Updated: Dec 6, 2019
A sense of gloominess loomed over my mind when we were planning to visit Kuala Lumpur (KL) in a short bust of time this year January. I couldn't identify the source of this dispirit and for a while kept my morose emotions aside to finish the plan.
We only had 1.5 days with us to cover all the major attractions in Kuala Lumpur. The reason was to avoid the flight cost which otherwise we would have borne for a direct flight from Singapore to Bali. Going via Kuala Lumpur made more sense with an additional bonus for getting to travel in this city as well.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the biggest cities of Malaysia and one of the first to hold an election in the entire country. It gained historic significance in 1957 when the first Malaysian flag was raised in Merdeka Square to mark the independence from British rule.
The significance & history of Malaysia was unknown to me while planning the trip. Had I known earlier the uniqueness of this country, I might have just made a plan entirely dedicating to Malaysia.
This country houses the largest flower of the world - Rafflesia. Longest highway in the world which even exceeds the Earth's circumference!! Largest cave chamber in the world known as Sarawak Chamber. Travel bug starting to bite, eh?
When we landed at KL airport, the only thought I had "let's get over with it." Imagine my surprise when we were trying to get our bearings straight, a friendly security guard spoke in Hindi directing us towards the cab service area. We were grateful to see a smiling face in the midst of our confusion & frenzy. There was absolutely no hassle during the immigration nor did we face any trouble or haggling while booking for cab service at the airport.
The road to the city was smooth with 4 tolls in total on the way. As I gulped down my egg sandwich in the cab, I noticed the dark clouds looming over which instantly gave me a not-so-good nostalgic feeling. I still wasn't able to determine why exactly I felt this way. After 1 hour of the airport to the city journey, we finally checked-in to our guesthouse which was located in a really artistic downtown area with some amazing graffiti walls. This definitely made me feel better.
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Check out the guesthouse in AirBnB.
Also Read: 5 Unique Facts about China
However, it was already evening with the sun about to set down and at that moment we realized that our plan would have to be ditched and a new one to be created with priorities set if we do not want to regret this journey. We only had until tomorrow before we headed for Bali.
After getting pumped up by visiting Petronas Twin Tower and KL Tower, we were craving for the basic & the most common Indian staple - dal rice. I was afraid that we might not be able to locate any Indian restaurant but then just near to our guesthouse, I saw this array of restaurants of different cuisines alive and bustling with people around 9ish PM. This one restaurant whose name was written in Bengali caught my attention!! Yes, you read it right. The only thought I had in my mind "Are we really in a different country or a different state in India?" Happily strutting, we went inside and ate the humble dal rice with Bengali style mashed potatoes called 'aloo bhate'.
During my dinner, it suddenly dawned on me the cause of my dispirit. We had heard from many of our office colleagues that they never liked Kuala Lumpur cuisine, labeling it as sweet and coconuty. They never portrayed Kuala Lumpur in the fancy sort of way. And yet, here we were enjoying a plate of homely Bangladeshi food (no sweetness) with a friendly owner to guide us through the menu and speaking in Bengali. Yet, here we were with people always smiling and carefree without looking at us differently in the entire 1.5 days of stay.
Can we all take a pledge of not disfiguring a country with statements that creates a disappointing picture in other people's minds? All countries have their pros and cons. Most of the tourists who come to India, I have never seen them complain about food or roads or the continuous weird-starring from us. I have only listened to them praise about how great India is even when we know about the underlying issues we deal with every day.
Let us respect every country we visit, their food, their tradition, and their culture. Let us not taint their ethics and values in front of anyone. Please keep an open mind when you visit a country and when you want to try their local food. If you do not like it, don't eat it. But tagging any country as 'not-good-experience' or 'not-worth-visiting' just because YOU did not like their food or something else, is not even worthy of calling it a reason.