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Mark_Murphy Meanderings

Pewter, Batik and Caves

MALAYSIA | Friday, 8 June 2012 | Views [992]

Today we are doing a half day tour to the Selangor Pewter factory, a Batik Factory and the Batu caves. The bus picked us up at 9am and it was our driver from Sunday,  Gopie, he spent 12 months in Melbourne at Holmesglen TAFE doing a Hospitality course to be a Concierge about 8 years ago, so his English/Australian is pretty good. He lived in Oakleigh but visited friends in Werribee most weekends, so we had a fair bit in common with him. He is 38 and lives with his parents, but he would love to get a job in Australia. He has been driving tour buses for about 16 years.


We drove through the suburbs and checked out all the various embassies and the palace where the prince of Dubai stayed while he studied in KL. His father built it for him to live in. We then went out to the peter factory where the largest pewter beer stein in the world is on display, of course, we took photos. The history of the establishment of the factory and the making of the peter was very interesting. A lot of the work is still done by hand and it is very labour intensive. Its a good thing labour is cheap. A middle income earned makes about 2800ringetts a month and you get three ringetts to the Aussie Dollar. The selangor pewter mugs you see with the hammer marks all over them are actually done by hand and every one is different as a result.


On to the Batik factory and a look at how batik is made. We picked up a few tips on tying sarongs and scarves and found out from Gopie that everyone who is employed by the government and the King have to wear batik every Thursday.


We headed for the Batu Caves, named after the bats that used to be there. The batu caves are a hindu shrine and there is a monstrous gold statue there and 272 steps to climb up into the cave. Its ok if you take is slowly, but 272 steps is a long way up in the heat, I am glad it was shady and by the time you get to the top your calves are screaming at you. On the way up you see plenty of monkeys and there are also a lot in the caves. Funny little critters, who apparently take your stuff if you don't watch them, and few of them had babies. The shrines were worth the climb to see them and then it was back down to the bottom, as usual, there were market stalls and people trying to sell you rubbish.


We went back to the hotel,  had a swim and a nap but the pool and crossed the road for dinner at a Malay restaurant, pretty ordinary but ok.

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