The following was written by Prince Charles Alexander, associate professor of music production and engineering.
Hello everyone. This is my third, and last, blog about my trip to the International College of Music (ICOM) in beautiful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a prolonged journey to get to Malaysia because of a typhoon, followed by four incredible days of seminar lectures, great food, and great company at ICOM, our job was done. Jeanine Cowen, Cecil Adderley, Susan Lindsay, and I were through with our Music Development Workshop mission for Berklee College of Music. It was time to relax and enjoy some of the beautiful landmarks and surrounding culture offered by Malaysia. We began our last day with an early morning rise to visit the Petronas Towers, which were the tallest structures in the world from 1998 to 2004. Of course, this presented me with a great opportunity to try out my newly purchased Nikkor 70-300mm lens on the stunning views of the Kuala Lumpur cityscape. The towers have a skybridge on the 42nd floor that we were able to take pictures from.
We completed the hour-and-a-half tour on the 86th floor’s observation deck before heading off for a day excursion at a nearby city called Melaka (or Malacca). Melaka is an hour and a half from Kuala Lumpur and is as historic a city in Malaysia as Boston is in the states. In this city you could not only sense the melding of the three Malaysian cultures (Malay, Chinese, and Indian), but also walk among artifacts from Portuguese, then Dutch, then British, and then Japanese rule before the country was declared independent in 1956. From temples to rickshaws to royal homes, the sprawling shipping lanes, and of course, good food, we were having a blast in the city. A fire broke out at a nearby shipping port and I got another chance to use my zoom lens. I couldn’t resist getting a photo of the Mercedes Benz fire truck!
After a full day of just being tourists, in a land that is actually not that strange, we headed back towards Kula Lumpur. On the way, we stopped off to actually eat the gnarly smelling “King of Fruits” called durian. Our host, Irene Savaree owns a durian farm and insisted that we partake in the fruit’s delights. We didn’t stop at her farm but found a roadside that had plenty of durian to go around. You see, durian is kind of like a big mushy foul smelling onion on the inside with a coconutty shell on the outside. Once you get past the smell it is rather fruity tasting, but…holding my nose…the smell…and it lingers. Wow!!! It’s definitely an acquired taste, but isn’t that what travel is all about. Anyway, I wasn’t going to let Sue Lindsay have all the fun. Honestly, if she hadn’t tried it first I might have begged off. Thanks Sue, you daredevil!
Back in Kuala Lumpur, we were able to catch a quick tour at 9:00 p.m. of the other tall building in the city called the KL Tower (Kuala Lumpur Tower). This building is looking right at the Petronas Towers so the camera got another good workout.
The day ended and we were back in travel mode the next morning. We ate a great steak dinner during our layover in L.A. and then Jeanine, Cecil, Susan, and I headed back to BeanTown. If you haven’t been, you gotta go to Malaysia. Peace, out!!