Friday, 3 December 2010

Day four in Kuala Lumpur

Friday 3rd December 2010

MP3 track of the day: Twelve Chav Days of Christmas (if you haven't seen this then it's a must)

Weather: Hot and more humid than usual

After rather a lazy morning I took the mono-rail to KL Central Station, right at the end of the mono-rail line. My guidebook stated that the train station was quite old, architecturally, and worth a look; plus I hoped to find a bus that would take me to the bus station (when I go to the Cameron Highlands I need to catch a bus there). It was 10am when I boarded the mono-rail and it took thirty minutes to get to KL Central Station. I looked around the station and I couldn't find the bus to the bus station ... I saw a couple of signs but then, like all signs, they disappeared. Neither could I work out what was so great about the train station; I looked at my guidebook and realized that I had come too far; the station my guidebook wanted me to visit was a ten minute walk back the way I had come.

The walk would have been okay if it hadn't been for me having to cross Malaysians equivalent of Spaghetti junction, with no pedestrian crossings. Finally, a little sweaty, I made it to the train station which was nice, but not that great. After this I continued heading back the way I had come and into the colonial heart of the city.

My first stop was a post office to post home my dad's shirt before walking down the main colonial street in Kuala Lumpur. This street was actually really nice and the buildings were lovely; along here was supposed to be the 'Malaysian Historical Museum' where the story of Malaysia's history is told ... however I couldn't find it. All I found was a museum about Malaysian textiles which sounded as fun as punching your own face.

After walking down the colonial street it was time for lunch before having look around China town. When I say town it was actually just a street and again I wasn't sure if I was there or not; no signs, no Chinese gate only a couple of buildings with Chinese looking names ... oh and a Chinese hospital. None of this mattered as by now it was around 1:15pm and I had to head to the Thai embassy to get my passport back ... oh and hopefully a visa.

As I had plenty of time (the embassy didn't open until 2:30pm) I decided to walk to the embassy, taking in new sights that I hadn't seen before. It was all okay, however I was really hot, and so I stopped at the Petronas Towers shopping center, again, to get a drink.

I continued my walk to the embassy and by the time I was there I was ready for another cool drink. I met two guys I had seen yesterday at the embassy and we chatted as we waited in a long queue for the embassy to open. At 2:30pm the embassy opened and it was a straight forward procedure of handing in a ticket number and getting my passport back. I was so glad to get my passport back and lucky me I had a three month Thai visa as well ... bonus, all sorted then.

After the three of us got our passports back we were all very thirsty and so we headed to the nearest McDonald's for an ice cream and orange juice (hard core). I left one of the guys in the McDonald's as he was killing time before traveling to the airport; a Finnish guy and I headed back into town where he talked a lot. As it turns out it looks like the three of us will be in the same region of Thailand for Christmas and new year, which maybe handy (Facebook details were exchanged).

Once we got to the nearest mono-rail station I said goodbye to the Finn as I headed back to my hostel. Before going into my hostel I, yet again, stopped at a shop to get a drink (and shock horror, I got a smile from the cashier and she helped me back my bag). Once back at the hostel I confirmed that the lady had booked my trip to the Taman Negara national park and another two nights here when I return. All had been done as so I handed over 200 riggit! (about £40.00).

So tonight will be a mix of chilling, packing my bags for the jungle tomorrow and getting my other bag ready for storage (as I will only be in the park for two days I only need a change of clothes, medical kit, camera and my wash bag ... maybe a book too, so why carry all my stuff around for nothing?).

So I've spent a week within Malaysia now; I've spent a whopping £160.00 in seven days. Take away the £40.00 spent on activities and accommodation for next week and it comes to £120.00 - about £17.50per day - which is a lot more than my daily budget. However this has to be put into context; I've purchased large items (bags, shorts, books, camera memory cards etc) that will keep me going for a long time; there is at least £50.00 worth of stuff there and so that drops me back to £10.00 per day, my budget. Having said that I reckon that I will be slightly over my budget anyway; accommodation in Malaysia is around £4/5 per night and with the humidity you end up spending a £1 every time you want a drink and an ice cream. At the moment I currently think that £12.00 is a more reasonable budget for here.

Currently Malaysia is my least favourite country to travel in, mainly because of the people. I started to count how many people were staring at me today and I was all ready at eight before I boarded the mono-rail. Ticket staff never, ever speak (which has resulted in me going up to the counters with a big loud 'hello' to try to get some reaction ... still nothing) and generally people expect you to know where to go without any information. Driving is fun; driving is on the left hand side of the road ... most of the time. Traffic moves on a green light, traffic moves on a red and mopeds go all the time, even taking the pavement if the traffic on the road is dense ... it's crazy.

I don't really like Kuala Lumpur; my advice to anyone visiting here is go to the Petronas Towers, go to the colonial district and then get out. Melaka, on the other hand, I really liked as it was chilled and the owner of the hostel, Sam, has been the nicest Malayan I've met so far (and a few of the stall owners within the town were nice too).

As I'm off to the jungle tomorrow I can't see there being internet access, therefore I reckon this is me signing off for a couple of days. I'm really looking forward to the Taman Negara national park; it's meant to be the oldest rain forest in the world. It has one of the longest rope bridges in the world and I hope to see lots of wildlife. If it's not very good, or the accommodation is rubbish, then it's only for two nights so no big deal. It's going to be hot and apparently there are lots of leeches ... lovely.

Toodle Pip!

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