Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

2011 - 2012

Day 11

Pewter factory, Eagles, Monkeys and Fireflies

Today was a long day! We had planned a day tour from about 2:00 PM to take us out to watch some eagle feeding, see and feed some monkeys and then see the fireflies at night. As this tour started in the afternoon, we also fit in a tour of the Royal Selengor Pewter factory.

After breakfast we took the monorail as close to the Pewter factory as we could and took a taxi for the rest of the way. This tour had been booked over the phone so the 4 of us got our own personal tour guide which was pretty cool considering a bus load of about 20 people all had only one tour guide too.

The pewter factory seemed like it was more museum and shop than work floor from what we could see, but it was really well organised and very modern. Our tour guide took us through the various displays and explained the history behind Royal Selengor.

From here we watched some workers casting pewter money trees, turning, grinding and polishing pewter cylinders, hammering different patterns into them and a quick walk through the factory floor.
We were given a chance to hammer patterns into some pewter to see how soft it is and how difficult it is to get straight.

The next part of our tour was the best part - the “School Of Hard Knocks” where we get to craft our very own pewter bowl. We stepped into the classroom/workshop and put on our aprons. We were each given a pewter disc and used a hammer and some stamps to imprint our names on them.
We were then showed how to hold the pewter disc on the block and belt it in to shape. It was a 2-step process, first with a shallow grove in the block, and then a deeper one. We packed our apron and bowl into a box and got to take them home. It was pretty fun and very loud!

From here we proceeded to the gift shop where things were really expensive! Small figurines were up in the $100’s of Australian Dollars but they had some really nice things for sale.
One of the more interesting things were these small containers (that were over a $100 AUD) but they were actually air tight. They had 2 lids, both of which you could feel suction from taking them off and inside was a sample of tea or coffee beans that had supposedly been there for month and still smelled fresh.

Some of the pieces had amazing detail, including some large chess sets and models that stood about a 40cm high.

We headed home and because the train takes us to KLCC, we thought we would quickly get some lunch before our next tour started, so we went to the food court. I sat and minded the table while the others got some food and then someone approached me and I thought they were just after the table, but then I realized it was Rosa - a fellow Melbournian! It was pretty amazing to randomly bump into a friend in a foreign city! Rosa was stopping over from the Philippines and only had a couple of days in KL - what a coincidence!

From here we headed back to our hotel to meet our taxi driver there. Our taxi driver was pretty friendly, his name was Ambi and he hadn’t seen alot of places we were going to either so he enjoyed some of the sightseeing too.

We had already organised a pickup for about 2:00 PM and we got there just in time.
Ambi took us out to a place called Kuala Selangor and our first stop was a small jetty where we boarded a boat and cruised down a river. Up in the sky we could see a few eagles circling around and then the boat slowed down to throw some food in the water. After enough food was thrown out we slowly motored a short distance away to watch the eagles come swooping in for a feed.

It started off as just one every now and then, but before we knew it there was about 20 eagles all flying around in close vicinity. Amy had her 200mm zoom lens and got some great photos! The eagle feeding was really cool to see! I think we all ended up taking a couple hundred photos just here.

This river and jetty was the same place we had to come back to after the sun goes down so we can see the fireflies, so in the mean time Ambi took us to a place where we got to feed some monkeys. Taxi’s arent allowed to drive up to this area, so we had to buy some (cheap) tickets and board a train-like carriage to go up the mountain.

Ok, so it wasn’t a train, it was more like a tractor pulling a few carriages up a hill, but once we got to the top there were a bunch of “Silver Back” Monkeys being fed by tourists. There was a small stand selling food so we bought some, but we had to be careful because as you get a bunch of food, you might feed one monkey one piece and another monkey might steal the rest while your distracted.

Using some other more tasty food, the food salesman showed us that if you hold the food above your shoulder, the monkeys will jump up on your back and sit there while they eat. They were pretty tame monkeys, apart from snatching food, they didn’t try to hurt anyone… except for Anthony.

Amy had some food and a couple of monkeys had jumped on her back, after a little while they didn’t want to get down, so Anthony tried to get them off her. In a panic one of the monkeys bit him on the hand. Luckily he wasn’t bleeding, but it did pierce the skin, so I gave him some anti-bacterial gel to clean the wound and we asked Ambi to ask the food salesman if these monkeys generally have rabies, he said that they dont and he has been bitten before and was ok. It looks like these are very touristy, tame monkeys and not crazy wild ones, but rabies is not something to risk.

From here we got some dinner from a restaurant over looking the river where we got some nice food and really fresh fruit juice while we waited for the sun to go down to see the fireflies.

When we finished dinner we headed back to the pier to go see the fireflies. This time there were more people on our boat, but we still all got a seat and good opportunities to see the fireflies.

This was possibly the hardest thing to capture a photo of our entire trip. When our boat pulled up towards some trees with fireflies on them, they looked like Christmas trees with little green flashing lights everywhere. It was pretty cool looking, but the lights were dim, the boat was rocking and people insisted on trying to use their flash which seems a little silly.

The best photos I was able to get was just a flashing dotted light trail made by the boat moving past a bunch of them with a long shutter and high ISO - so not the greatest shot, but at least you can see what color they are!

When we got back to the hotel, Amy was still nervous about the monkey bite, so she ended up calling the travel insurance to get more information, and early the next morning Anthony had his first rabies shot.