November 7, 2015: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — I took off from Sri Lanka at 1 a.m. local time and landed in Kuala Lumpur at 7 this morning, though the flight was only three hours. When the plane touched down, I was dead out and woke up fast and hard: “Am I in a crash? Where am I? What country is this?”
A town planner named Azlina Binti Mokhtar and her colleague, Hasman, whisked me into the mountains above downtown. Within an hour, we were looking at Streaked Wren-Babblers and Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes backdropped by the metropolis below. A stone’s throw away loomed the massive First World Hotel (the world’s largest hotel, with more than 7,500 rooms) and the rest of the Genting Highlands casino and resort, which straddles two states. It was a beautiful morning, crisp enough to see for miles and cool enough to wear sleeves without feeling sticky.
Welcome to Malaysia! I’ll spend almost two weeks in this country, from Peninsular Malaysia to northern Borneo. Azlina, Hasman and I met a local birder named Woei Ong for a few hours this morning, then had lunch with the Hulu Selangor District Council Secretary, Azman Bin Dahlan, before meeting a Leica representative back in Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon.
In between, birds kept us busy. I hit the sack early tonight, recharging for the next leg of this journey. The big year rolls on…
New birds today: 10
Year list: 5145