KL stinks. And it's filthy. And I loved it.
What an amazing clash of cultures and mayhem! Controlled chaos would be how I'd describe it.
Here is a brief (after finishing this I realize it is anything but brief) run-down of our 30 hour stop-over in KL:
We arrived stiff and bleary eyed At KLIA at 6 am. From there we caught the Airasia bus to the city ($3 each) the trip is a good 30-40 minute drive so it gave us a great opportunity to see Some of KL.
I couldn't believe how many abandoned, half-finished buildings there are! These giant concrete shells kind of looked like modern-day ancient ruins. (I later discovered that these buildings were the result of the Asian currency crisis in the 90's- many big projects became bankrupt and were abandoned halfway through construction)
We found our way to our hostel via KLs brilliantly efficient monorail system (puts metlink to shame) the hostel was more than adequate for what we payed! We had air con in our room and free Internet and wifi in the lobby. What more do you need! (besides maybe our own rooms and private bathroom but whatever)
We then went and checked out KLCC - a massive shopping centre at the base of the impressive petronas towers (which was once the tallest building in the world) unfortunately the skybridge is shut on Mondays so we had to make-do admiring them at ground level.
After that we caught a cab to The batu caves.
I don't know what 'special herbs' those Hindus are burning with their incense, but this place was fantastically bizarre.
Giant steps lead you up the mountain into the caves. Of course, there are stray dogs and monkeys on the way up (I love Asia's abundance of monkeys, I could watch them for hours) at the top of the stairs is a brilliant view of the city and a little kiosk selling a wonderful array of tacky religious paraphernalia. They even had a flashing, changing plaque of Jesus who looked like He was wearing make-up and striking zoolander poses.
The caves themselves were beautiful with 50-metre high ceilings in some points and ominous looking stalactites dangling above our heads.
All through-out there are dozens of statues and shrines honouring various Hindu gods & goddesses. My favourite was the monobrowed bull-lady with a peacock tail and a lovely pair of breasts. Hot.
Adding to the weirdness were the roosters who were crowing and strutting around like it's perfectly normal for roosters to be chilling in a cave.
Once we'd taken it all in and had our fair share of strange we made our way back down the stairs. The gold statue was just as impressive from behind. Oh yeh, I forgot to mention the gargantuan gold Hindu statue which towered above the city, guarding the mountain. This impressive piece of art is a statue of the Hindu deity murugan and stands an impressive 43 metres tall.
Then it was back home to our cosy little guest house for a much needed nap.
After us nannas had our nap, Luke discovered that his friend from work, Cassandra, was in KL with her family for her birthday. They very graciously allowed us to join them for dinner at a delightful Spanish restaurant.
We drank beers and sangria and ate like Spanish kings! When we all couldn't possible squeeze in another mouthful of paella we left and despite our many protests Cassandra's Father, Ken, generously insisted on paying for us all!!
Cassandra and her brother Alex, mother Lyn and Father Ken were our travel buds that night and we all had a blast! They took us to a bustling night market where I bartered my way down to a $10 fake rolex (I probably payed about $9 more than I should have) and one of those crazy powerful laser pointers which are banned in Aus. This provided hours of entertainment, hitting the top of the tallest buildings in KL. It easily hit the tip of the Petronas towers.
One of the most amusing parts of the evening was when Ken insisted on us trying the spikey, stinky fruit durian. If you have never experienced durian consider yourself lucky and please avoid at all costs!
You can smell durian from a considerable distance away and smells somewhat like rotting garbage. Airports in Asia actually have posters up stating that you need to speak to airport authorities before transporting durian - same deal for firearms. Ken grew up eating durian and belongs to the 3% of the world's population who enjoy it (by my estimation) Brooke tried a piece about the size of a 1 ringgit coin and that was more than enough for her. Luke and I each shoved a golfball sized piece in our gobs... Luke literally gagged and spat it out in what I'm sure was a food-speed record.
I got it down but it wasn't easy!
I then felt bad for Ken who was obviously disappointed that we didn't share his love for durian so I proceeded to have a second and third mouthful!
It tastes like ass.
I wanted to enjoy it but
Each time got harder and the third one took quite a while to work up the mental strength to get it down!
The worst part about the durian was the beer-induced burps that followed.
I tried my darndest to keep them in but a few managed to escape to the disgust and anger of those around me. I even disgusted myself.
We then said our good-byes and thank-you's and Ken, Lyn and Alex retired for the evening while Luke, Cassandra, Brooke and myself went to a swanky hotel bar to continue celebrating Cassandra's birthday. It was called the sky lounge and for good reason- it is about 35 floors up and one whole wall was floor-to-ceiling windows with a magnificent view of the city!
Drinks were Asia-expensive (still Aussie-cheap) but we didn't mind, especially after being shouted dinner!
We drank cocktails (I tried a vodka martini because I wanted to be like James Bond, no-one told me that it was straight vodka. Gross!) laughed, chatted, met some Aussies, endured some vomit inducing durian burps and pointed my laser at some poor unsuspecting taxi drivers who were a good 200 metres away.
All-round a great night was had by all!
We then said our goodbyes to Cass and went home to bed, ready for our flight in the morn, thus ending our little KL adventure. Perhaps not the typical KL experience Of Chinatown and Indian food but a stack of fun nonetheless.
Next stop: Krabi Thailand.