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Published: August 1st 2006
After a couple of days enjoying Cherating's beach we headed a short distance south to Kuantan for a couple of days. Kuantan has no real callings for the tourist but it proved a cheap place to get a few things done before heading to the capital. We left on a coach fit for a King as Malaysia proves once again it is streets ahead of everywhere else when it comes to transport.
After being dumped on the roadside our first emotion in Kuala Lumpur was disorientation, as there were no obvious signs that we were at our intended destination. After consulting the 'lonely planet' for guidance we found that we were in fact slap bang in the heart of backpackerville. After a small walk drab lodgings were secured and the local area was surveyed for the possibility of good, wholesome curry. After our favored 'roti canai' was consumed we hit the streets looking for bargain threads to revamp our Thai purchased, well worn, slightly fousty clothing. The streets of china town are filled at night with market stalls selling more crap than any one man could possibly lay their hands on, and after a few fights over pence, the day
lucy of leisure
traveling maly-style. the seats on some of the coaches here are like arm chairs, take note national express!
finally took it's toll and a weary Dave and Lucy fought their way through the crowds back to their boiler room cell. The wake up call was early and unwelcoming but signaled our first experience of the vast K.L rail network that took us to the Petronas twin towers. We seemed to be the only ones queuing to get on the subway, that upon rush hour seems to turn into a bit of a free-for-all, as commuters rush through the busy stations on their way to work, we couldn't help but wonder if one day the same fate would be bestowed upon us. Arriving at the KLCC station just below the towers we emerged from the subway and were instantly hit by the might of the tallest twin towers in the world. The obvious statements were made such as 'christ its big isn't it?' and 'i bet it took ages to build' as we wondered around taking photos and making our way to pick up our tickets for a ride up to the sky bridge on the 41st floor. The need for an early rise became apparent as we stepped in line with the other 1000 hopefuls waiting for their
view from the 41st story sky bridge at the patronas towers
free ticket. They only give out a certain number everyday so we were relieved to make it to the front an hour later and be handed two passes to enter the towers at 12.30. With three hours to kill it was time for some breakfast and to take some rubbish photos (due to the weather not the photographer) of the towers. With newly issued 'wally' tags round our necks we were taken up the towers in a super fast lift (one floor per second) to the sky bridge that only takes you a third of the way up the 452 meter high structure. We got some smoggy views of the city and vowed to return at night to get some better shots of the outside of the building.
The next day we found ourselves on a bus to the Cameron Highlands that are 6000 feet above sea level and thus used by people from Malaysia and Singapore the get away from the humid temperatures in the towns and cities below. The temperature rarely gets above 21 Celsius so it was great to be away from the heat and back to a bit of drizzle-clad blighty style weather. It is
what a view, ish...
dave and lucy on the 41st story sky bridge at the patronas towers
also the place home to the disappearance of the king of Thai silk, Jim Thompson. He went missing in 1970 after walking alone near his home in the highlands. Many tales have been told over what happened to Thompson from a suicide to being eaten by cannibals, but the most likely suggestion is that he was hit by a truck driver and swiftly buried, not the best way to go. Apparently there were over 600 corners to navigate on the assent to the highlands, and we felt every single one as Colin Mcrae, not content with putting the willies up everyone by scraping the bus over a central reservation in K.L sped to the summit. The highlands are very much like the countryside at home, with rolling hills to the horizon, and plenty of architecture inspired by european designs. We took a trip out to one of the vast tea plantations that dominate the landscape for miles and have been around in the highlands for nearly 100 years. Dave not being a drinker of the leaf left it to lucy to sample their wears, tasting her first cuppa for 6 months, with a slice of carrot cake to compliment the
pallet. While lucy enjoyed her tea, Dave sat back with a piece of double chocolate cake to compliment his double chin. Along the way we also stopped at a rose garden where they grow thousands of flowers that are sold all over the country, a butterfly farm that is also home to giant beetles and snakes, and a strawberry farm where upon requesting a sample, in the ultimate bout of irony, they had run out of strawberries. I kid you not.
That evening looking forward to a hot shower we were welcomed back to our guest house with the news that the water had been cut off due to a visit from the Sultan of the province. This happens from time to time as the water pressure can sometimes be a problem, they just say bollocks to everyone else and pump it all up the hill for him, greedy git. The next day our place was still waterless so we moved accommodation to a place where we could have a shower and put off smelling like swampy for another 24 hours.
Unsure on where to go after the highlands we had opted for Taman Negara National Park but
heard mixed reviews so we decided to get back to some basking in the sun and headed for the island of Pangkor. After another boat trip that left Lucy speechless as her head span like a fairground ride we, were once again lumbered with the task of surviving a few days in paradise. We hired bikes for the day and headed off to explore the circumference of the island and wound our way slowly admiring the different beaches, headlands and views as well as taking a route through the north of the island that snakes a steep path through the unspoilt jungle landscape. We were treated to monkeys playing in the trees and on the road in front of us and stopped to watch them fooling around. We discovered a small beach just around the peninsular from where we were staying that was practically deserted, and spent the next couple of days in prime shade with nothing but the sound of the breaking waves to distract our attention. If we thought it was going to be like this for the rest of our time here the weekend-break hungry Malays had other ideas. Come Saturday morning the place springs to life
when parties mainly from K.L descend on the small island to get away from the stress of the city. Staying at our chalets were 80 youngsters with a youth club, and they joined the rest of the people on the beach for the weekends activities of generally making a mess of a perfectly good spot. It was fun though to watch the organised activities including; see how quickly you can pull someone along the beach sitting on a palm tree leaf, and drag netting for beginners.
It was a shame to have to leave Pangkor as the locals having fun on their weekend off had been entertaining, and as the place was simply too nice just to bugger off with everyone else, we stayed an extra day and left for Kuala Lumpur in no rush.
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