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Saturday, May 22, 2010

I-CAL - Day 5 - Malaysia

Rainforests, monkeys, leeches and caves: today in Malaysia was filled with excitement and adventure! We started off our day bright and early with a 2-hour drive from Malaka back to Kuala Lumpur. We stopped on the outskirts of the city to visit a forest reserve that met all of our dreams and expectations of what a rainforest should entail. Lush green vegetation, tall trees, huge insects and even bigger rocks surrounded us as we hiked through the jungle. Soon after we arrived, however, our rainforest experience became complete when the daily Malaysian rain came pouring down. Within minutes we were soaked, but that didn’t stop us from trudging up the trail to the canopy walkway. After dealing with a few leeches, we felt like Tarzan as we walked across the treetops on nothing more than ropes and boards- an experience none of us will soon forget. The fog rolling in over the endless trees created an image that was everything we had ever imaged a rainforest would be.

After our rainforest adventure, we stopped for lunch and a cup of excellent Malaysian tea at the Malay Tea House, and then continued our day of discovery at Batu Caves. The caves, located exactly 270 steps above Kuala Lumpur, contain an ancient Hindu temple with golden statutes and elaborate alters. The wild monkeys provided endless entertainment as we climbed the steps to gaze out over the city and view the caves. We finished the experience with coconut juice as we headed back into the city.

After a stop at Central Market to purchase some authentic Malaysian souvenirs, we headed back to the hotel to wipe off the rainforest grime and prepare for our last evening in Malaysia. Our last stop of the day was the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the fourth tallest tower in the world. We spent some time on the observation deck before heading to dinner at the revolving restaurant that provided an excellent view of the city from hundreds of meters in the air. The cuisine was top notch, and the buffet tables were laden with both Malaysian and Western food, complete with a desert table that was second to none. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to Kuala Lumpur.

After a quick ride back to the bottom of the tower, it was time to say farewell to one of our wonderful hosts, Shellen, and her husband, Steve. Our trip would not have been possible without her expertise and guidance, and we parted with the hope of meeting again in the future.
By then, it was getting late, and some returned to the hotel while others spent a few minutes walking around Bukit Bintang Square, which is Kuala Lumpur’s equivalent to Times Square. The square offered bright lights, Starbucks and exciting shopping which provided an entertaining evening for all.

Malaysia was truly a diverse and exciting nation that provided tremendous opportunities to learn about agriculture and try new things. We will be sad to leave Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, but we are looking forward to experiencing a new country and culture in Taiwan.

Emily Schneider – Kansas State University
Lucas Fuess – Cornell University


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