Left home on Thursday night at around 10:30 pm, arrived in KL at my hotel room about 2:30 pm on Saturday.

It’s a twelve hour time difference.

Basically you can’t go any further around the globe before you start coming back.

The  fifteen hour flight from Toronto to Hong Kong is difficult. I was dreading it.

But alhamdu lillah, I made it, legs a bit swollen but for the most part fine.

I’m in a hotel in Chinatown, the oldest part of Kuala Lumpur. Must say there’s a LOT of character!

A lovely lady I’d met two years ago at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content took me out to dinner and will take me sightseeing tomorrow insha Allah.

Her name is Daphne Lee, and she’s just the sweetest thing! The biggest thing we have in common is our love for literature!

You can see it on her face when she talks about it!

And she’s so funny. She took me to a Malay restaurant, much of the food was similar to Chinese food, not surprising!

I had some noodles with shrimp, and then, even though I shouldn’t have, I had some dessert. It was the strangest concoction I ever had! There were peanuts and shaved ice, and coconut jelly (I love coconut jelly!) and bits of red jelly and green jelly and interesting flavours all comingling!

Delicious! And very refreshing but very filling!

Kuala Lumpur has an amazing ambience to it! Parts of it feel like Toronto, you’ve got the oodles of tall buildings and the nice highways! And parts feel like Mexico, or Pakistan, or any other third world country, where you’ve got to watch your step over broken and uneven sidewalks and interesting smells from local eateries waft their way out into the street.

The people are SO friendly!

A number of friends of mine have told me that of all the Muslim countries they’ve been to, Malaysia was the best!

The only thing I’m concerned about is that I might gain back the weight I lost before I got here. (I’d gone on a very strict diet and I thought I’d just stick to it here too, but it’s proving very difficult.)

The weirdest thing! Even as I was typing that last sentence I heard the sound of fireworks!

When my friend Daphne was driving me back to the hotel we did come across crowds gathered a few blocks away with police. She didn’t know what it was about, and I thought nothing of it, but I’m sure it was for these fireworks.

Beautiful stars and roman candles and just such a pretty display!

I stopped typing, grabbed my glasses and watched. I’ve never been this high up to see fireworks, and you know what was funny? I saw lots of birds flying away! Hightailing it out of there. They must have been frightened out of their wits!

Now there’s nothing left but a smoky pall.

Oh but it was beautiful while it lasted.

Hmm. Is it an omen of good things to come? Who knows?

All I can say for certain is that my first day here was lovely!

And I’m looking forward to sightseeing tomorrow and then sitting down with some people interested in writing and sharing stuff I’ve learned.

Over and out.