The bus was running about 3 hours late in to KL, I’m not sure how the driver was steaming down the motorway the whole way there. We arrived in KL at 3am, I grabbed a taxi to the hostel that I had booked on hostel-bookers, it took the driver a while to find it, and we drove around the block about four times. When we finally arrived, the gates were locked, I took my bags from the boot and rang the bell as the taxi disappeared in to the distance with his well earnt 20R! There was no answer, it was 3:30am by this point so I gave them a few minutes before I rang the bell again and again and again, after ten minutes I gave up, not before losing my temper a little and thumping on the door a little! As we had toured the area in the taxi, I had spotted a few hotels close by. I walked to the closest, got the manager out of bed and managed to get a room for the night. For a hostel it was pretty pricey at 80R a night, but it was a bed and at 4am that’s all I cared about. The next day I wandered up to the offending hostel to get an explanation, the guy just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘gate closes at 2am, I cancelled your booking’, no apology, no refund! Slightly pissed off I booked the nice hostel for another two nights. 80R is expensive, but they serve free breakfast, so I ate & drank 80R worth of toast and coffee!
Once I had sorted the hostel, I headed for the Petronas Towers. Walking around KL I was shocked by how quiet it was, I guess walking around the business area of any city at the weekend would be quiet but this was quite eerie. The Petronas towers stand tall in the centre of KL, you catch glimpses of them framed by other buildings as you walk through the city, as I got closer their scale of the buildings became apparent, they were pretty amazing. I got my free ticket to walk across the sky bridge linking the two towers, but it wasn’t until 6pm that evening. So I had a wander around the shopping centre at the base of the towers for a while then joined the crowds outside, most of which were crouching down or laying on the floor trying to get the perfect photo of the towers. I looked at little weirder than most laying on the floor with my camera in one hand trying to get a shot of Paddington Bear in the other!
Still having a few hours to kill before my walk across the sky bridge I decide to catch the sky train out of town to the Batu Caves. The caves themselves were a very impressive rock formation that had been hollowed out by millions of years of water erosion. Unfortunately they had been attacked by humans, the caves have great significance to Hindus, who had formed concrete steps up to the cave, painted the walls inside the cave, created a shrine to their God and opened some very tacky souvenir shops selling all sorts of crappy tat.
Impressed by the caves but slightly disappointed by what they had become I headed back down the 300 steps for a curry in one of the many street stalls that surrounded the entrance to the caves (best part of the trip).
I made my way back to the Petronas Towers on the sky train, still with an hour to wait I lay in the sun by the lake and finished my book.
As I stood in the queue waiting to go up in the lifts we were ushered in to a side room to watch a 3d movie, I assumed it was going to be about the construction of the towers but instead it was a Petronas promotional video about how they built the towers and how wonderful they are. After ten minutes of corporate brainwashing we got in the lift that took us to the forty first floor, a journey that took just ten seconds in the high speed lifts. We were allowed ten minutes on the bridge to take photos, by this point it was nearly seven o’clock and the sun was beginning to set, so I managed to get some pretty good photos (if I do say so myself).
I’m sitting on the hotel computer in reception, feeling quite proud of myself, I had updated some of this brilliant blog, emailed all and sundry and did some crap on Facebook, when the manager of the hotel chirps up its 9:30pm on Saturday night why aren’t you out painting the town red? I’m not sure if I was more pissed off that he thought I was being uncool or the fact that I hadn’t realised it was Saturday night! So I quip back at him that the night is still young and when I have finished emailing my gorgeous girlfriend I was going to see what KL had to offer. Although the part about my gorgeous girlfriend was true I really only dropped it in as by this point I was fairly certain that during my 4am panic I had unwittingly booked in to a gay hotel! Then asking him where was good on a Saturday night in KL, he confirmed my suspicions reeling off three or four gay bars. When I eventually finish on the net, get showered and leave it is about 10:30. I wander to the end of the road where I had previously seen a few quiet bars, one bar has a jazz band playing so I sat myself at the bar and had a few over priced beers. After a couple of songs the girl who had been singing (quite badly) comes over and starts chatting at which point the ‘real’ singer steps up and takes centre stage, she had an amazing voice and the band were pretty funky. It turns out the girls is teacher from the states, who works at the local elementary school with half the band members.
The band finish and I get invited by the band to get some food, en route back to the girl’s flat we pick up a few bags of ‘take away’ that had previously been ordered. As I tuck in to the amazing Lebanese food three or four of the teachers crack out a bag of weed and begin to indulge. After the Ko Tao incident I decline and stick with the vodka tonic. Once the guys have finished smoking, we head back across the street to the local club, the club was one on the managers list! I’m assured by the teacher’s boyfriend that it’s a good club, ‘Friday night is gay night so we’re safe’ he says. I was three sheets to the wind at this point and didn’t really care, the music was good and I was happy having a geeky dance off with one of their mate doing a ‘visa run’ from Indonesia. Pearson you’ll be glad to know that I had half the club Dad dancing! I left the club unscathed, and staggered back to the hotel.
The next day I had a well deserved lie in before heading out to get my ticket to Tama Negara. After some duff advice, I trekked from one side of the city to other and back again on the sky train. When I eventually got to the right bus station, all the busses heading to TN were full, the next available seat was at nine the following morning. With the remnants of my hangover I head to one of the many shopping centres to stock up on DEET, replace my lost head torch etc. The shopping centres here are weird, an unpretentious set of double doors take you in to a labyrinth of shops, six floors of wired and wonderful shops none of which are much use, with no natural light and the climate controlled by the air conditioning it could be dark and snowing outside for all I knew. Concerned by the sudden change in climate and annoyed that I couldn’t buy what I had spent two hours looking for I headed for the exit, it was still thirty odd degrees and clear bright skies, phew!
Feeling slightly deflated by the lack of immediate transport to TN and worried that I was going to be eaten alive in the jungle as DEET is illegal in Malaysia and I had to settle for a namby pamby natural insect repellant, I decided that I would get a cat nap before heading back to photograph the Petronas towers by night.
My nap put me in a much better mood, I headed back to the Lebanese restaurant for some more fantastic food before making my way back to get some more great shots of the towers. After which I found a quite coffee shop with wifi and skyped Elizabeth and the rest of the family. It was great to talk but I did feel quite homesick on the walk back to the hotel.