An Asian Walkabout (Chapter 2)
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
When last we left our intrepid adventurer, he was heading to Malaysia with his new mate, Andrew. Well, they made their way to a central bus station in Singapore, purchased tickets for the 6 hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur, and had time for some nice local breakfast cuisine… McDonalds. Yeah, they’re everywhere - along with KFC and 7-Elevens.
The bus was quite nice with big, reclining seats and air-conditioning. The ride was pleasant as well. That is, until about three hours into the trip, while chatting with one of the locals, I found out that the bus was actually headed to Melaka and not KL (everyone calls Kuala Lumpur, KL – like calling Los Angeles, LA). Melaka is a town about 2 hours south of KL. It seems that the man who directed us to our bus, which was a different employee than sold us our bus tickets, mistakenly thought we were going to Melaka (either that or he and the cashier were in cahoots to get some money out of us, but I choose to believe the former).
After laughing about our situation, I continued my talk with the nice Malaysian lady who, as it turned out, happened to be from Melaka (she was returning from visiting her grandchildren in Singapore). She dispensed a wealth of information about her home town for the next hour - lots of very interesting history as well as current events. She talked it up so well, in fact, that spending a night in Melaka and catching a bus in the morning to KL was sounding better and better.
To make a long story short, the bus driver was kind enough to offer to take us into KL after he dropped off his passengers in Melaka. It was very tempting to stay, but we decided to continue on into KL. Andrew was actually meeting up with a friend who lives there.
We arrived safely, but because of last minute issues leaving Singapore, we didn’t have a hostel booked in KL. So, armed with Andrew’s Lonely Planet Guide to Southeast Asia, we found a hostel very near the bus station. Now, this bus station happened to be in, as Andrew so aptly put it, a very dodgy part of town. Dodgy parts of town usually have dodgy accommodations and this place was no exception. I believe the guide described it as a pressure cooker with narrow corridors and it was right on the money.
There was only one $3 dorm bed left, so we opted to get a room with two single beds for 7 bucks apiece. We dropped our bags in the room, turned on the air conditioner, and headed out into KL’s nightlife.
After a stop at the money changer and an Internet cafe so Andrew could call his friend, we found ourselves at a cool Reggae bar. Hearing some songs of Bob Marley sung in Malay was a treat worth the stop (most were by the legend himself, however). We relaxed for a bit and then left to roam the city. The night bazaar in the Chinatown district was cool and stays open all night and well into the morning hours.
Andrew’s friend was coming out later in the evening and although I wanted to stay up and meander about the city, my sleeping patterns were still messed up from the flight and I was crashing fast. With only one key for the room, Andrew dropped me off and headed back to the bazaar in search of a top sheet for his bed (he, too, packed at the last minute).
Funny thing happened as I awoke at 3am due to a call from Mother Nature. I get up and try to open the door, but it’s locked. I look down at the door’s lock and by moonlight I can see that there’s not a way for me to unlock the door from the inside. The lock uses one of those skeleton key lookin’ keys and it apparently needs to be used on both sides to lock/unlock the door. As I ponder a way around my predicament, groggily trying to recall if I had any type of empty container available, I hear voices coming down the hall. It’s Andrew and his friend and thankfully they release me from my cage to answer the call.
The three of us chatted for a good 30 minutes. She gave me some good tips of places to visit in Malaysia before she left. And then I fell back asleep.
Tune in next week to find out why our daring adventurer breaks up with his trusty sidekick the next morning. Same bat time, same bat channel! :) *hugs*
Health and happiness,
P.S. I know, I know, you want pictures. I’ve actually managed to remember to bring my camera on my little outings and snap some shots, but due to technical difficulties I’m having issues downloading them. I’ll get it sorted soon and post some shots. :)