Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The hotel receptionist in Kuala Lumpur marked up the map, detailing the optimal route for us to see the city’s myriad temples, mosques, markets, and architecture. We had arrived in Malaysia’s capital that afternoon after what felt like a full day traveling, having lost a few hours with the time change from Sri Lanka.
“You can see everything in one day,” she said, “but you’ll have to start early.”
The next morning our alarm went off at 6 and I turned it off and went back to bed.
We woke up refreshed much later, and ended up spending the day like Americans by hanging out at the mall. Next door to our hotel was largest one I had ever seen. Times Square, as it was named, was ten stories high with each floor the size of a typical suburban American shopping center. We sipped coffee at Starbucks, saw the marginally entertaining film Super 8, but passed on riding the indoor theme park’s roller coaster.
These identical round towers connected by a two story bridge displaced Chicago’s Sears Tower as the tallest building in the world when completed in 1998. I was living in Chicago at the time and remember that no one there was too happy. “The Sears Tower still has the tallest occupied floor!” or “If the Petronas Tower’s spires weren’t counted Sears would still be the highest!” they would exclaim. (All rendered moot just six years later when Taiwan’s Taipei 101 took the title.)
We watched Towers as the sun set from the 33rd floor of the Trader Hotel’s SkyBar lounge.