Friday, January 4, 2013

Ain Arabia - A Hole in the KL Wall

Getting lost has its advantages. You find yourself in places you'd otherwise not visit. While trying to find Hotel Al Jafs in Kuala Lumpur, walking along Jalan Sultan Ismail (near McDonald's), I found an arch with light yellow paint chipping off. It read, "Ain Arabia", roughly translated as "Eye Arabia". This enclave is Malaysia's homage to her Arabian friends.

The "Arab Square" (as it is commonly known) is officially called Ain Arabia, a sanctuary specifically conceptualized by KL City Hall to give the Arab expats a place they could call "home away from home". The neighborhood looks it. It has the Fortuna Hotel, shops and several restaurants serving Arabian and Yemeni cuisine, including a Lebanese bakeshop. At the center of this district is a little park constructed with Moroccan architecture. This park "garden" cost RM 2 million ( $660,000) to build, a staggering amount for the very few structures standing on a small plot. Dotted by corner trees and a big tea pot, the park has a couple of waiting sheds, concrete benches and a non-operational fountain. Traffic wardens are said to take their respite here, but the place can get eerie at night. The lights here haven't been fixed since 2009 and the place looks mostly abandoned. 

A certain Khun Pana posted this in the "Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur" blogsite, and I quote: "In the afternoons and nights the garden is occupied by jaga keretas , drug addicts and scrap collectors. Right now the garden is a 'temporary" scrap yard set up by some drug addicts." It can get hairy, to be honest. I walked around it, trying to find a hotel, and my intuition (which was probably overreacting) was telling me to leave. But the possibilities of this place look promising if the local government could spend a few more ringgit to renovate, render it child-friendly and fix the park lights.

As for the tea pot, maybe I should have rubbed it while there. Who knew? A genie could have sprung out of it, and I could do with one wish!

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The Arabian arch has seen better days.


Mom with a Dot said...

Your Photography can make even a shabby place look appealing. Genie - My first thoughts on seeing the pot too :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Mom with a Dot:

Thank you. The place is interesting though a bit "forgotten". :)

shooting star said...

from the photography it doesnt seem its a shabby place...but obvisouly my travel experience says what looks in photographs is not always what is :)

eye in the sky said...

@ shooting star:

I think photography is, at times, deceptive. You're right re: things not being what they are from their photographs. This always happens in websites for hotels/accommodations. Many places look better in photos than they are once you get there. LOL