Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 23, 2011 KL Factory Day

Balan and Kumar were going to take me to the Batu caves today, but it was cloudy and rainy, so we decided to save that for Thursday. Instead they took me to several factories where I could see Malaysian products being made.

Me in Front of Towers of Tin at the Pewter Factory Museum

First we went to the Royal Selangor pewter factory. Pewter is a tin alloy, and tin is a raw material readily available in Malaysia, so it makes sense that pewter would be manufactured here. The factory included a little museum about the history of pewter in Malaysia. We couldn't see the actual factory in action, but we were taken around to several model work stations where we could watch sample products being made. We even got to try our hand at pounding little dents in a pewter mug. Of course I was impossibly bad at this. Good thing I don't have to try to make my living with my hands.

Then, of course, we are taken to the gift shop. I actually wanted to buy a pewter bowl here, and found one that was just what I was looking for. It's very heavy; I hope I can fit it in my suitcase!

Next we went to a batik factory. I was able to see handmade batik fabrics being made. The artists draw with the hot wax, then apply the paint within the areas defined by the wax. Finally hot water is used to remove the wax and leave the distinctive white lines between the areas of color.

Once again, after the factory I'm taken to the gift shop. I decide to buy a zip up batik shopping bag, and a Malaysian sarong, called a pareo. They throw in some instructions on tieing the pareo, which I will need if I want to do anything with it besides wrapping it around my waist.

We make one more stop at a chocolate factory, which should have been right up my alley, but when we arrived it was overwhelmed by a horde of Chinese tourists, being very Chinese, so I didn't stay long. Pushing and shoving in order to get my share of the durian chocolate is not my idea of a good time. After a free sample of some tiramisu chocolate drops I was ready to call it a day.

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