Monday, September 10, 2007

Malaysia's "Buckingham Palace"

United Kingdom may have their Buckingham Palace, the Palace Guards and the Queen. This is our Malaysia's equivalent. We too have our equivalent of Buckingham Palace - the Istana. Here is a photo of its main entrance:


You see the 2 pairs of Palace guards on both sides of the gate? So we too have our Palace Guards, and on rock-still horses too, just like those at the real Buckingham Palace in London. Here is a close up of one of the Palace Guard on horseback:

Malaysia's Palace Guard on horseback

Not only that, we too have our "Marble Arc", our answer to that marble clad arc in London. It is used to demarcate the boundary between the Selangor State and one of the 3 Federal territories - Kuala Lumpur. I almost got a photo of that Malaysia's "Marble Arc", but at the point where I parked, the "Marble Arc" was partially hidden by a large electronic signboard. I hope to get a photo from the other side another day. Anyway, the construction of our "Marble Arc" was controversial and too long a story to tell here.

However, if you want to see the genuine Buckingham Palace, the Palace Guards and the Marble Arc, you will have to go to London. And if you do that, of course you will need to book your accommodation, and ahead of your arrival there plus do it online. When I visited London 30 years ago, I never had that convenience, and now that your have Internet, you will be well advised to book your accommodation well ahead of your arrival. You can do that at London hotels and accommodation.

If you travel that far, you might as well visit other nearby cities like Dublin. Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and the capital of the Republic of Ireland. In a European-wide survey by the BBC in 2003, Dublin was voted the best capital city in Europe to live in. Again, you can conveniently book your accommodation online at Dublin Hotels.

When I was in Europe 30 years ago, one of the city I visited was Rome. It has lots of historical places plus the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, is right in the midst of Rome. However what I enjoy most is something that would be familiar to Malaysians - eat at sidewalks on the street. I enjoyed seeing my pizza coming fresh out of the oven at a roadside pizza stall. Not only that, they have something like our familiar curry puffs - calzone, also referred to as a stuffed or folded pizza. It is just like a giant curry puff. And of course they have the spaghetti, a long, thin form of pasta. It is just like our noodles. Like to taste the real giant curry puff and Italian noodles. Go to Rome. And of course book your accommodation ahead of arrival at Rome Hotels. Don't be like me urgently seek accommodation only on arrival. You risk sleeping in the railway station or something if they are all fully booked, out of your price range or out of the way.

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