Kuala Lumpur is not my favourite city. As Asian cities go, it's a baby - founded by the British in the nineteenth century. It has no stories of derring-do, nor ancient artefacts.
There are solid colonial buildings to remind me of its past, but even so it feels to me as if it struggles to find an identify as a capital city.
And, like so many cities, it looks for that identity in commerce. From the tourists' point of view this presents as shopping. I wonder if KL has looked over her shoulder at the success of Singapore and noticed that the proliferation of shopping malls appears to have brought prosperity. So, why not try follow the same path?
As a non-shopper, it all feels a bit pointless. There's little that I can't buy at home. Besides, what has shopping to do with cultural identity - and that's the bit I'm interested in.
Having said all that, I spent my few days in KL seeking out the most non-commercial corners. Beginning with the Islamic Arts Museum - which I love. It's light, and spacious, and cool. It is a place of reflection. I could meander among its quiet beauty and think. I began to understand why Islamic art is a genre in its own right - and what makes it different, and special. The Koran discourages any representation of a living form: the result is a sequence of exotic shapes and patterns.
For instance, I looked through a window to see this dome:
And this is what it looked like from the inside:
There's also a lovely bird park, where I could wander, and marvel, and not be pressured into buying anything other than bird food. I'm sorry I don't have pictures - I gave up, as it was a Saturday when I was there and it was impossible to take a picture that didn't have someone else's selfie stick in it! (Grrrrr!)
Not all the streets are lined with shops. However, I found it impossible to take pictures of some of the more impressive buildings without a skyscraper in the background. For me, this beautiful mosque is marred by that phallic construction perched behind the central dome.
And this row of colonial buildings doesn't need an apartment block behind it.
And not all the shopping opportunities were dull. This is the covered way beside the Central Market (full of tourist trinkets but better than most), with the Chinese lanterns all ready for the New Year celebrations. It must have been riotous in that passageway that night!