Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ghost Town - Kuala Lumpur

After recuperating from my cold in Borneo for a week (in a hotel in the middle of a shopping mall - I don't even know where to begin to discuss how crazy that was), we flew to Kuala Lumpur to meet up with some good friends of mine, Paula and Charlotte. They were gracious hosts, housing us, feeding us and keeping us entertained for the time we were there (thanks guys). They also had an awesome view of Petronas Towers from their place:

I'd never heard of them before but apparently they're quite famous. Did I mention I work in an architecture faculty at a university? Anyhow, I thought a petronus was a type of spell Harry Potter learnt at Hogwarts.

It turned out that the weekend we arrived was of the Bersih 2.0 protests which call for clean elections in Malaysia. Like any reasonable government with nothing to hide, the Malaysian Government decided to lock down the city with riot police, water cannons and a level of iron-fisted authority which was mind boggling (and I've seen NSW cops in action so that's saying something). Given it was supposed to be a peaceful protest, it was all a bit ridiculous (of course, it was peaceful until the cops turned up). The net effect of this is that Kuala Lumpur turned into a relative ghost town.

Apparently, this is an unusual sight in one of the biggest cities in Asia.

Zombie apocalypse is nigh!

Of course, I missed all the action but the cops were up to their usual tricks (different country, same old bullshit) such as allowing the protesters 'safe' passage down a street, then blocking off the other end and pelting them with water cannons and tear gas. Read all about it HERE. Anyhow, there was a pro-Government group who were wearing shirts that said patriot on them (you can see them in red in the distance here - damn you, shitty camera lense but they're there).

They were shocked when the police had the audacity to water cannon them too. Didn't the police know they were government stooges? It was all relatively sedate with only over 1000 people arrested in one of the worst crackdowns in Malaysia in years.. sigh... At the far end of this photo is a cordon of riot police - I didn't feel like getting much closer.

Anyhow, aside from that excitment, there was lot's of tea drinking, good food and catching up and all too quickly we flew off to Istanbul. Istanbul is the reason I haven't been blogging because it is a level of awesome that incomprehensible to my little brain. I'll get to that but if you want to amuse yourself in the meantime, Ruth's just put her Istanbul photos up on flickr...

UK tomorrow and maybe some time to tell you about Istanbul...


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