Monday, October 12, 2015

First report from the field

The journey isn’t as much fun as the destination, despite what the old adage says. But then the travel was 11 hours flying from Paris and Kuala Lumpur the destination
The monorail
It's my first visit to Asia, and I am experiencing a new culture and enjoying it all so far. The weather is humid and the haze is quite thick (thanks to ‘burning season’ in Indonesia). We’ve had a massive thunderstorm both days with torrential rain - today’s thunder shook the building. I worked in our South East Asia office today in Petaling Jaya (PJ) and it was lovely to meet the team and learn more about their work. I know much more about the Madagascan tortoise population than before.

I travelled to the office from my hotel in the city – two trains and a cab. The monorail is speedy and easy to navigate, and though it was crammed full, it didn’t have the same claustrophobic atmosphere I find on the London Underground – maybe just because we were above ground and in the open.

Next to my hotel is a huge shopping centre that covers many floors. There are little market stalls in the central area, small stores and department stores. Names you know, and names you wouldn’t believe. One nice aspect of the city is that there is still quite a lot of green, but it is diminishing as this vibrant city grows and takes Malaysia up a peg or two on the World Bank scale of economies.

I’m here for a conference that starts tomorrow, and next week I will work more with our office here. At the weekend we have a field trip planned and I am hoping to see lots of birds, and maybe some other wildlife too (aside from the huge brown rat who crossed my path in PJ). I’ve already seen white tailed mynahs (probably very common, but not to me) and saw a lovely honey coloured raptor from the train (sadly too far away to identify).

This is a different culture, and one with a chequered history that means it is, by definition, multi-cultural. Everyone I have met so far has been friendly and pleasant, and the food has been great. I’ve eaten in two typical Malaysian cafés - satay and noodles mmm.... Most people speak English but some with such a strong accent that my old ears struggle to understand. Maybe after three weeks I will fall into the rhythm and assimilate more easily.

Well, that’s episode one – nothing very exciting to report except the fact that I am Kuala Lumpur! Wayhey!

(C) Photography

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