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Malaysia

 

Our stay in Malaysia was brief but very interesting.  We did easy day hops from Singapore through the Malacca Straits with stops in Port Dickson, Port Klang, Penang and Langkawi.  The Malacca Straits have a fearsome reputation for piracy but like most such stories the threat is way overblown and we felt about as safe here as we would in the Chesapeake Bay.  The only real danger here seemed to be the massive thunderstorms that would build up every afternoon about 4 pm. 

This area is famed as the center of the Spice Island trade and was variously fought over and controlled by the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English each of whom left their mark.  Malaysia did not become independent until 1957 and there are still special provisions in the constitution to make sure native Malays don't become second class citizens in their own country which is full of industrious Chinese and Indians.   Islam is the official state religion and the Moslem influence here is considerably stronger here than in Indonesia.  Islamic courts enforce many laws and seeing women in headscarves or full  purdah with their faces covered was common.

From Port Dickson we made inland trips to historic Melaka and the bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur.  Melaka was wonderful with its Dutch architecture and a museum on every other street.  One street had a Chinese temple, a Mosque and a Hindu Shrine all nearly side by side.   Kuala Lumpur best landmark is the twin towers of the Petronas oil company which were featured in the movie Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zita Jones.  Nearby was a radio tower that was ranked as the fourth highest in the world and the viewing platform there gave us a fantastic perspective over the entire city. 

Our entry into Port Klang gave us a chance to sail alongside the main shipping terminal and watch the ships from all over world unload their cargo.  The massive cranes that unload the ships are called horses and similar ones near San Francisco had long ago given George Lucas the inspiration for some of the original Star Wars creatures. 

Penag is another historic spot that today boasts a sizeable Indian community mostly clustered in a square mile of the city known as Little India. We managed to bypass the stores selling pirate DVD's showing the Bollywood favorites but succumbed to several curry restaurants where a full meal often set us back as much $2 each. 

From Pennag we moved on to Langkawi the final stop on the Sail Asia rally.  Here we rode a cable car to the top of the mountain overlooking the city and later looked at a landmark statue of an eagle which gave Langkawi its name. 

 

 

      Sunrise in Malacca straits  Chinese Temple Roof Detail

Trishaw Driver and Historian    Petronas Towers 

 The Old and the New   African cargo ship 

 Melaka Architecture   The Langkawi Eagle 

 Kuala Lumpur   Kuala Lumpur 

 Approaching Hole in the Wall   Container Ship 

 Ship from China      Approaching Storm      Lunch with friends   Container ship

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Webmaster- Rob Dubin                             copyright 2003-2006   Rob  Dubin               Page Last updated 12/03/2006