Day 127: Batu, Bless You

So today was a another long one, it got off to a slow start, but we made up for it by cramming a lot in. Here’s how it played out, from it’s tiresome beginnings, to it’s exhausting end!

• I was the first to wake up when my alarm went off. However, I dragged out the getting up process when both Anna and Sarah didn’t move. I joined Sarah for some morning cuddles (because hey, I spoil her remember) and around 10:30am everyone decided to start getting ready.

• In Sarah’s absence we were befriend by a guy named Tong. He was the owner of a series of hostels named Spicy. He was a genuinely nice guy, and was in KL to buy a new camera. We told him our plans to visit the Petronas Towers at night later that day, to which he asked if he could join. Of course we agreed, and said we’d leave a message at reception should our plans change.

• When we were all ready, the 4 of us headed out the door to find some food. On our semi-long walk we stumbled upon a large group of people and lots of stalls with free food. Across the street was a Redbull promotion vehicle handing out free drinks. Seeing as we needed breakfast, we thought what better a way to fix that problem by joining in. We were soon put in our place when a student turned around and said “only for students!” Gutted! His words cut like a knife.

• In the end we settled for a nearby restaurant filled with local people. We had the rice and chicken plate. For some reason the girls were blown away by it, claiming it was the best rice dish they’d had yet. I remain it was adequate, far from great.

• After our Asian brekkie we walked down the street to a bus stop. The reason for this, we wanted to go to the Batu Caves. Unfortunately, the bus we needed was the number eleven, and it passed in front of our very eyes. This meant we had to wait over an hour before the next one arrived. In that time we grew very impatient, especially after we asked the man how long it’d be, and all he said was “no time limit, I don’t know”. “How efficient” we all thought.

• Another number 11 bus showed up eventually, and aboard it we made a new friend called Gabrielle. Much like the angel himself, he told us a story of how he helped a person in need. Gabrielle explained that the last time he was at the Batu Caves he saw an older lady struggling up the steep steps. He went back to her, even after she refused his help the first time, and together they reached the top. Gabrielle truly was the angel reincarnate.

• When he reached his destination (the university) Sarah gave him her email address so we could all stay in touch. One stop later we had arrived at our own destination.

• The Batu Caves didn’t take long for us to visit. We had to climb the very steep set of steps (Gabrielle had described) to reach them, and passed a large golden statue of a deity (most likely from Indian beliefs) on the way. As we climbed the steps, we were entertained by lots of monkeys. One of which was sat stop a street light, rocking the thing back and forth like it was in the derby. I think it rocked it too fast at one point, and was holding on for dear life so it didn’t fall off. When we reached the top, Sarah noticed a cut on my leg and hand. Even now as I write this, I don’t know how I got them.

The Lonely Planet had once again duped us. It claimed that between the months of January and February, people can expect to observe masochistic rituals being performed by devotees during a certain religious celebration. Let me tell you now, we saw nothing. It was really boring, the most exciting point was taking a picture underneath a stalagmite. In the end we left and paid a visit to the Dark Cave, which was on the other side of the steep steps.

We were very cautious as we made our way there, on accounts of all the monkeys. There were daddy monkeys, mummy monkeys, and baby monkeys. In total I think there were around 20 monkeys blocking the pathway. Out of nowhere, one appeared beside Sarah. It was trying to grab her drink bottle, as 2 minutes earlier it discarded the one it had because Sarah’s looked shinier. Sarah was quick to put it in Megan’s bag, and we continued on our way. Like most animals, if you leave them alone they’ll reciprocate your kindness by doing the same.

The Dark Cave stank. This was probably due to all the bats living there. We would have to pay for a 45 minute tour if we wanted to go inside. After looking at the map of the cave we decided against it. Not because it looked boring, but because half of it was under conservation work, and was closed off. Instead, we looked through a folder which showed all of the insects we could expect to find inside. They varied from spiders to scorpions. It housed the worlds rarest spider also, the secretive Trap Door Spider. Anna and Sarah were deterred enough when they read that, but said they’d have been happy to wait if we wanted to go in.

• In the end we walked back down the stairs, slowly passing the cheeky monkeys, and found a taxi to take us to the Petronas Towers. It took a couple, as the first guys were very rude, and claimed there were no more number 11 buses coming. Not knowing if it was a trick we continued walking. At the main gates one guy reluctantly took us for 30 ringgit (£6).

• It was light when we went in, but the main reason we came back (other than the jewellery store for the girls) was to see the towers in lights. We had an hour or so to burn before sunset, so we spent that time drinking coffee. Aware that our plans had changed, and we didn’t leave a note for Pong, we found a place with wifi. Starbucks’ Internet was terrible, so, thinking on my feet, I suggested we try the Samsung store to use their products. Eureka, we found our hostel’s number and left a message for Pong.

• We explained that the plans had changed, and that we were at the Petronas Towers already. Should he want to join us he could come meet us there. We left a number for him to get in touch, then the 4 of us went outside to see the lights.

• Before we could even reach the main site, we were distracted by a rainbow fountain out the back of the building. We took some photos there, then walked through the complex to get out the front. We made a brief enquiry about the prices to reach the top, but were deterred when a lady confirmed it would cost 80 ringgit (£16). That was four nights accommodation for us, and not to mention 70 more ringgit than the Lonely Planet said it was.

• Outside, the buildings looked phenomenal. They were so much better at night, they looked like completely different buildings. They were so bright in fact, that the light pollution they caused turned the sky to change colour. It was almost a chalky purple/white shade. It made for amazing photos, we had no choice but to recreate the ones we took the other day. With no sign of Pong, or receiving no phone call, we made our way to the tall telecommunications tower.

• We passed a T.G.I Fridays people, the one eatery I miss from home, and we passed it. To be fair, the prices were probably extortionate, at least that’s what I have to tell myself to be able to sleep at night. Nonetheless, it was a T.G.I’s and I missed their Jack Daniel’s sauce. We weren’t in Malaysia for that though, so we marched up the hill until we reached the main gates of the tower. There, we caught the free shuttle to the foot of the 421 metre structure.

• Again, the prices were wrong. Only this time it wasn’t the Lonely Planet’s fault, it was a website online. Sarah had read it should cost 37 ringgit (£7), instead it cost closer to 50 ringgit (£10). We paid the money, then up we shot. 250 metres to the first floor of the tower, the observation deck. It gave us a 360 degree panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur. There were even free periscopes to look through. They were amazing, they allowed you to see people down on the streets walking along, builders on rooftops working, and if you were lucky enough, people getting up to no good in their hotel rooms. Unfortunately, we didn’t observe anything exciting through them, but I couldn’t help thinking, “I imagine a few people have been caught in embarrassing situations through them”.

Another let down with the tower, it used to be home to the worlds highest McDonald’s, but we found out that was 7 years ago, much to our disappointment. After watching an educational video of it’s erection, we learned there was a reflective pool outside the tower. That too existed long ago. 8 years to be exact. With that sad news we left.

• When we’d had enough we headed back to the city centre for some food, passing our hostel on the way. I grabbed a McDonald’s (partly due to talk of the place back at the tower) whereas the girls refuse to eat there as often as I do, and chose to eat elsewhere. We tried to find somewhere in the nearby Pavilion, but because they were all franchises they’d be too much.

It was there that I fell in love. Never have I been so excited to visit a shop. From the outside I spotted the Superman and Batman symbols. My beady eyes spotted them when we first got off the train in KL. Seeing as we didn’t go in the shop I didn’t know what it was, but after googling it later that day, I learned it was a store which sold lots if comic apparel, collectors items, and other memorabilia. I’d be paying that place a visit the next day!

• On our walk back towards the hostel area, we were propositioned by a local trying to flog an expensive phone. It happened back at the Petronas Towers as well. These were blatantly stolen handsets that they were flogging on for 40% less than their RRP. It all came together then, why the thieves were so easily able to snatch Megan’s bag the other night. They probably steal them from tourists, and other unfortunate souls, then sell the contents to strangers on the streets. Unfortunately we didn’t see Meg’s anywhere.

• The girls ate at a quiet restaurant at the bottom of the hill from our hostel. The place was completely empty, on the one hand we felt like celebrities, on the other, concerned. We’ve walkways strived to eat at places full with people, as that way you can presume the foods half decent. It wasn’t long after they ordered that we saw a rat run across the floor. 10 seconds later we heard sneezing coming from the kitchen. Reassuring! The food came out perfectly fine, even if it did have some droppings in…. I joke, I joke.

• When the bill was settled we returned to the hostel with snacks in tow. By snacks, I mean chicken kebabs, and slurpees. We sat on the roof for a good hour or so, during which time Pong joined us. He told us there must have been a miscommunication with the message. The one he received explained we were running behind, but would meet him at the hostel. Plus, on top of that, his Thai phone didn’t work in Malaysia, so he couldn’t even call us.

• Before we went to bed, we said our goodbyes to Pong, and he told me that should we go to Koa Toa anytime soon we’d need to book in advance. As his hostel was very busy a lot of the time. It was nice to know he would be looking forward to our arrival though, it made me feel wanted!

• We then spent the next half an hour being very noisy, as we attempted to get ready for bed. Finally, I started getting to work on the days blog, but would you look at that. 3:01. Well, I think we can forget the whole 9am start can’t we, especially with the fat Japanese man in the bed opposite who won’t stop snoring. “JUST TURN ON YOUR SIDE ALREADY, YOU CAN’T SLEEP ON YOUR BACK UNLESS YOU LOSE WEIGHT!!!!!”




















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