The fact is that a lot of years had passed since we were last in Malaysia.
In our minds, our return visit last month was far overdue. That was one reason we chose its capital, Kuala Lumpur, as the starting and ending point of our recently completed Southeast Asian adventure.
|Downtown Kuala Lumpur was a happening place|
|Chatting with our cab drivers - Oh My GAWD!|
'So, your first time in KL?' asked the driver.
'No, we were here before. . .' one of us would answer, pausing, then adding, '. . .about forty years ago.'
At which point each of the cabbies -- who ranged in age from 40 to 56 -- nearly drove into the freeway barrier as his head snapped from focusing on the road to the rear-view mirror to get a good look at the talking fossils in the back seat.
The best verbal response was from the 56-year-old who exclaimed, 'Oh. My G-A-W-D! I was 15 then!!'
Each of the conversations ended with the driver telling us about his elderly parents who were in our age range but were still 'getting around' and how good it was that we were still traveling.
Coming of Age
|Street scene 2023 Kuala Lumpur|
We have aged, and hopefully grown a bit as well, since our first visit to Malaysia's capital city. But our changes pale in comparison with the changes to this cultural, financial and economic center of Malaysia.
The city looked much like the photo above during our first visit in the early 1980's. But those old storefronts are fast being replaced with towering skyscrapers offering condominiums, offices and retail space. The photo below was taken from our hotel room.
|Kuala Lumpur from our hotel window|
Back when we first visited KL it had a population of 1.1 million. Today's population is 8.6 million. Its population density and urban spread is evidenced by towering buildings of living accommodations that began to fill the skyline miles before we reached the city's center.
|Residential high rises outside city center|
What we found most interesting is that even with all the change, we were as taken with this new modern high-density version of the city as we were with the old charmer, we explored decades ago. Maybe that is because it still retains many of its historical buildings which were a pleasant contrast to the ubiquitous high-rise structures.
|A heritage building in KL|
The Old and the New
|Entry display at one mall|
Shopping malls abound in the heart of town. Our first stay was at the JW Marriott Hotel, which was part of a high-end shopping mall, and also across the street from yet another high-end mall. We could log our day's footstep goal with a single trip through one of the multi-storied malls.
|Coffee at one mall allowed us to watch video ads across the street|
|Christmas must be something else!|
|Outside our hotel in valet parking|
|Hotel Majestic, since 1932.|
|Orchid Room - Majestic|
|Happy Hour at the Majestic Hotel|