Saturday, 19 November 2011

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I left the guys in the Cameron Highlands and caught the bus down to Kuala Lumpur. I'd been pleasantly surprised by large comfortable seats and as I sat down I noticed a sign above me saying "plastic bag for vomit". Sure enough in the back pocket of the chair infront was a small carrier bag for anyone unfortunate enough to get sick. I was almost amused by the idea until 20 minutes into the journey the guy who was sat behind me started to throw up! It was awful. I'd noticed how windy the roads were on the way to Tanah Ranta but it hadn't even crossed my mind that someone would get so ill! After putting in my headphones and turning the volume up full blast I still couldn't drown out the sound. What made it even worse was the fact that he was a local and all I could smell for the entire 4 hours was curry... I wasn't impressed and I was still feeling ill myself.

Eventually we arrived at one of the many train stations in KL and so I set off in an attempt to find somewhere to stay. I'd been recommended the Reggae Mansion but had also been told of several other hostel on the same street Jalan Tun H S Lee in Chinatown. I ended up staying in Reggae Guesthouse which I was really impressed with. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and it was a nice clean hostel. Also, the shower there was the best ive had since leaving England, and i'm even inclinded to say better than mine at home! After dumping my things I went for a bit of a look around Chinatown. The streets were packed with stalls selling all sorts of knock off goods, it reminded me a lot of Khao San Road. Unfortunately it wasn't long before I felt really ill again and went back to the dorm.

The following morning I'd felt a bit better so I went for another walk around. This time I walked through Little India, which was nothing in comparison to the Little India in Penang for some reason. Maybe because it was more spread out, I'm not sure, it just didn't have the same feel to it at all. I continued walking and eventually found myself at the Petronas towers. I'd been told to visit them at night time but even through the day they did look impressive. In most other places I've been there are usually random little stalls selling fruit drinks and or snacks, but I didn't seem to find KL that way. Even in the districts of Chinatown and Little India, the stalls were often indoors and linked to actual shop buildings rather than scattered around the streets. Yes there was still some street food available but somehow I didn't find it had the same feel to it. When I reached the towers I needed a drink so I went into the shopping centre. I could not have felt more out of place if I tried! This place was unreal. Marble floors, immaculately clean windows, and everything was shining. I felt way too scruffy to be there - that didn't stop me having a look around of course. I'm not a big fan of shopping but when I saw Quicksilver, Billabong and Ripcurl I couldn't keep away. I didn't actually buy anything but still had a good luck. After a while I began to get more ill again; I found the pharmacy and asked for advice but instead they directed me to the medical centre and told me I needed to see a doctor. I found the Twin Towers Medical Centre with relative ease, signed in and waited to be seen. A doctor's trip had really been on the cards but at that point in time I felt so terrible that I gave in. I was met by an older female doctor who was very nice and showed alot of concern. After examining me she decided I must have had food poisoning and that it had developed into more of an infection. She prescribed me a whole load of medication and told me to rest and only eat plain foods, avoiding spice, dairy and too many vegetable. The bill came to just less than £20 which wasn't too bad. By this time I didn't feel well at all so I got the train back to Chinatown and went back to the hostel.

Petronas Twin Towers

I managed to get some sleep and did begin to feel a bit better. I met up with Andy who had travelled down to KL that morning and we went in search for something to eat. After the way I'd been feeling I was so grateful to see a familiar face. Instead of finding food we ended up going to the Petronas Towers, for me the second time that day! It was worth it though, they looked amazing lit up in the dark. Other than a quick look and a few snaps of the camera there's really not a lot to do there, so we continued our search for food only to end up back at Reggae Bar where we gave up and ate there instead. Kuala Lumpur is easily the most developed place I've been since I started travelling. Whilst I don't suppose the fact I really didn't have much of an appetite helped, I really struggled to see many places to eat other than fancy restaurants, and the food places in Chinatown looked a lot less clean than any of the food stalls I'd seen in other places. 

The following day I had to check out of my hostel at 12pm but I wasn't leaving for Singapore till midnight. A lot of time to kill when you really don't feel like doing much. I'd intended to visit the Batu Caves as I'd been told they were worth a visit but I really didn't feel up to it. I stayed in reading my book for a little while then went for a short walk to the central market. This was actually quite interesting packed full of arts and craft form the different ethnicities within Malaysia along with traditional food and dress. Later I headed up to the Reggae Mansion. As I got there, the Mayor of KL had arrived: there was a crowd of people and police all around the place and I hadn't a clue what was going on. Eventually everything calmed down and I found Andy. We ended up just chilling out there until I had to leave.

My bus left Kuala Lumpur at midnight and I arrive in Singapore at about 6am this morning. A 6 hour journey probably isn't worth a night bus but I saved on accommodation and as I don't have much time left it was quite handy not to waste a day.

I wasn't overly phased by KL. It was a nice city, but very busy with traffic and few systems in place to help you cross the road. I didn't find there was an awful lot to do there either, if I'd been feeling better I'm sure I could have found a few more things to do, but even from conversations with people I met, they didn't seem particularly enthused either. Its obviously an impressive area for shopping, but other than that, I failed to see what was there.

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