Middle Eastern Food Does Us In

Today Betsy had her first chance to step inside a mosque.  We went to the Masjid Negara, the National Mosque, which JM and I visited several months ago.  As we remembered, the mosque itself is pretty huge, and since it was only constructed about 40 years ago, has a very 20th century institutional architectural feel to it.  Betsy likened its interior to a banquet hall.  Betsy also got to dress up like a smurf, draped in blue fabric and sporting a fancy blue tudung, or headscarf.  JM, since she was wearing long sleeves, only had to wear the tudung.  We got some pictures which we will post in a bit.

After the mosque, we headed to the Islamic Museum and marvelled at the pretty ceramics, textiles, weaponry, architecture, and calligraphy on display there.  We stopped for lunch at the Middle Eastern restaurant in the museum, which has a great reputation.  I had eaten there before, but JM had never had the chance.  We proceeded to stuff ourselves silly on an exquisite semi-buffet lunch.  For $11 a person, you get a buffet containing about 20 traditional little dishes (hummus, fava beans with red peppers, Turkish-style eggplant in olive oil, and on and on) as well as a dozen desserts (baklava, kataifi, semolina cake, dates stuffed with almonds, and on and on).  For a break in the middle, they bring you one of 8 dishes that you can order and which they prepare just for you.  JM and I had fish, Betsy had lamb.  Amazing.  Not to mention that the restaurant itself is beautiful with a modern, elegant air; they didn’t mind our cargo pants, though.

That lunch was enough to do us in for most of the rest of the day, but not before we browsed the very excellent gift shop.  JM and I picked up a highly-regarded translation and annotation of the Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali.  It’s available online here, but we wanted a book version.  Tomorrow is our opportunity to finish up whatever else there is to see in KL before Betsy heads back stateside.  If anyone has any desires for cheap souvenirs or knock-off versions of name-brand consumer goods, now’s your chance to put in a request.