On Saturday I ventured out to do some non-tourist kind of sightseeing. Deciding to go with the flow I took the bus to KL central (the hub to catch Buses, Trains or LRT services) and hopped on the first bus that came.
The final destination for this bus was Pasar Seni (also known as the China Market), I had been to this place before – but today was different. With no real plan or a destination in mind, I started walking towards hubs of activity – not following the tourists but the locals.
First stop was a small Chinese temple in the most unassuming of places-crammed between old grocery stores. This find was a treasure. Beautiful incenses were hanging everywhere, the beauty and simplicity of the temple was only enhanced by the fresh flowers and the fragrance of incense.
(The entrance to the Chinese Temple, the rustic looking chandeliers are actually incense hung for the education God. The pink notes contain the name of student and date of exam. It is believed that putting these prayer incenses ensure good results in exams.)
Moving on I reached the China town area, famous for its ‘designer’ products on sale for bargain prices. Although it is at night that this place gains full tempo, even in the early hours of 11 a.m. there was quite a buzz to this place. Designer bags, shoes and jewelry stalls were everywhere, peppered with local food and drink stalls, and spas offering foot and full body massages.
(The entrance to the Petaling street – China Town is just beginning to open up to customers at 11 a.m.)
(Nothing works better with shopping than food. This vendor is selling chestnuts that have been cooked in coal. vaguely put it tastes like peanuts boiled in salt water)
With the temples memory still lingering I pressed on, leaving the crowds behind and reaching a quaint old town where streets were filled with Chinese herb stores. It was here that I saw a line of Indian/Malay food vendors, and decided on lunch. I ventured inside a Malay food stall. Stalls here invariably serve food cafeteria style – fill your plate with what you like and you are billed accordingly. I picked prawns, fish and tofu curry to go with my plate of rice.
(Tofu cooked in spices.)
The only thing that stood out was the tofu curry with its spongy texture and bitter undertones, the prawns were the worst I have ever had and the fish isn’t even worth mentioning. All in all not the authentic delicacy from a small town I was hoping to find.
After about fifteen minutes of walking I realised I had taken a full circle and reached the end of China Town and the beginning of Central Market. Once a wet market selling local produce and the local catch of fish, Central Market has evolved into a tourist must see, where local artists sell their handiwork. Despite my doubts of my liking this place I ventured in.
Like most tourist destinations this place was filled with over priced local handicrafts. Just as I was writing this place off I hit the jackpot. By taking the stairs and avoiding the lift I had chanced upon an under construction section of the building where there was an art exhibition going on. Hot Art was a section of this exhibition where paintings/collages by Malaysian students were displayed. Quite intriguing, but what caught my eye was this huge canvas tucked in the remote corner of the second level of display area called ‘Symphony of love’.
(Symphony in Love – a painting by Long Thien Shih. The use of colour is wonderfully accentuated by the black background. )
As I moved away from the exhibition I chanced upon a tiny store called the ‘Rice cooker Shop’ which sold underground music and had its own t-shirt collection. The energy here was simply great. Music sold here is not the chart topper material but is a great place to shop if you are looking for music by local and upcoming bands.
It was here that I got invited to the shooting of a music video by a lesser known band. The youngsters although not very famous had their own share of fan following. With police tape and toilet paper as their main set decoration accessories these guys managed to film a pretty decent looking video.
( The grand finale of the video – Fans wearing black were invited to come on stage and be part of the shooting. With rehearsals and shooting going on I did not realise how time flew by.)
After a couple of takes we head out for a break inside the central market area. As I walked along the market area all the trappings of the KL mall were present – the food massage centers, fish spas, and pay washrooms.
(‘Cute Fish’ therapy – customers cool their feet in clear water as fish feed on.)
Finally we reached a store called ‘Secret Recipe’ and I could not resist the yummy looking ‘Apple Crumble Cheese Cake’.
Did it taste as good as it looked? Not even close :). It definitely wasn’t my day for good food.
I returned home that day with 4 paintings, 2 t-shirts and a DVD of a banned band :).
All in all it was a great day, one that will not fade for a long while.