up. After ordering the Lonely Planet Guide to Indonesia we realised that we can only get a 4 week visa on arrival so we started in Malaysia (see my posts under the Travel menu. I would link to them but my tablet refuses to allow it). We want to avoid long overland travel because our children are young and buses here don’t have toilets so from Pulau Penang we went to Ipoh and from there to Pulau Pangkor and now Kuala Lumpur.
We were looking forward to our arrival in Kuala Lumpur for the vitality of an advanced city. Our apartment (One Stop Residence) is very comfortable and cheaper than our accommodation on Pulau Penang and Pulau Pangkor even though it’s a modern 2 bedroom apartment with excellent facilities and close to the city centre. We started the day in the pool then breakfast at Old Town White Coffee because Ipoh is famous for its white coffee but we failed to find any in Ipoh so we were intrigued to try it here. White coffee is made by roasting the coffee beans with palm oil margarine. The coffee was delicious!
Next we spent about 3 hours exploring the Petronas science centre in Petronas Towers shopping centre (KLCC). Petrosains is captivating for children and the scientist in me was delighted to see my children learning. I felt a pang for not having taught them anything about the sciences that I love and vowed to make space in our busy lives for teaching them in the future. Many of the exhibits are hands on and I believe this is an excellent way to learn (although they didn’t or couldn’t read the signs so I’m unsure of how many of the principles they learnt when we weren’t explaining the mechanisms to them). The style of presentation of information is outdated and too ‘busy’ and would benefit from infographics and more logical flow on the signs. Many of the activities needed maintenance and were malfunctioning but our children cheerfully moved onto the next activity. The food chemistry show was very well done and captivated me as well as the children even though I have a chemistry degree. There is a heavy emphasis on fossil fuels and energy from a Petronas perspective and the oil platform exhibit was interesting. There was a tiny amount of information about renewable energy at the very end.
After a quick lunch we headed towards Bukit Bintang and found that the tourist map was not very helpful and while there are great walkways like City walk and a skyway foot bridge these end abruptly without sign posting and left us unable to figure out where to go next or even provide a pedestrian crossing. The tourist map rated Bukit Bintang as a top 5 destination but we could only find fancy shops, bars and eateries so we caught the light rail to Maharajalela station to explore Chinatown.
Once again the map sent us in the wrong direction and tempers flared as we ran out of drinking water and sweated up a hill seemingly nowhere near Chinatown (it struck us at this point that in a town we couldn’t have walked that far without encountering a drinking water vendor). We quickly figured out where we were and ducked into a Chinese tea shop for a tea ceremony of delicious oolong tea. When I tried to pay, the girl said it’s free because it’s to help us select tea. I was embarrassed and tried to explain that we didn’t want to buy packets of tea but just wanted to pay for a cup. She wasn’t very impressed and we made a hasty exit breathing more freely to have our children away from all of those breakable items.
We have given our children some spending money and for our daughter it’s super easy to spend because there are always myriad items to appeal to a girl but for our son it’s been difficult and the money is burning a hole in his pocket. He approached the markets on Petaling Street in Chinatown with vigor and great interest and kept pushing us along to the next stall in search of an as yet undiscovered treasure. A drink each at the oasis of Petaling Café was very welcome!