After Melaka, I decided to head back to KL for one more day. I just couldn't leave without visiting the fireflies in Kuala Selangor, so I took a bus back, booked a hotel for one night and called up the friendly taxi driver I'd met a few days prior and arranged for an evening tour. To kill some time before the trip I headed over to Chinatown, just a few blocks away, and it turned out that as it was the end of the Lunar New Year there were lion processions and drums making their way down the main street.
The crowd quickly swooped in on the procession and as cameras clicked away and people jostled together to get to the front, things got a bit heated. I saw an old Chinese man, having just been bumped by a tourist, start yelling and almost throwing a punch as the offender quickly scuttled away into the throng. I snapped a few shots and got myself out of that mob, figuring that a nice lunch in a tucked away cafe would be a safer bet.
One interesting side note, or at least interesting to me, is that it seems like in every country I've been to so far they cluster businesses of similar types together, instead of spreading them apart. I'm not sure what this does for competition and how one place ends up getting business while another sits waiting, but it was lovely to discover the street of florists within the hot and busy streets of KL.
If you've ever played Plants vs. Zombies, doesn't this look JUST like the
pea shooter plants? I wonder if these flowers/fruits/whatevers
served as inspiration for those.
Clouds were starting to roll in signaling rain and threatening to ruin my evening plans, but my guide called me and asked if he could come get me an hour earlier to try and beat the weather and the corresponding traffic. I was all set to go, but we still didn't leave quite in time and just as we were exiting the city, the sky opened up and a torrential rain, complete with thunder and lightening, flooded the streets. Traffic slowed to a crawl and we had to skip the first stop, a night market, because of the rain and because we were kind of too early for it. Luckily as we neared the Silver Monkey forest the rain stayed in the city and we left the last few raindrops behind us at the convenience shop where we got peanuts.
While just as hungry and grabby as the macaques, the Silver Monkeys were very gentle and not at all aggressive with their long nimble fingers. They swarmed around me as soon as I opened the bag of peanuts, climbing on my shoulders, reaching out from tops of nearby cars, and trying to climb up my pants to get at the treats. But they never fought with each other or got too mean with me.
The cool thing about these monkeys is that when they're born, they're tiny golden orange bundles of fur, which quickly turns to silver as they grow up. This little guy couldn't get over his own reflection in the car window and kept trying to play with the monkey on the other side.
I think that monkey wanted to see if the baby tasted of mangoes.
Once the bag of peanuts was emptied, we headed further towards a nearby lake for a traditional seafood dinner. Unfortunately, the best place, according to my guide, was closed due to the same LNY festivities that caused a mob earlier and we had to settle for 2nd best. I let my guide order for us and the grilled fish of indeterminable origin was delicious, as were the stir fried greens and prawns he got to go with it. I don't know what the best place would have been like, but I was feeling pretty happy with how things were turning out so far. We watched the sun set behind the gray clouds over the lake and as it started to get dark we drove off towards the firefly grove.
Fireflies here live in the mangrove trees, which in turn grow along the sides of a river, so you need to hire a little canoe in order to get close. Each canoe fits 4 people and you pay per boat, not per person, so my guide talked another group into taking me with them and sharing the fee. I can't even describe how amazing the experience was. At first we ventured out into dirty brackish waters towards trees that looked like they were covered in LED lights that quickly flickered in and out like Christmas trees. I was almost starting to be convinced that it was all fake when our driver guided the canoe straight into a copse of trees...and we were surrounded by tiny little flickering bugs! They were smaller and much more excitable than the ones that sluggishly blink occasionally back home, but I was able to cradle one in my hand and it happily glowed it's little butt off in my palm for a few seconds before flying off. I tried to capture it on video or at least take a picture, but because they're so small and it was so dark, nothing came out, but it was definitely worth the trip.