The bus ride from Georgetown to Kuala Lumpur was fantastic. We couldnt believe it when we got on actually. Everyone had their own "La-Z boy" style recliners, and english movies played the whole way. It seemed like the wrong bus considering it was so cheap, but we didn't complain. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if the trip had taken longer, because arriving in the city was rude and unpleasant.
The first thing we did was check out the accomodation mentioned in our guide book, and it was all over priced and gross. The worst was probably the one where you could only open your door about a foot before hitting the bed and having to climb over, and it had a bathroom... on a different floor. We wandered around looking at alot of places, and all were very dissapointing. Walking through the very crowded streets with our backpacks, in the mid afternoon heat was bad, but not the worst part. A nice welcome to the city was being pointed and stared at, one man even shouted "Look it's a white man!" from across the street.
Every place that we have been on this trip, islands excluded, people stare at us everywhere we go. It's hard to say if its because we are too pale, because I am not covered to their standards, or just Deans red hair. Either way we thought we were getting used to it, but Kuala Lumpur was more rascist to us than we could imagine.
Kuala Lumpur has alot of very segregated communities, of Malay, Indian, Chinese and a few others from around Asia. Of all of these, alot of the people are muslim, and most of the women wear full traditional garments. Having Dean and I walking around in shorts was deffinately frowned upon, but I did do my best not to wear low cut tops and other attention grabbing things. Non of my efforts helped and every day the people got to me more and more, making noises, gestures, and staring at me even when Dean caught their eye.
Needless to say we found a place to stay that was OK, and headed out to explore. Staying in Chinatown made it very easy to find food, and there were alot of markets to walk through. After a bit of shopping we went in search of beer, which we could not find! When we eventually found a store selling, it was more expensive than we would pay at home. We settled on making whiskey and cokes in our hostel and went on with the day. Walking around the city when the sun started to set we saw that the it was setting behind the Petronas Towers, which didn't look too far away...
When we reached the towers the sun had been set for over half an hour, turns out its a pretty big city. At night the towers are all lit up and look like they are glowing. They even seemed to light up the clouds behind. We decided that in the morning we would go up to the observation deck which looks over the entire city, and from there go and visit the Batu caves a few kilometers north. If we could do both of these in 1 day we planned to leave KL and head some place more friendly.
Too many drinks that night caused us to sleep a bit late, so the towers had to wait until the next day. The Batu caves however were still an option, and easily reached by train. When we got there it was more impressive than we had heard, they were huge and the tower in front was as well. The caves are currently the largest Hindu shrine outside of India and there is a small temple inside. Once a year a festival for the gods is help here and between 800,000 and 1 million people are there.
First thing the next day we headed to the towers, but they were only selling for the following day. Turns out they don't tell you (even on their website) that they do presales. Frustrated, we bought tickets for the next day at sunset. This set back turned our 2 days in a city we already hated into 4, and we were grumpy. That being said we couldnt leave with out going to the top, it looked too impressive.
To kill the rest of the day we decided to ease our homesickness. We ate at McDonalds for the first time in Asia, and it was great. After that we sat on our roof patio and waited until it was time to go see a movie. The movie was not very good, but it was nice to relax in an air conditioned theater and not be bothered for a while.
When we finally made it up the towers it was very cool. First they took us up to the 86th floor to the observation deck to watch the sunset. They are the highest twin towers in the world (at 89 stories) and we had a 360 degree view over everything. After that we went down to the 46th floor to walk accross the sky bridge connecting the 2 towers. It also had an amazing view, at about the same height as the next tallest buildings in the city.
Seeing the caves and the towers made visiting KL a little bit more worth while, though not totally enjoyable. Unless we have a connecting flight I don't think this is a place we will return anytime soon. From here we head south to Melaka, a town we hear is much quieter and more friendly... heres hoping.