Sunday, April 20, 2008


I am a walking man.

My family bonds together taking long walks to the market and around the grounds of the Central Luzon State University on weekends. I have walked around Intramuros and Cebu’s historical district twice. I took Mt.Pulag and Batad by the horns and survived. Having done that and more, I developed this curious habit of leaving my slippers/sandals/shoes behind after each memorable stroll. I gave my right Beach Walk slipper as an offering in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo and the left one in Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep; left my Mojos in Singapore’s Copthorne Orchid Hotel and then a sneaker at a Jakarta hotel as my testament of having been around; and "lost" a series of Islander sandals in Phnom Penh’s Wat Phnom, Islamabad’s Shah Faisal Mosque, Nagoya’s Atsuta Shrine, and Ouidah's Temple of the Pythons.

I walk fast and furious.

That's the reason why I prefer to walk solo. It's difficult to keep with my pace and I don't window shop. I walk to take pictures. This was my psyche in Kuala Lumpur if not for the frustrating late morning light. The first time I had a crack for a really good walk was at the Central Market after a solidarity visit to the Kampung Berembang where a community is fighting eviction from their homes of 40 years. I sized the Central Market area and got juiced up with the prospects. Exquisite colonial era houses line up the streets and I can see a temple dome nearby. But my room mate Huong said he would like to come with me. I can't say no to him but he's wearing leather shoes. So we walked in the air conditioned comfort of the Central Market, buying souvenirs here and there, until its time to move to the next shopping district where I got introduced to the wonderful smoke of the hookah.

Then a city tour.

This time, it was me against a torrential rain. Wet after a mad dash up Batu Caves, I shivered my way to the Jadi Batik Centre. But at an obscene 145 ringgits or 1,885 Philippine pesos each, I decided to stick to my damp clothes and buy my batik in Davao City later. Tambuyog's Zeena bought 3 shirts and had the kindness of lending me one.

It was late afternoon when we touched down at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. I excused myself after a hot Indian dinner and walked around the Petronas Twin Towers, racing with the setting sun, clicking like there's no tomorrow, trying to capture that elusive best angle. Dance around the subject. I learned that from Tata Gil Nartea. I took more than 100 shots of the towers.

Came the last day. And my last chance.

We have the whole afternoon all for ourselves but that kill joy rain was messing it up again. By 4 pm, I took a taxi to the Merdeka Square. I will have my walk and my shots no matter what.

The good thing about Kuala Lumpur is its compactness. Perfect for walking tours. From Merdeka Square, I walked fast to the Masjid Jamid Mosque, took my pictures, then off to the Central Market. By then, I have only an hour of daylight left. It was a furious walk to Jalan Petaling. I got there by 7 pm but there was still enough light to shoot the street-market, and eternal time savoring the busy smell of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. 

PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom):

JADI BATIK CENTRE. A batik craftsman shows his skills at Kuala Lumpur’s Jadi Batik Centre.
CENTRAL MARKET. An artist at work at Kuala Lumpur's Central Market which was first built in 1888 during the British colonial rule and has been declared as a National Heritage. The Central Market today is a bustle of small shops selling cheap Malaysian crafts and souvenirs and is within walking distance of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.

LET'S DO THE HOOKAH. Faisal urges me on as I tried puffing from the hookah water pipe. It was my first and it felt good.

PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS. This 451.9-meter building is the second tallest building and the tallest twin towers worlwide. The towers are joined together by a Skybridge which is the higest suspended bridge in the world.

MERDEKA SQUARE. In 1957, Malaysian independence was declared here. The square hosts several historical structures including a 100-meter flagpole which is one of the tallest flag poles in the world, the 1894-era Sultan Abdul Samad building shown above, the Old City Hall building, the exclusive Royal Selangor Club, and St. Mary's Cathedral.

CHINATOWN. Also known as Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a haven for bargains and good food too. The stores and stalls open for business in the afternoon until midnight. The 2 minstrels shown here can really sing.They remind me of Kung Fu Hustle's musician-assassins.


tutubi philippines said...

yung blng na yun sultan something name nya...visited KL in 2004 kahit di ako nakaikot masyado

Sidney said...

Walking on foot is the best way to discover a city!
I have to say that I enjoy being lost in a city while walking around.
But I never leave my slippers or shoes behind! ;-)

A nice set of pictures!

jun of zerogravity said...

pa-KL-KL na lang.

ako rin, never akong mag-iiwan ng tsinelas behind.

ang mahal kaya ng tsinelas.

Anonymous said...

I love the photo of the Petronas towers! Great perspective. Were these taken with your new D40?

I've only left my tsinelas once, and that was in Zambales, on the beach - I was so drunk! hehehe...

amichael said...

Very curious your block is.
Beautiful your pictures are. Interesting capturing and descriptions.
I greet warmly - michael from Poland