Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“Batu” in Indonesian means a stone, rock, brick or milestone. It may be a true milestone in some people’s life especially in a spiritual part of it. The Sri Subramaniam Temple built in 1891 is dedicated to Lord Murugan, youngest son of Shiva and his wife Parvati.

Batu caves is the most famous Hindu shrines outside India. It’s located in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s consider as a main attraction of Kuala Lumpur or even Malaysia. The temple located approximately on a 9th floor, 272 steps hike up, doesn’t arouse as much interest as a large statue of the Hindu god at the entrance. I’ve to admit it now: it’s impressive no matter if it’s a day or night, you’re just about to climb up or enjoying a view from the top of the stairs.

The place doesn’t attract only tourists. It’s also popular among members of Hindu communities all over the world. Batu Caves as a famous touristic destination is full of people every day but is really crowded once a year during Thaipusam festival (the exact time of celebration is based on lunar calendar – it’s the full moon day in the month of Thai which is January or February in the Gregorian calendar).

I took an uber from a hotel located in Bandar Sunway, Subang Jaya which is 30 km from Batu Caves. I was ready for my small adventure at 5 am but since I checked opening hours online (6 am to 9 pm) I decided to leave the hotel at 6 in the morning. I didn’t have to wait for long time for a driver to pick me up, probably because hotel is located in a neighborhood of Sunway Lagoon – well known water park in Malaysia, and Sunway Pyramid Mall – small shopping kingdom in the area. A young Malaysian guy didn’t try to hide his surprise when I confirmed the destination address.

  • You traveling alone? – He asked. Apparently, it was not only unexpected but also unimaginable for him.
  • Yes, I do. I mean… I’m here with a bunch of people but nobody wanted to join me. It’s a little bit early and I’m sure all of them are sleeping.
  • Sleeping, sleeping. Yes. Sleeping is good. Yes, yes. You should sleep too – He said with slightly taut voice following by nervous laughter.
  • Ah… Nah. I’m well rested and really want to see these caves. How long it’ll take to ride there? The app says that up to 30 minutes…
  • Yes, yes. 30 minutes. I try to find the fastest way.

Twenty-five minutes later we reach Batu Caves village, but it took another few minutes to get to the temple complex because my driver got lost in complicated road system. Anyway, I was there early enough to enjoy this special atmosphere of that unique moment when a night slowly turns into a day.

The gold statue of Lord Murugan – a Hindu god of war, guarding an entrance to the temple is very imposing. The statue is 42.7 meters in height which makes it the tallest statue in Malaysia. Besides that, it’s also the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and the second one in the World.

Wow! And I saw it with my own eyes!

I could admire the view of the statue for a dozens of minutes because, what I’ve learned on the spot, the entrance to the main cave called Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave is open at 7 in the morning. I was exploring almost empty complex and I was completely fine with that. I saw some people meditating and/or praying in small shrines located at the foot of limestone hill, salesmen slowly setting up their stands. And then, just a few minutes before 7, I noticed a man girded with a piece of cloth. He started hiking up the stairs. I followed him immediately. Sun was rising and I stopped for several seconds in the middle of the concrete stairs to enjoy the view. It was stunning.

However, when I reached the Cathedral Cave, I was a bit disappointed. Atmosphere of this place that appeared in my imagination as mystical was tarnished. In the dark cave with very high ceiling and beautiful shrines was a… construction site. There’re pile of bricks set against the wall, pipes and other items needed on site. Another disappointment was that I didn’t meet any monkey neither on my way up nor down. It was too early for monkeys. Probably they were sleeping in some cozy place just like my crew. 😉 I met two roosters in the Temple Cave though that were crowing from time to time announcing the beginning of the day. I also met a peacock walking proudly across the complex.

 

Half an hour later I was downstairs again. Meantime I’ve discovered that the other caves: Dark Cave and Cave Villa, that I wanted to visit, open at 10 am and 9 am. I couldn’t stay there that long so around 8 am decided to go back to my hotel.

On my way, I accidentally took a taxi. Yes, it was unplanned event partially forced by a taxi driver. I was considering taking a train. I really like to travel by public transportation. I don’t need to talk to anybody but listen to my favorite music. I can also observe people and learn a little bit more about a local society. However, a taxi driver slowed down and finally stopped watching me coming out of the complex. I ran to the car and opened passenger back door.

  • Can we go to Sunway hotel? – I asked aware that it’s far away.
  • Sunway? – He hesitated but it was too late. I was already sitting in the car. Taxi smelled strange but I decided to stay inside.
  • I can show it to you on the map. It’s where the Sunway Mall is. There’s also a water park…
  • Sunway hotel? There’s a Sunway hotel a few minutes from here…
  • No, no, this one is about half an hour drive… You know… It’s a pretty huge complex with a mall and a water park… and you have a resort and spa there…
  • Ohhh… in Subang Jaya?
  • Hm… probably… – I tuned on my map offline app and showed it to him pointing on the screen. – It’s here.
  • Yes, yes – he confirmed. – Sunway Pyramid Hotel…
  • Yas! – I exclaimed gladly didn’t let him finish. Once I sat back on a comfortable this old car I realized how tired I am. My leg hurt and my eyelids became heavy.
  • The jam is now… very big. Everybody go to work. To KL. To the city…. – He started the conversation.
  • What you mean? You won’t wake me there? – I asked apprehensively.
  • No, I can go there. We will try to find the fastest way but it’s just a wrong… wrong time. You should wait two – three hours more and go. Now, everybody go to KL.
  • KL?
  • Kuala Lumpur. The city. Everybody work there. After two hours… they work. No jam.
  • Oh… I see. I would love to stay longer but I have no time to wait.
  • Okay, Okay. You alone here?
  • I’m with my… colleagues. But they couldn’t join me and I really wanted to see this place. I may have no opportunity of visiting Kuala Lumpur soon so I’ve decided to go to the caves by myself. I’m doing that all the time anyways…

The guy gazed at me and smiled confused. Probably couldn’t catch my point. I smiled back.

He’s a man of Indian origin in his fifties who was born in Malaysia. His parents moved from India one year before India gained independence from the Great Britain (which was exactly 50 years ago – in August 1947). The man speaks fairly good English and was very talkative. I didn’t have any difficulties with understanding him but, the truth is that, my communication skills improved since I moved to Dubai and started working as a flight attendant. Anyway, I could understand him and it does matter.

He never traveled to India and doesn’t consider himself as an Indian. He could recognize himself as a member of Indian community in Malaysia though. In one sentence, he discouraged and encouraged my willingness to visit this part of the world. He said, India is a very dangerous country and I should not travel there so that he would say that Indian cuisine is the best and cultural legacy should be cultivated. He told stories about raped girls, beat up boyfriends of those girls and afterwards assured that religion and spirituality is the most important aspect of life in Hinduism. Sometimes I find it surprising, how people identify themselves. How many contradictions are in their minds.

  • You know why caves closed now? – He resumed conversation after a moment of silence.
  • Sorry? What was that? – I was looking through the window wondering how long it’ll take to get to the hotel. We really stacked in the traffic.
  • You said that they were closed and you wanted to go inside.
  • Some time ago… they were open day and night for everybody. All time open.
  • Oh, really? What happened? Why they’re closed at night?
  • Because of Muslims.
  • Oh?
  • Malaysia… a capital… KL…. Most people living here is Muslim. The second is Indians and Chinese. Chinese and Indian are okay together. They talk sometimes in English and they can speak English because of that. Youngsters… they can’t. They are hanging out together in their…
  • Communities?
  • Groups only. We are not best friends but talk. Indians, Indian-Malaysians, Chinese… but not Muslims. They hate Indians…
  • Do they?
  • Are you Muslim?
  • Nope – I giggled. – I do live in Dubai but I’m not a Muslim for sure. I’m from Poland. My family members are Christians if I can generalize but I am… am a free spirit. I believe in power of brain and kindness and joy and that you can create your own reality and destiny…
  • Okay, okay. Christians and Indians are okay together – he interrupted not interested in what I was saying. – What I was saying… O! Muslim hate Indians and they try to fight them. They think that Malaysia is their country but it’s not. It’s our country same as theirs.
  • Oh… yes. Yea… But the caves…
  • O, o, o! Exactly! – We finally found his train of thoughts. – Muslims destroyed alters, shrines, the temple!
  • Did they!? – I was surprised. My knowledge about political situation in Malaysia was equal to zero.
  • In… in this book… Quran… is written that no other temple or statue of god can be higher that a mosque. And this gold statue of Murugan is very, very tall.
  • Oh… I see… It’s so… unfair….
  • I should send you to train. That jam is very bad. I’ll find another way but…
  • I can take a train. It’s fine with me… – I told feeling a bit nauseous because of a funny smell in the taxi. – Where’s the closest station?
  • You sure? You don’t used to public transportation… Do you know how to do it? – He asked with doubt.
  • Of course, I know! – I laughed curious how did he come to that but I didn’t ask.

He gazed at me again and agreed. On our way to KL Sentral – a railway station from which I was instructed to take LRT to Kelana Jaya, he explained me several times step by step what should to do to get back to the hotel safely. He took a responsibility for me and apparently felt guilty that couldn’t transport me to my final destination.

I listened to him and followed his instructions fairly well. I faced small problem on the last leg on my trip. I supposed to take another taxi from Kelana Jaya station but I should buy a ticket for this taxi – not take from a parking or bus station but I couldn’t find an adequate machine to purchase a ticked so I gave up and took a taxi from in front of the tram station building. They charged me double for this short trip but I didn’t regret it. I’ve learned a lot that day and it was worth every penny.

 

Gallery

Welcome to Miami

Miami is a well-known city in Florida placed on the east coast of the United States. The city attracts worldwide attention with no doubt as it’s promoted as a place of never ending fun and vacation. Miami is famous for its beaches, nightlife, and liberality and open mindedness of people there. When we – foreigners, say “Miami” more likely we think of Miami Beach. When locals say “Miami” in conversation with a sightseer they may refer not only to the city but also to smaller cities in the area.

 

Miami to dobrze znane miasto na Florydzie mieszczącej się na wschodnim wybrzeżu Stanów Zjednoczonych. Miasto bez wątpienia przyciąga uwagę osób na całym świecie, jako że jest promowane jako miejsce nigdy niekończącej się zabawy i wakacji. Miami słynie z plaży, życia nocnego oraz liberalizmu i otwartości ludzi tam przebywających. Gdy my – zagraniczniacy, mówimy „Miami” prawdopodobnie mamy na myśli Miami Beach. Gdy lokalsi mówią „Miami” w rozmowie ze zwiedzającym, mogą odnosić się nie tylko do miasta, ale również do okolicznych miasteczek.

 

Las Olas Beach, Fort Lauderdale – Cool place where locals hang out

Our hotel was in Pompano Beach which is a town located 37 miles (59,5 km) from the city of Miami. The Boeing 777-200 arrived to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in the morning so we could have fun all day long. Our plan was simple: it’s a beach day. We were tired after more than 15 hours-long flight and wanted to relax. Curiosity and excitement didn’t let us stay in our hotel rooms. Miami was too far for us though. Two hours after landing we gathered in a lobby and booked two Ubers that drove us to Fort Lauderdale. We spent the afternoon and early evening chilling out on the beach, sipping cold beer and playing volleyball. After the dusk, we moved to one Cuban restaurant with live music, delicious food and huge Margaritas. People were strolling the boulevard, sitting in beach restaurants. There’re lots of youngsters enjoying the spring break, tourists and locals. You could clearly feel freedom and happiness in the air. Fort Lauderdale with its beaches and nightlife is a great alternative to Miami South Beach. It’s not that crowded and is way cheaper but also not that fancy like famous Miami Beach.

 

Las Olas Beach, Fort Lauderdale – fajne miejsce, gdzie spotykają się mieszkańcy

Nasz hotel znajdował się w Pompano Beach, która jest miastem ulokowanym 37 mil (59,5 km) od miasta Miami. Boeing 777-200 przybył na lotnisko międzynarodowe Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) o poranku, więc mieliśmy przed sobą cały dzień. Nasz plan był prosty: dzień na plaży. Byliśmy zmęczeni po locie trwającym dłużej niż 15 godzin i chcieliśmy się zrelaksować. Ciekawość i ekscytacja nie pozwoliły nam zostać w pokojach hotelowych. Miami było jednak dla nas za daleko. Dwie godziny po wylądowaniu zebraliśmy się w lobby i zamówiliśmy dwa Ubery, które zabrały nas do Fort Lauderdale. Popołudnie i wczesny wieczór relaksowaliśmy się na plaży sącząc zimne piwo i grając w siatkówkę. Po zmierzchu przenieśliśmy się do kubańskiej restauracji z muzyką na żywo, pysznym jedzeniem i ogromnymi Margaritas. Ludzie spacerowali po deptaku, przesiadywali w restauracjach przy plaży. Było tam mnóstwo młodzieży korzystającej z przerwy wiosennej, turystów i mieszkańców. W powietrzu unosił się zapach wolności i radości. Fort Lauderdale ze swoimi plażami i życiem nocnym jest wspaniałą alternatywą dla Miami South Beach. Nie jest tak zatłoczony i jest o niebo tańszy niemniej nie tak ekstrawagancki jak słynne Miami Beach.


 

Miami South Beach – undisputed wildness and Art Deco

SoBo, American Riviera, Art Deco Playground are the most popular nicknames for one of the famous beaches in Florida. You can see photos and footages of superstars, stars or theoretically average people who are enjoying their Miami-beach adventure. The materials are all over the world – in TV and internet. Everything looks gorgeous, crazy, luxurious, wild and… it’s like that, indeed. Miami Beach with the most splendorous South Beach is an extravagant and bizarre place that attract celebrities, careerists, party animals, teenagers, couples, singles – basically everybody. If it’s your dream to visit Miami Beach, don’t hesitate and make your dream come true. You can also call this island tawdry, trashy, extremely touristic destination but I love it mostly because its Art Deco buildings and streets filled with Cuban culture.

I remember clearly when experienced SoBo first hand. Three years ago, black mustang after one hour of riding around the city finally parked. We got out of the car and rushed to see the Atlantic Ocean. My best friend and I were tired after two days on the road but we just got our reward. We felt white sand under our feet, the sun stroking our skins and gentle breeze touching our hair. Even though we were at that stage of giving each other a hard time, it was one of the happiest moments in my life. Folks who read my book should know what I’m talking about. 😉

Apart from that, during my recent trip do SoBo I’ve decided to visit again all these awesome places that I’ve been to three years ago. I left my crew at the beach and went for a long, long walk. I’ve discovered one thing: nothing’s changed apart from me. 😉

 

Miami South Beach – niekwestionowana dzikość i Art Deco

SoBo, Amerykańska Riwiera, Plac zabaw Art. Deco to najbardziej popularne ksywki dla jednej z najbardziej popularnych plaży na Florydzie. Możesz obejrzeć zdjęcia i materiały filmowe pokazujące supergwiazdy, gwiazdy i teoretycznie przeciętnych ludzi cieszących się przygodą w Miami Beach. Materiały dostępne są na całym świecie – w telewizji i internecie. Wszystko wygląda cudnie, szalenie, luksusowo, dziko i… takie właśnie jest. Miami Beach z najbardziej wyśmienitą South Beach jest miejscem ekstrawaganckim i dziwacznym, które przyciąga celebrytów, karierowiczów, imprezowiczów, nastolatków, pary, singli – generalnie każdego. Jeśli twoim marzeniem jest odwiedzenie Miami Beach, nie krępuj się i zrealizuj je. Możesz również nazwać tę wyspę sztampową, kiczowatą, ekstremalnie turystyczną destynacją, ale ja ją uwielbiam, głównie ze względu na budynki w stylu Art. Deco i ulice wypełnione kubańską kulturą.

Pamiętam dokładnie, gdy z pierwszej ręki doświadczyłam SoBo. Trzy lata temu czarny mustang, po godzinie jeżdżenia w kółko po mieście, w końcu zaparkował. Wysiedliśmy z samochodu i pospieszyliśmy zobaczyć Ocean Atlantycki. Mój najlepszy przyjaciel i ja byliśmy zmęczeni po dwóch dniach w trasie, jednakże otrzymaliśmy swoje wynagrodzenie. Poczuliśmy biały piasek pod stopami, słońce pieszczące nasze skóry i delikatną bryzę dotykającą naszych włosów. Mimo że w tamtym okresie dużo się sprzeczaliśmy, to był jeden z najszczęśliwszych momentów w moim życiu. Osoby, które przeczytały moją książkę powinny wiedzieć o czym mówię.

Abstrahując od tego, podczas mojej ostatniej wycieczki do SoBo, postanowiłam ponownie odwiedzić wszystkie te wspaniałe miejsca, w których byłam trzy lata temu. Zostawiłam członków załogi na plaży i wybrałam się na długi, długi spacer. Odkryłam jedną rzecz: nic się nie zmieniło za wyjątkiem mnie. 😉

How do YOU use social media?

No matter how are you enthusiastic about or addicted to social media, I’m sure that you’re using them on daily basis. This post isn’t about how the new technology and social media are bed or not even about how awesome (because they’re truly awesome) they are. It contains a short reflection about an incredible sad discovery that I made today. There’s nothing revealing though… 😉

I’m curious what do you think about it.

 

Niezależnie od tego jak entuzjastycznie podchodzisz do Social Media lub jesteś od nich uzależniony jestem przekonana, że codziennie z nich korzystasz. Ten post nie jest o tym, jak nowe technologie i Social Media są złe ani nawet nie o tym jak zarąbiste (bo są prawdziwie zarąbiste) są. Post zawiera krótką refleksję na temat niesamowicie smutnym olśnieniu, którego dziś doznałam. Jednak nie ma w tym nic odkrywczego… 😉 

Jestem ciekawa, co o tym sądzicie.

Czytaj dalej How do YOU use social media?

Yosemite National Park

Do you like nature? I do! I LOVE spending my free time in the bosom of nature! Even though trees, grass and flowers aren’t a part of natural environment in the region where I live now, I try to spend as much time as I possible surrounded by beautiful green nature. You would be surprised how many green spots (created by a human) are in Dubai! But… in this post I won’t talk about a habitat of the UAE.  Instead of that enjoy…

A few words about Yosemite National Park.

Czytaj dalej Yosemite National Park

Deep Ellum, Dallas

A few words about… Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX, USA

If you’re looking for something different to do, see and experience in Dallas area, you should definitely visit Deep Ellum. This neighborhood is located in the east side of Dallas, near downtown. It was a place where bluesmen and jazzmen were gathering back in the ’20s. The soul of blues and jazz still lives there. 😉
Czytaj dalej Deep Ellum, Dallas

Frenchmen Street, NOLA

A few words about… Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA, USA.

An unexpected thing happened to me a couple days ago. I went out with friends. We were standing at the bar, waiting for our beers, chatting about everything-and-nothing and suddenly … the subject in our conversation changed. We started talking about New Orleans. The longing awoke in my heart. The feeling was real and strong. I can feel it even now. The truth is that I do miss the U.S. and my adventure there. I’ve never tried to hide this fact. Czytaj dalej Frenchmen Street, NOLA

Holi – colors, love and happiness

Holi is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated every year. It starts on full moon (Phalguna Purnima) of the spring equinox and lasts for two days. The celebration is determined by position and phases of the moon and sun so the date varies from year to year but usually comes in March, rarely in February. Although this year Holi is on the 13th of March, events in Dubai take place at the weekend before and the weekend after this day.

Holi jest starożytnym świętem hinduskim obchodzonym co roku. Rozpoczyna się podczas pełni księżyca (Phalguna Purnima) równonocy wiosennej i trwa przez dwa dni. Świętowanie jest uzależnione od pozycji i faz księżyca oraz słońca, więc każdego roku przypada na inny dzień, jednak na ogół ma miejsce w marcu, rzadziej w lutym. Mimo że w tym roku Holi przypada na 13 marca, w Dubaju wydarzenia odbywają się w weekend przed i weekend po tym dniu.

Czytaj dalej Holi – colors, love and happiness

Krótko o „The Redhead. Daleki za Oceanem” i moich uczuciach związanych z publikacją

Pozwól, że zabiorę Cię na małą wycieczkę. Cofnijmy się kilka lat wstecz. Wciąż jest tak, jak było. Właściwie nic się nie zmieniło. Wszystko wygląda podobnie. No… Może technologia poszła trochę naprzód i hitem jest iPhone7, a nie iPhone 5, ale jednak nic nie zmieniło się tak mocno, abyśmy mieli do czynienia z kompletnie odmiennym światem – abstrakcyjną rzeczywistością.

Nic się nie zmieniło? Ależ niezupełnie. Zmieniłam się ja.

Czy zmienił się Twój świat? Tego nie mogę stwierdzić, lecz mój świat wywrócił się do góry nogami.

„I jak to się stało?” Zapytasz. Z pewnością nie zdarzyło się to w ułamku sekundy. Proces zajął mi dwa, nawet trzy lata i trwa nadal. Robię krok w tył, kilka kroków w przód, tu się potknę, tu upadnę, gdzie indziej podskoczę, przeskoczę przeszkodę i nadrobię zaległości.

Ta książka nie opowiada o tym, jak się zmieniłam. Jest bardziej o tym, jak się zmieniałam. Ta książka opowiada o tym, co budowało moje życie, co było ważne i co kochałam. Co nadal kocham.

***

Czytaj dalej Krótko o „The Redhead. Daleki za Oceanem” i moich uczuciach związanych z publikacją

You’re here. Again.

What you’re doing here?

When you’re home

Alone…

Again.

 

Nothing’s done

Still the same

Even you…

Changeless.

 

What you’re doing whole your day?

Round the clock…

Are you here?

Nothing’s changed.

 

How about going out?

Disappearing…

No… You’re here

Still the same.