Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Twin towers

We left Singapore via the overnight train Thursday night to Kuala Lumpur (or KL). Two things surpised me about our 2nd class sleeper berths. First they were nearly big enough for me (almost nothing in Asia is big enough for me) and second they never turned off or even dimmed the lights in the sleeper compartment. Still it got the job done and by 7am we were in KL.

At this point a problem emerged. I had left the planning for KL entirely to Jason and as this was his first major trip, he accidentally forgot to plan for our means of travel within the city. So we knew our hostel's name but not how to get to it. Fortunately my Kindle came to the rescue by getting us onto the internet and finding directions when there wasn't an internet cafe to be found

A nice quiet place to sleep (that and a shower are all i require when traveling)

After finally finding the place, getting checked in and showered, we decided to head for easily the most famous landmarks in the city. The Petronas Towers. The Twin Towers are each 1,483 ft tall and dominate the KL skyline. They contain a lovely mall on the lower floors and an exquisite little park in the back. We were supposed to meet Jon there but a miscommunication delayed our reunion until dinner.

For serious bonus points, can anyone ID the restaurant inside the KL Towers this picture
taken from?

After a much needed afternoon nap back at the hostel we were ready to go again. This is when a group of expats from Singapore came in. The group included a couple beautiful girls and since i'm so shy around women, it was nearly 2 1/2 minutes before we were invited to join them. The next couple hours were occupied with wandering around the huge mall next door and playing in the 7 story indoor amusement park it contained. However, all to quickly it was time to leave the group to meet Jon for dinner (which was fantastic as usual).

Part of the expat group we joined (the part with the guts to ride something crazy)

Us at dinner (and yes I know my eyes are closed here)

The next day we headed for the KL Tower on the theory that the coolest thing to see in KL was the Petronas Towers and the best place to view them from was the KL Tower. The picture below should confirm that. After a morning of aerial viewing, we then decided to head for the Batu Caves. This is one of the most popular Hindu sites outside of India. We arrived 2 days after a major festival. Frankly I was unimpressed. There was a huge statue, a monstrous cave with a large hole on in the roof, some dumpy looking temples and mountains of garbage. I was expecting better.

View from the KL Tower

Batu Caves entrance

It was extraordinarily filthy everywhere around the caves

The one bright spot here was that I met Abu. I guess he mistook this for the Cave of Wonders. I first saw Abu as he ran up to a guy on the stairs and sat one foot away staring at him. The guy had his hands down and ready to deal with anything the monkey might try. Suddenly quick as lightning, Abu reached out, snatched his bag of candy and was safely scampering to a nearby roof. There he used his teeth to tear open the plastic and started pulling the candy out. Our street-rat friend trained him well.

Jon and Abu

I found their dresscode sign amusing

That evening we parted ways again with Jon. Unfortunately there were no sleeper berths available from KL to Thailand. Only 2nd class seats could be had. I would be guilty of severe understatement in saying it was a long night. But we kept our spirits up as thoughts of sunkissed beaches danced in our heads. The tropical Thai Island of Ko Phangan awaited.

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