So on it was to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The flight from Saigon was as smooth as the others, although for the first time at check in, I was asked to weigh my bag. Since I'm travelling with a carry on bag only and it being overweight, I briefly feared the worst - but the lass on the desk just smiled and told me to move on, so all was good! The queue at immigration in Kuala Lumpur was annoyingly long - not enough desks given that it's a major city and airport. I then got the bus into the city centre, which as usual was very simple, and was actually quite a nice drive in.
I discovered pretty quickly that the inner centre of Kuala Lumpur is very modern for this part of the world. There's a lot of highrise commercial buildings and numerous banks have their standard over-inflated building. I made my way to the hostel - it was getting pretty late in the afternoon so I just chilled for a while and then went to a cheap local place to get some food. The hostel had an all you can drink happy hour (actually two hours) that night - naturally I joined in since it's a good way to meet new folk. Some real good new folk were met. It turned into a late but very enjoyable night. Me and a lad from Croatia spent a good portion of it ripping each other over football - the world cup last year in particular. I reckon I won the argument each time I asked what Croatia have won in their relatively short history.
As above, the previous night was a late one, but after smashing some western food from a well known fast food joint which shall not be named, I was feeling pretty fresh so set off to do some tourism. I ended up in the area around the Petronas Twin Towers, which I must say are up there with the best looking modern buildings I've seen. Pretty fantastic modern architecture right there. The twin towers are attached to a really big complex, which contains a huge (and expensive) shopping mall and an aquariam amongst other things. I ended up going to the aquariam. I seldom go to places like that and zoo's, but the reviews on Google were pretty good. I found it average at best given the entrance fee. It was smaller than it should have been and there wasn't any particularly impressive marine life on show. To make matters worse, I didn't witness anyone being eaten alive by a fish. After the aquariam, I went on what turned into quite an aimless wander around the shopping centre - I officially went in search of the twin towers but got pretend lost. I wanted to go to a free art gallery in the centre but it was closed for renovation - I was left unimpressed and it was probably that which triggered the aimless wander. I ended up in a park area, which was really nice and peaceful, and offered good views of the towers. I wanted to go up to the skybridge linking the two towers and the observation deck, but decided that common sense should prevail in the end, in that the entrance fee was too high. It was also fully booked for that day anyway. I decided I'd had enough at that point so went back to the hostel. Grab rocks in Kuala Lumpur also. But no bikes sadly.
Having spent a lot of money that day and the night before, myself and Croatia decided to get some cheap spirit from the local 7 eleven. The chap that runs the hostel warned us against drinking that s***, but naturally we ignored him.
The following day, I wish I heeded the said warning. Didn't feel great, despite not actually drinking that much. The spirit was pure poison. I wanted to go to the still unnamed fast food joint but decided the queue was too long, so forced some food down elsewhere instead. Despite not feeling great, I still forced myself out to do more tourism. I went to the National Museum of Malaysia, which was genuinely fascinating and contained some really great history as well as some decent artifacts. After that, I went to the planetarium. Luckily it was free - because it was rubbish. Somewhere outside the place though, they had a knock off Stonehenge. That was also free, which is more than can be said about the exploitative price charged to see the real thing. I aimlessly walked round some botanical gardens and general green area. I'm sure there was some nice stuff but I wasn't particularly paying attention - I was more concerned with trying to sweat out the gash from the previous night. It didn't fully work, so I turned to food. I got more unnamed fast food delivered, then a curry, then a pizza delivered from another unnamed joint all in the space of about 3 hours. It worked. The poison from the previous night was fully washed away and I felt at 100% again for the next happy hour! That turned into another fun night. The usual routine was to play beer pong - me and my teammate (not Croatia because he's obviously crap) went undefeated that night! But then we went out into town. It was a fun night but the alcohol was obscenely expensive so stayed away from more booze. At the end of the night, I hinted at working the night shift at my hostel.
I woke up fully fresh the following morning, which is when my plans changed. I had intended to go north and then onto Indonesia, but a change in circumstances meant that I decided I was gonna go to Borneo with the northern lads met previously. They still had a few days left in Vietnam, so I fully commited to working the night shift at the hostel for a few nights! Before that though, I had some more unnamed fast food to eat and more tourism to do. I went to Kuala Lumpur tower, which is one of the largest communication towers around. I decided to go up to the observation deck because it was less expensive than the twin towers. It proved a good decision because it offered exceptional views of the city and surrounding area. I briefly went somewhere else after that, but very quickly sacked it off after deciding I couldn't be bothered.
So onto the night shift. It was work, so the next few days were rinse & repeat. Working a night shift at a hostel is very easy and sometimes entertaining. In the four nights I did, the hardest part was staying awake, and even that I found to be surprisingly easy. On reflection, the sub-conscious part of my brain probably wanted me to people watch drunk people again (see Phu Quoc), because that was comfortably the most entertaining part of the job. Working the night shift also meant my alcohol consumption was at the minimum, which I decided I wanted after the previous few nights. My tourism was also done so not sure what I would have done during the days, and working the night shift also meant that I got free accommodation. Working a hostel an interesting experience - one I might repeat in April. Although not on the night shift again. However, over the course of working the night shift, and in Kuala Lumpur in general, I ate a copious amount of unnamed fast food, including the odd late night order!
I enjoyed my week in Kuala Lumpur. As above, it's a very modern city. It's also very multi cultural given the history of the place and despite it seeming like I lived off fast food, I did manage to find time to have a few cracking curries. On the whole though, I'd give Saigon the nod in terms of which city I'd rather visit again.
I'm writing this on my third night in Borneo. More on this place soon, but I'm gonna be very busy with activities from tomorrow, so the next blog could be a while off.