We set the alarm for 7am and get up fairly swiftly. The reason for this is twofold; firstly we have to visit the Thai Embassy today to get 60 day tourist visas. UK citizens can visit Thailand for 30 days without a visa but we feel that as we may want to stay longer and spend less time in Cambodia it is better to sort this out before we get to Thailand.
The second reason for getting up earlier is to try and improve our sleeping and subsequent eating patterns.
We arrive at the Embassy before 9am and are bit disappointed to see a long queue has already formed (especially as the doors don’t open until 9.30). It is already very hot but we have come prepared with water and the kids’ games to keep them quiet.
The visa application process is simple enough and by 11 o’clock we have handed over our passports, 4 photos and 100 ringitt. (The exchange rate is around 6 ringitt to the pound). We are informed that we have to return to the embassy tomorrow morning between 11.30 and 12.30 to collect our passports and visas.
We walk along the road past the various embassies; this is a smart area of town with lots of colonial style buildings. We stop for lunch at a hawker centre and then make our way to the Petronas Towers that dominate the skyline.
We all remember watching “The Race for the Worlds Tallest Building” on TV a few years ago. This documented the story of the building of the towers and it’s great to see them for real. Completed in1998 to the cost of 1.9 billion US dollars the 88 storey twin towered building is an amazing sight and also very beautiful. The floor plan is based on the 8 pointed star seen in Islamic art and these influences are also evident in the 5 tiers of each tower that represent the 5 pillars of Islam.
We want to go up to the skybridge that connects the towers but as it is closed on Mondays will probably return tomorrow to do this. We take lots of photos but eventually the heat gets too much and we head back to the hotel. On the way the taxi driver tells us that the temperature in Malaysia is fairly constant all year round and “only goes up to 40″ degrees in the summer. At 34 degrees today I think this is quite hot enough though.
We spend the next few hours learning about the Islamic faith. It is part of the curriculum for year 8 pupils and we wanted Ali and Maisie to study this whilst in Malaysia as the majority of Malay’s are devout Muslims. We also learnt that there are large minorities of Chinese and Indians and that despite some racial tensions on the whole everyone gets along well. Our first impressions of Malaysia are very good the weather is perfect; the people seem friendly and helpful and getting around is easy using trains and taxis.
We decide to go out again around 8pm, the kids are hungry and we want to see the Petronas Towers at night.
This turns out to be a good idea. The towers look absolutely awesome all lit up in the dark and we take a few more shots.
We head back around 10pm we are really tired and need some sleep. Tomorrow we will try and find some internet access. This has been a bit more difficult than we expected and although we quickly checked a few emails today we need to update the website also.
Off to bed now, we have the easy listening channel on the radio which plays a never ending supply of Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, Abba and songs from Grease. I love it.