Saturday, October 27, 2012

Truly Malaysian - UNESCO World Heritage revisited

If one has heard of Malaysia, he/she can associate Her with its diverse culture and ethnicity blending together, and an enriched history that goes along with it. Old cultural buildings are preserved for future generations with it values. Malaysia is also bestowed with its natural resources, marine wonders and lush rainforests, adventures and discovery awaits to those who would want to venture them. Topping the list of what Malaysia has to offer, are the variety of food that is available here.

It was not my intention to visit UNESCO world heritage locations in Malaysia because they are world heritage, but rather a hungry, gastronomical journey (particularly Malacca and Penang) and I've yearned to visit Sabah since my university years in UNIMAS, Sarawak. This year, I managed to visit 2/4 of the suggested World Heritage in Malaysia, pretty happy about it.

Malacca and Penang, the two gems of Malaysia, rich with its historical values situated along the Straits of Malacca are known for its trading and cultural crossroads between both worlds from the East and West, dating as far as half a millennium ago.

The Dutch and Portuguese architectural influence in Malacca is prominently seen in the government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications in Malacca, whereas British colonial influence can be seen in Georgetown, Penang. Both towns portrays a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West, alongside with their multi-cultural living heritage originating from the trade routes from Great Britain and Europe through the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago to China. Of course, as what Malaysia is all about, the culture, landscape and architecture from its three major races - Malay, Chinese and Indian blended in these historical towns.

Notable buildings that you may want to visit (or revisit) are Stadthuys, A Famosa Fort and St.Paul's Hill in Malacca. In Penang however, feast your eyes on the artistic graffiti in Armenian Street and Cheong Fatt Tze's Mansion.

One of Malaysia's nature heritage includes the Kinabalu Park, rich with floras and faunas. The range of habitats available here is exceptional, from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. Development of new species are made possible here from the ideal conditions provided by the altitude and climatic gradient from tropical forest to alpine conditions combine with precipitous topography, diverse geology and frequent climate oscillations.

Out of the 14 states of Malaysia, I've yet to step on Perlis, Terengganu, and Johore. But when I do, rest assured that there is always something new to discover everyday, and those states are not exceptional.

A Night of Eroticism

While this is unlike what Sumptuous Erotica has to offer, I would like to warn before hand that this blog post contains suggestive and mild nudity contents, if you are easily offended or unable to view such materials, click  HERE to leave this post now, or support the turtles HERE.

My travel mates, Larry, Christa and Johan were wrapping the day up after a day trip in Paris city and the Versailles. Strolling through the street of Pigalle, we were constantly persuaded to enter and watch certain 'live shows' along the way. We declined, not sure why but that was what we did. 

We hunted for souvenirs and one particular museum caught our attention. Now this is scarce or non-existent in Malaysia, but this Erotic Museum we saw looks tempting (pun unintended).

I can't exactly recall how much we paid for the entrance, I think it was around € 5 or so. There's NO live models/dancers/performers here but what you can expect are contemporary arts that depicts eroticism. From sculptures to paintings, just keep an open perspective and you will find them less offensive and appreciate its arts value.

There's about 4-5 floors, the arts are generally not categorized here, so do take your time to slowly explore the museum. We went there quite late, so we briskly walk and managed to view all the floors here though. 

Alight at the Pigalle Paris Métro station, where you can see the famous Moulin Rouge, walk along the street and you would be able to find the museum, along side with other performances or adult genre entertainment you might be interested in.  

It's quite an eye opener, you may or may not skip this but we sorta enjoyed the museum 'tour'. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paris Day 3 : La Folie de Marie-Antoinette et Versailles

25th August 2011, Thursday

Approximately 20km from Paris is the suburb known as Versailles, which we were privileged to go visit on a Thursday morning. Alighting at Versailles Rive Gauche, we walked for about 10 minutes or so to the château.

The magnificent court of Versailles symbolized the center of political prowess in France from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789. A UNESCO heritage, this attraction was once a significant absolute monarchy symbol of the Ancient Regime.

Spare half a day if you are only going around the palace and the beautiful garden at the palace vicinity. However, do allocate a day trip if you're actually planning to enter the palace itself, you'll spend quite some time lining up  for entrance.

We managed to return to the city by noon. Our first stop then was  Musée d'Orsay (formerly Gare d'Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900). The museum houses French arts ranging from paintings, sculptures, furniture to photography, mostly dating from 1848 to 1915.

Another notable attractions that we landed ourselves to was the Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées - The street where bankruptcy from shopping made possible. I spent quite some time here not for shopping, but to look for a Longchamp bag for my mummy dearest, which was eventually found at Galeries Lafayette at Boulevard Haussmann.

By dawn, we made our way to Hard Rock Cafe, Paris. Not disappointing in any way, this branch is as happening as any of the other western HRC I've been to. After that, we had a light dinner before heading back to Pigalle to drop Christa and Johan. 

We also walked to the 'red light district', which I'll cover a bit in the future blog post I hope HERE :)

Tickets, more tickets
Overall, we did enjoyed Paris, from all the walking to the sight seeings, Paris is surely one of the cities that I don't exactly mind visiting again. Heads up, living up to their reputations, Parisians (most of them), can be less friendly at times, just act 'atas' when you're at the 'atas' areas with them. Blend in, they say :)