Kuala Lumpur : Several times sky high

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

 › entry 108 of 268 › view all entries

Start where I left off yesterday I guess.  You find me once more, standing in awe, of the Petronas Towers.  This time by the light of day.  I’m in the bowels of the building, queuing for my free ticket up to the ‘Sky Bridge’, the umbilical walkway that spans between the two towers at the 41st and 42nd of its 88 stories.  As this attraction is free and extremely popular you have to get there pretty early to ensure that you get one of the tickets.  Trips up to the Bridge are between about 9.00 and 18.00.  Your ticket is time specific and all time slots/ all tickets are usually full by about 10.00am.  Mine’s scheduled for 15.00ish or something but as I’m a lone traveller they seem to take pity on me and kindly squeeze me onto the next available lift-load of cityscape gawpers.

Stevie on the Sky Brudge

Okay, Petronas Towers, the facts : The tallest twin towers in the world at 452 metres; 88 storeys, construction completed in 1996 after foundations laid in 1993. 2,000 workers worked 24 hours a day in 12 hour split-shifts with one storey being completed on average every 3 and half to 4 days.  33,000 pieces of stainless steel and 55,000 glass panels form the exteriors cladding, 29 double-decker highspeed lifts, 765 flights of stairs, each tower weighing 300,000 tonnes.  

The ‘Sky Bridge’ trip is a fairly brief affair.  Zipping up to the 41st floor in a gigantic lift whilst a lady gives us a low down on some Petronas facts in the 40 seconds or so the lift takes.  You only get 10 minutes or so on the Bridge but this is all you need really.

(Light Petronas) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
  The true magnificence of the Towers is in viewing them from the outside so this is ‘just another city view’ really.  But one worth doing nevertheless.

I stroll around the park to the rear of the Towers by day taking some snaps.  Amongst the other usual suspects of a highly developed urban-economic mecca, a Starbucks coffee house is resident here.  And I cannot tell you with what unnatural level of desire I am craving a mug of crummy Starbucks coffee and a glazed doughnut today!  With unseemly levels of need.  I know it’s not right.  I know it’s trivial.  But every now and then, as part of my duty to blog transparency; to painting an accurate picture of the (oft lonely) traveller, I feel these little snapshots of human frailty; of human mundanity help to break up the endless parade of relaying to you experiences of vistas and views; of journeys, sights and architecture etc.

I had a good solid nights sleep last night, but there is a very noticeable dull ache behind my eyes today.  Fatigue?  Emotions?  Illness undetected?  The close, humid barometric atmosphere in KL?  Either way the twin budget bullies of body ’n’ mind have taken note of Starbucks and are crying out for it!  Mercilessly.  Relentlessly.  I know what it is.  It’s happy associations.  Familiarty. Memories.  Easy time spent with friends.  Nothing to do with the particular perceived ‘quality’ or desirability of Starbucks product for which I do not wish this blog to be construed as a promotion!  Home comforts… and memories of New York.  Yes, the last time I was in a truly impressive metropolis was NYC, December 2007.

  It blew my mind.  Yes I’m almost bashful to admit, I really do, “I Love New York”.  And indelibly  associated with the memory of that trip, the endless thoughtless happy consumption of Starbucks glazed doughnuts and gingerbread lattes.  The Imps of Desire tempt me with the memory.     

But I won’t give in! I won’t. I won’t. I won’t!  I am trying right now to get a lot more budget disciplined.  No, this is not a reaction to having recently seen my bank balance and keeling over with shock.  On the contrary, I’ve not dared to glance at it for a couple of months now.  Ignorance is bliss… or something like that.  If I had, yep, maybe I would have keeled over with shock!  But if this journey is to last anywhere near as long as I would like it to or as was intended then restraint on all levels is required.

The gigantic Miriamman statue that guards the Batu Cave temple stair way
  I feel this.  I know this.  It’s stating the obvious of course.  And whilst you’re out here having the time of your life,  free from labour, responsibilities, rents ‘n’ taxes and all the other trappings (traps) of daily life it’s pertinent to note the drip, drip, drip effect of the numerous daily small acts of privation; the constant scaling back and reigning in of your instinctive wants and needs every day that budgetising entails.  It takes its toll over time.  Water dripping on stoney resolve.  Shrugging off the day to day pleasures I would have taken for granted at home. Not always easy.  Now these things are, to some extent, your enemies.  Temptations.

I don’t know how much a Starbucks costs here.

Stairway to the Batu Cave temple
  8 Ringgit at least and probably more (£1.60+).  That was the cost of 1 nights accommodation in the Cameron Highlands.  So I daren’t even walk up to and through those clean, large, automatic doors to air-conditioned coffee and doughnut paradise.  So instead, I’m here in a beaten up street-side stall, broken plastic chair under bum, writing this right now to distract my mind.  I have a lovely glass of Malay coffee (‘kopi’) to hand for only 1 Ringgit to try to keep those mischievous Imps of Desire that reside within my heart at bay.  And it’s much better coffee of course!  Goes without sayin’.  But they know they’ve been tricked.  The Imps of Desire.  Those enemies of budget.  Those apostles of over-priced convenience and familiarity.
  They’ve been tricked and I hear them calling up to me “And anyway, where’s the f**kin’ doughnut you cheapskate!”.

For afternoon fun, it’s the number 11 bus someway out of town (45 mins or so) to the Batu Caves, a site of high Hindu veneration and quite one of the more unusual temples I have ever visited.  The Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam is located high up in a large natural cliff cave that is reached via the traversing of 272 steps!  Stood imposingly by the base of this gigantic stairway is an absolutely humungous golden statue of (I think?) Shiva… but I could be wrong.  It’s another hot, hot muggy day and the walk up the stairway is murderously hard work.  I’m not feeling 100% today for some reason and I have to stop every 15 steps or so to catch my breath and calm a rising feeling of dizziness.

Blossoms in KL
  In the meantime a constant flow of people of all ages and physical condition continue to struggle their way to the summit. 

At the top of the stairs a large cave complex opens up before you.  A few stalls reside hear selling the usual array of super-tacky loosely religious (or not) paraphernalia.  A walk through the cave and up a further flight of steps and a modest temple is found where small girls and boys, and some men, appear from within, their heads shaved and with something like turmeric paste rubbed over their scalps.  An unusual collective of roosters, pigeons and a monkey scrabble around amidst piles of rocks, shattered coconut husks and other human detritus that fringe the temple ground.

After this I pretty much head home and collapse for en enforced siesta.

Lion Dance (the ONLY minor vestige of celebrating the Chinese New Year I managed to track down in KL)
  There’s something a little awry with my system today.  Just in case, I take a friends tip, and buy a whole fresh coconut to take in nearly 2 pints of coconut milk and all the electrolites therein.  Soooo exhausted!  Time to stop moving at some point soon.  But when you’ve got visa expiry dates chasing your ass constantly this ain’t always so easy to feel you can allow yourself.  Sleeeeeeeep! Zzzz……

[ The next day, the 26th was also spent in KL and in much excited anticipation of Chinese New Years celebrations, but sadly KL just doesn’t appear to be the place for such festivities.  Try as I might, even right here in China Town, and elsewhere in the city there was nothing to be seen of New Year on this particular day… so I shall fast forward to Melaka ]

hlek says:
great timing...u get to catch the CNY celebration in MY...too bad majority of activities are stopped on the first 2 days...hehe :)
Posted on: Aug 02, 2009
Stevie_Wes says:
"Darn those pseky monkeys, stealin' me mates nuts!" :) Yeah, just one lonesome furry critter when I was there.
Posted on: Jun 07, 2009
pms70 says:
Wow, this must be the first thing we have both done! Went up to the sky bridge and Batu Caves in 2003. There were lots of monkeys at the caves then, adn of course you could buy peanuts to feed them. One of the monkeys stole my peanuts when I put them down for juuuust a second... :-(
Posted on: Jun 07, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Stevie on the Sky Brudge
Stevie on the Sky Brudge
(Light Petronas) Muju [www.mujuwor…
(Light Petronas) Muju [www.mujuwo…
The gigantic Miriamman statue that…
The gigantic Miriamman statue tha…
Stairway to the Batu Cave temple
Stairway to the Batu Cave temple
Blossoms in KL
Blossoms in KL
Lion Dance (the ONLY minor vestige…
Lion Dance (the ONLY minor vestig…
Park view from Petronas Sky Bridge
Park view from Petronas Sky Bridge
Petronas Towers (detail)
Petronas Towers (detail)
The Petronas Towers sky bridge
The Petronas Towers sky bridge
Pertonas reflection
Pertonas reflection
I love the clarity and geometric c…
I love the clarity and geometric …
The old Central Market
The 'old' Central Market
Bollywood posters in abundance in …
Bollywood posters in abundance in…
Saris in Little India
Saris in Little India
Gold glassed building (abstract)
Gold glassed building (abstract)
The tallest flag pole in the world…
The tallest flag pole in the worl…
Park fountain (detail)
Park fountain (detail)
KL Tower
KL Tower
Entrance to Batu Caves
Entrance to Batu Caves
Crowds ascending towartds the rocks
Crowds ascending towartds the rocks
Inside the Batu Caves
Inside the Batu Caves
Paying a special obescence this Hi…
Paying a special obescence this H…
Religiously inspired tourist tack.
Religiously inspired tourist tack.
The final steps up to the Batu Tem…
The final steps up to the Batu Te…
Baru Caves temple... somewhat a da…
Baru Caves temple... somewhat a d…
Shave headed visitor to the Batu T…
Shave headed visitor to the Batu …
Baru Temple Bannister (abstract)
Baru Temple Bannister (abstract)
Inside the tropical jungle park, c…
Inside the tropical jungle park, …
Bamboo forest in KL jungle park
Bamboo forest in KL jungle park
KL Tower
KL Tower
The golden Bull of Prosperity mark…
The golden Bull of Prosperity mar…
Touch the Bull for good luck kids …
Touch the Bull for good luck kids…
Lion dancers in KL.
Lion dancers in KL.
Traditional Lion Dance peformed to…
Traditional Lion Dance peformed t…
Dance done, time for a beer lads! …
Dance done, time for a beer lads!…