Thursday, 13 November 2014

Here in Kuala Lumpur

We had bought our bus tickets from Penang to Kuala Lumpur the previous day, so full of optimism we turned up at the advertised time of 1130. We waited a bit and just after 12 we were ushered into a mini-bus which was to take us to the bus station.

It actually took us just down the road from the bus station, where we clambered onto an amazingly comfortable bus with huge reclining seats and bags of leg room. Feeling excited, we got to the bus station about 12.30pm for our fellow passengers to hop on. 

But they didn't. Or rather they did, but soon realised they weren't actually supposed to be on our bus and got off again. Or they got on and quibbled over who's seat was who's. The staff had about as much idea as the rest of us but eventually we departed just after 1.30pm

Anyway, we were on the road and things would definitely be smooth sailing form here on in….but then the rain happened. And the traffic. We crawled towards Kuala Lumpur, constantly reviewing our ETA back every half hour or so: 5pm, 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm?!?!

Additionally, when we got on the bus it was about 35 degrees and had been all morning. We hadn't quite prepared for seven hours in blasting air conditioning. Others had, and slept snug under blankets - BLANKETS - while we shivered and tried desperately to keep spirits from slipping to an all-holiday low. 

Eventually we got there. We rolled into Kuala Lumpur at 8.30. The next task was to find the hostel, or any hostel (Matt was all set to splash out on the first hotel we set our eyes on!) which we managed without too much trouble. It was a nice place with an extremely friendly American receptionist who really perked up our spirits. For the second time a terrible journey had been quickly forgotten amid warm hospitality - it's one of the nicest things about travelling when you're on the receiving end!

We were hungry and ready for some comfort food so we found a nearby Indian and got stuck into some naan bread and sweet tea - finishing our day on a high and looking forward to our one-day tour of KL..

Armed with a map and some friendly advice, we ventured out and moseyed our way through Chinatown towards the Central Market. It was a hot and humid morning and we were pleasantly surprised to discover the market was a fully fledged building, with air-conditioning. Although built in 1888 and an important trading post in Kuala Lumpur ever since, it has certainly had a sprucing since then and we were able to comfortably spend an hour or so weaving in and out of the stall lined avenues looking for some souvenirs and gifts. 

With our bags bulging we crossed the canal and headed towards Merdeka Square. This was a really nice little spot, open and quirky with plenty of architectural variety. From a raised platform we spied our next destination: The Petronas Towers. But first we had more important things such as lunch to handle. 

We wandered away from the square into Little India and after a brief search finally found some small and well priced restaurants tucked away. We inhaled that and walked through the bazaar in search of the main road that we could follow all the way to the Towers. Despite having just had lunch Matt found room for a donut, and bought a spare one (for later!).

The road was long up to the Towers but there was plenty to keep our eyes and minds busy and before we knew it we were there - at the foot of two of the world's tallest buildings. They are a really unique sight: one of these things would be a landmark but the identical twins enhance one another brilliantly. 

We snapped the obligatory shots and then wondered into the towers which house a huge shopping mall at their base. Feeling rather out of place amongst the high fashion we scooted through quite quickly to the park on the other side of the Towers. We enjoyed a short walk, and the joys of the empty playground and then, decided it was time to head home. 

That evening we went a found some no nonsense Indian food (of course) and talked about how much we'd enjoyed the atmosphere and "vibe" of Kuala Lumpur. We're sure to return there one day and we're certain the city holds plenty more for us to discover. 

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