Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kuala Lumpur

Max went to the quadrennial meetings of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July. Yes, we know, a blog is supposed to be a daily web log, not a retrospective. But that's what Max does for a living. In his words:

I flew to Los Angeles on a Saturday night and went to the International Terminal to catch the 1:15 AM, twelve and a half hour China Airlines flight to Taipei, Taiwan, followed by a four and a half hour flight to KL. The Church policy for long flights is to put us in business class, which is pretty nice. Good food, attentive service, and comfortable seats. Haven't enjoyed that much lately on a U.S. domestic flight.

Crossing the International Dateline put my arrive early Monday morning. There is a 14 hour time difference between SLC and KL, so I missed Sunday altogether.

The Malay peninsula is, as expected, a very beautiful, tropical place, green and lush. It's humid, but not extremely hot, even for its location almost on the equator and at summertime. It seems more like Hawaii to me. Malaysia is located on the Malay peninsula south of Thailand and north of the city-state of Singapore, and on the northern side of the island of Borneo. KL is located a bit inland in a valley surrounded by low mountains. It is a very modern city, as you will see from the photos. It is offically a Muslim nation, but they have a large Chinese and Indian population, so they are tolerant of other religions, including Hinduism. I learned that there is a small but growing LDS presence there. There is a Malaysian Mission (or maybe its the Singapore Mission, I'm not sure) and a branch in KL.

The ICA conference was a good one. There were 1,400 delegates from 120 countries. Many were from southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, but from every other continent as well. The Israeli delegation, however, could not get visas. They don't require visas for Americans.

Almost everyone spoke English and all the sessions I attended were in English, but they had translation into the Malay language and French, the three official languages of the meeting.

Here are some of the two hundred photos I took there:
The Prince Hotel and Towers, where I stayed. One tower is the hotel, the other has condos owned, it seemed to me, by wealthy Arab families who vacation in the more temperate climate.

The modern bathroom in my modern hotel room.

The KL cityscape from my hotel room.

The 88 story Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world until Taipei 101 took over the record. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings and office building in the world. The 42nd story sky bridge between the two buildings adds structural stability, circulation between the buildings, and a observation deck for tourists. Petronas is the state-own oil company.
A tourist on the skybridge.
A view from the skybridge. A large park and high-rise buildings.
Looking down at the roof of the large mall at the base of the towers. The mall is six stories and contains some of the world's most upscale stores. The lower level of the towers also has a symphony hall, the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, sponsored by the Petronas company.

One day I took a tour to the outskirts of KL to see the famous Hindu Shrine at Batu Caves. I ran across a program about the shrine on National Geographic TV the week before I left.
This is a view of the caves from the bottom of the staircase. The gold-colored idol at the right is about 100 feet high.
These two statues guard a temple at the bottom of the hill.
The last of the 272 steps to the cave.
Wild monkeys live inside and around the cave.
One of a half dozen shrines inside the cave.

It was an interesting trip. I left there the following Sunday afternoon for Taipei and left Taipei before I arrived in Los Angeles Sunday night. I stayed the night at a hotel near LAX, then flew to SLC early Monday morning. I was glad to be home. It only took be about five days to get back into Mountain Time.