Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Last Night in Kuala Lumpur

Our last night in KL was spent with May Lene. We had plans to spend the next two days in Melacca so we had a quiet evening seeing some of our favorite sights for the final time on this adventure.

We started with dinner at a favorite Korean restaurant. All of the food there is wonderful. But the corn soup topped with puff pastry is the very best I have ever had.

We then took a drive downtown. There was a short stop the the Chinese Market.

The streets of downtown KL always make me smile. Year round there is a party atmosphere with streets and trees festooned with blue and white lights.

We tried to go to the KL Tower but were a little bit too late to take a ride to the top.

So next we drove past the magnificent Petronis Towers. They literally shimmer in the night sky.

And since we were still within the Lunar New Year, we found the traditional greeting in Mandarin this time.

With a last look at the KL Tower, we headed back to our hotel. A new city was waiting for discovery along with an old friend we had not seen for a while.

Farewell Dinner and Dessert

The group attending the meeting in KL planned a farewell dinner for Ken and I was invited to attend as well. We all met for Italian food, laughter and great conversation.

During the dinner we discovered that at the table twenty-two different languages and dialects could be spoken. They included Mandarin, Cantonese, and quite a few other Chinese dialects. Bahasa (both Malaysian and Indonesian forms), Tagalog from the Philippines, French, German, Spanish, Hindu and other Asian languages. The one language we all had in common of course was English. Thank goodness for that!

Following dinner a small group of us went for dessert. One of the more popular types of dessert throughout Asia consists of shaved flavored ices piled high and surrounded by flavored pearls similar to large tapioca. This is then topped with fresh fruit and syrups. These desserts are a wonder to look at and just as wondrous to eat.

I chose the mango one pictured above. Mango is one of my favorites. Over the past two years you have heard me mention durian. The durian is a hard brown fruit somewhat like a large coconut with spikes all over it. But the most distinct feature of the durian is its aroma (read horrible smell). I liken the smell to a natural gas leak. The taste of the fruit is not bad at all. Its texture is gooey and creamy. People either love it or hate it. Since we had some new recruits, most of the group ordered the durian flavor. (I knew better.) 

The reactions when you could smell the desserts long before they hit the table were priceless. And the eating methods were unique.

All in all it was a fun expedition. Lots of giggles and some tasty treats to enjoy as well.

Hakka Dinner

Ken's last official work in Hong Kong was a meeting in Kuala Lumpur followed by an international training conference in Singapore. Since our furniture was already sailing home and our flat was totally empty, I decided to tag along. These are two of my favorite places so tagging along was an easy sell.

On our first night in KL, our friend Caslin took us to an Hakka Chinese restaurant. The Hakka people are one of the ethnic Chinese groups and Caslin's heritage is Hakka. Each of the ethnic groups and regions will have unique dishes and flavors and trying as many of these as possible was always a goal for Ken and I. Fortunately Ken and I had the opportunity to savor this unique cuisine before leaving Asia. We had a great guide for our culinary adventure as well.

The restaurant was very traditional in its decor, simple with dark wood throughout.

The dishes were tasty and unique in presentation.

Flavors were often layered on the plate so that the diners can mix to suit one's personal taste. It was an interesting meal that gave us an opportunity to experience yet another of the amazing cuisines of the region.

Lanterns and High Tea.

The Lantern Festivals surrounding Chinese New Year are up for several weeks. So when Tamara, Sasha and I went to High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel, the display at the Cultural Center by the ferry dock was waiting for our review.

After wandering through the displays we headed across the street to the hotel. The Peninsula is one of the oldest luxury hotels in Hong Kong. High tea is served in the lobby each afternoon. There is a feeling of stepping back in time as you admire the beautiful surroundings.

On the way back to the ferry we came across every little girls's dream come true. Gigantic teddy bears you can sit on and pose with. Sasha had great teddy bear fun. And I think Tamara and I had even more fun.

Palatial Crest Lion Dance

As is the custom at Chinese New Year, the owners of our building arranged for a Lion Dance to be performed for the residents and employees. Having this performance is believed to bring good fortune to the building and all who live and work within. 

It is a very festive occasion that begins with the God of Fortune passing out gold (chocolates) to everyone.

The dancers and drummers prepare for the performance.

It is a difficult place to perform because the sidewalk is slanted quite a bit from one end of the poles to the other. Once the dancers begin jumping from pole to pole you find yourself holding your breath.

When the dancing is complete and the confetti has settled, the building owner wishes all Kung Hei Fat Choi.

Then the God of Fortune joins the families for New Year photos.

Last Lunch on Lamma Island

As our time in Hong Kong grew shorter we wanted to re-do many of our favorite things. Over the Chinese New Year holiday we went with our friends Janet, Vesper and Doris to Rainbow Seafood on Lamma Island. We all met at the public pier to catch the Rainbow ferry.

On the ferry ride we passed the huge cemetery set into the hills above Kennedy Town.

Once arriving on the Island we began checking out the seafood selections available for our luncheon.

After making our choices we settled in to a meal of great food and great conversation with our amazing friends.

After lunch we took a short stroll along the waterfront. The sun was shining brightly, the breeze was warm and gentle and it was a perfect time for us to reminisce.

Before catching the ferry back to Hong Long Island, we checked out our choices for some ice cream treats. What's your favorite?