Yes, I know we are a big city family, but after six weeks of laid back Chiang Mai and and Penang, big city Kuala Lumpur has been an overload for our senses. We chose to stay in Ampang Park, supposedly the quieter embassy area and a 10 minute walk to KLCC – Kuala Lumpur City Center. However, the process of getting anywhere, including to the nearest convenience store or restaurant, involves crossing the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak. The latter is part of a set of roads that encircle the city and carries heavy traffic off the highway. We counted a total of 56 lanes at this intersection alone, plus or minus 8 lanes, depending on the whims of the drivers.
Every time we cross this intersection we feel like a family of Pac Men. There are walk signs, but they don’t apply to all turning traffic. With our family, this is made all the more challenging by who’s holding who’s hand, or carrying who, or pushing the stroller versus holding the umbrella (it rains every afternoon here).
We’ve also been scared into being ultra-vigilant about our belongings. The first word of caution locals give us is to watch out for motorcycle bag snatchers, who grab slung bags off pedestrians regardless what harm it may cause.
Between the intersection and the warnings, we’ve really had to work up a desire to go anywhere. This afternoon, we decided on a walk to KLCC Suria to pick up some power bars for a 12K that Sandeep is running tomorrow.
The combination of working our way through the intersection and walking with the kids made what should have been a ten minute walk thirty. When we finally arrived, mall information told us to head to Stadium, a sporting store carrying all the major brands. We jostled our way to the fourth floor, through focused holiday shoppers and dazed tourists. When we asked for power bars, a store attendant said “we only carry sporting goods.” Ok… We fought our way down a floor to Nike. All Nike had was stuff Nike makes. We persevered to Adidas. Same thing. By this time, it had been early 2 hours since we left our apartment and the kids were getting cranky. Kayan had seen a lollipop we refused to buy and was loudly protesting to anyone within ear shot.
We turned around and made the eventful trip back home, through what was 15 lanes of traffic at the time of our crossing. Defeated and exhausted, everyone crawled into bed for naps.
Tomorrow at 7 AM we’re off to cheer Sandeep. Luckily it’s far and early enough that we’re using it as an excuse to take a taxi.