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Published: February 24th 2010
Kualar Lumpar Skyline
a great view from the KL Tower (did i mention it was free after we sneaked up there!!)
I did not like Langkawi! I expected it to be beautiful, relaxing, quiet and, i have to admit it, a bit 'posh' but i was disappointed! in fact quite the opposite.. it is large, noisy and incredibly touristy (and therefore not 'posh'!) and not touristy in the thai or indian way that I am used to but in a ‘holiday makers’ kind of way - not nearly so nice!! I did get my visa though and met a lovely American couple on the boat who I ended up sharing a hotel room with and the three of us and the couple who I’d met on the boat to Lipe (and then again on the boat to Langkawi) all hung out together which was really nice. But the food wasn’t spicy or interesting enough and it was expensive … i luckily only had one night there! (but also glad that I went so I can have an opinion on the place!)
Well Kuala Lumpur was very different! (un-surprisingly!) It is a city that reminded me in some ways of Hong Kong, but maybe that is because I have spent the past 9 weeks in dirty, very un-city-fied places adn this is
the very gorgeous .. and free for me observation floor (!!) of the KL Tower.
much more 'modern'!
I liked it a lot although I spent way too much money in the 24 hours that I was there! I guess I should explain that the whole purpose of my trip to KL was to buy a camera! Due to my sudden diving passion I had decided that I wanted to buy a camera and work on my underwater photography skills! So, having been told that KL was a cheap place to buy cameras (i've since been told that that isn't necessarily the case! great!) I ensured that my stopover lasted enough time for me to find a suitable camera… and boy did I find one! (a gorgeous little Panasonic Lumix fx45 (i think!?) with underwater housing.. which by the way, costs almost as much as the camera itself! .. but just you wait till I start snapping away underwater!!... hours of submerged fun! well I also bought some lovely expensive 8hour cream (god knows why I felt the need to buy this!) and a very sweet little blue ball like speaker for my ipod (an awesome purchase that I have already made good use of!)
I spent hours looking at the Petronas Towers (they
The Petronas Towers
also very beautiful!
are stunning) and managed, with a lovely pair of Swedes I met, to get up to the observation tower of the KL Tower without paying (nice!!.. a saving of 40RM) However KL was not all fun and games.. as I walked back to my hotel at about 8pm a horrible youngish Malaysian (or perhaps Indian?) man grabbed my right breast.. and when I say grabbed, I mean he looked me straight in the eye and maliciously and very hard, grabbed me.. it was so shocking I did nothing at first, and then as the anger surged I raced after him screaming. He obviously didn’t expect this and after a moment of wondering what the hell was happening he ran off.. only to return a few minutes later, so I ran at him again, screaming and ready to hit him… so this time he ran away (coward). At which point I burst into tears and having got the attention of all the passing traffic with my screaming and running (!) I jumped into a taxi. We then passed the little sucker again, so this time the taxi man got out of his car and started shouting at this loser - who,
A broody looking sky over Kuching waterfront! .. it has rained a bit but i have also been sunburned.. so a mixed bag weather wise!
by now, was probably wishing he’d never done it as he kept getting chased and shouted at! (good) So, sadly, KL is tainted by this horrible incident. But having said that the taxi driver did give me a free lift back to my hotel (I was still crying and shaking with anger at this point so he probably didn't know quite how to ask for the fare!!)
The next day proved less than easy as well, when I woke up and realized I’d seriously over slept and would have to catch a taxi if I was to catch my flight (this has never happened before!) and as I jumped into the taxi explaining that I was in a terrible hurry he realized that his car wouldn’t start (I mean honestly!!) and so I jumped out and then jumped back in once they had push started it down the road!
Needless to say I did catch my flight and arrived in Kuching, Borneo with no problems and only a slight delay. After checking into a cheap hotel (still not as cheap as India though!) i booked my flights to Mulu and on to Kota Kinabalu (I was assured that these
cakes and sweets
They sell these cakes everywhere.. i mean EVERYWHERE! you can't walk down the street without passing 6 stalls - '5 for 45RM' - i mean 4 is an awful lot.. they are huge.. who needs 5!!
flights book up and I should book them if I didn’t want to get stuck! - although it does mean that i'm tied down to two dates which i don't like.) and then I wandered around. On first impressions I wasn’t loving Kuching; it is quiet but big, hardly any people and just sort of backward but trying to be modern… however I soon met three girls (2 Swedes and a German) and we all went to the local Sunday night market together (seemingly it being a Saturday didn’t matter!) And I have to say that in a place like Kuching it helps to be with people… which is worrying since I have got 6 days here (which will probably be 3 days too long but that is an error I can’t correct having paid for two sets of plane tickets - oh well.. maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised!) but the 4 of us had a great time wandering around the market taking photos and sampling the food. .. and i was soon looking at Kuching with different eyes!
I was also informed that it is the tree fruiting season at the moment. Well you may think, how lovely…
puppies for sale
not a pretty sight.. i just wanted to pick them up and give them some much needed love (i did ask if i could infact pick them up and give them some much needed love... but was ignored!)
not so. Tree fruit means no orangutans apparently, which is slightly disastrous since a large part of my being in Borneo is to see the large orange men! Shit - should have researched this better!! But I had a lovely afternoon with my Nordic friends as we strolled round the market taking photos of people going about their business. ( A little horrified by the caged animals for sale, including; mice, fish - of all descriptions, terrapins, rabbits, kittens and puppies… all kept in very small cages with lots of animals in each… the fish in bags with a tiny amount of what I assume was very warm water given the heat.. the puppies yelping longing for some love, the kittens just sitting on top of each and the terrapins trying desperately to clamber on top of each other to escape the plastic tray they were kept in. There were also some weird witchety grub type things which I assume were for eating because they were in the food section of the market (grose!!) and endless supplies of fruit and veg some of which I have never seen before in my life!
I have to say.. and I say it
and the more usual fare!
sadly.. that as I walked home at about 9.30pm, on my own, I was a little nervous about the possibility of being grabbed again.. I hope that whilst I am always careful, I don’t let that arsehole spoil my fun.
So. It is now a few days on and i have spent 2 days at Bako National Park trekking up some steepish hills, perusing some new vegetation - most noteably the 'pitcher plant' for which Borneo is famous, and trying to see proboscis monkeys (saw a few actually!) for which Borneo is also reknowned (i've given up on the Orangutans for the moment, after going on a day trip to an orangutan sanctury and still not seeing them! damn those fruiting trees!) I also saw a mangrove swamp covered in hermit crabs and a lovely secluded beach. However i have to say after clambering up and down hills and through amazing jungle (which i loved) i am a little worried that i am not fit enough to climb Mount Kinabalu... i may have to find some amazing excuse in order not to embarrass myself by getting half way up and keeling over (in fact my knee is aching a
Waiting eagerly at feeding time for the orangutans to come down and grace us with their presence.. but no luck! (these are the 2 Swedes and the German i met!) .. and we are at Semenggok.
little.. and i've heard the permits are very expensive!!...)
Anyway Bako was lovley and the night walk was great fun.. dark and full of crcreatures! - no big animals in sight but a lot of stick insects, snakes, frogs, spiders and other creepy crawlies!
I spent the day today at Jong's Crocodile farm and Zoo - which i have to say i was a little sceptical about since i don't really agree with keeping animals caged... and as it turned out i was right to be sceptical! Some of the animals are in fact crammed into cages that barely fit their bodies in, but some of the crocs have lavish grounds to live in by comparison. Feeding time was riviting as well, since they have taught the crocodiles to jump up to get the meat which they have tied to a rope type device... amusing to photograph and to see but i can't help thinking that it just isn't right...
I also had a fairly amusing time getting back to Kuching... i had gone with Christian who i met at Bako (in fact i had to sleep in an all male dorm in Bako (!) and then again
this one very nearly fell on me as i was trying to get closer for a photo! .. you have never seen me move so fast!!
in Kuching !!) but the two of us had managed to get a lift part of the way back with a group of christians on an outing and then when we were deposited on the side of the road we decided to try to hitch our way back into the centre of town.. this didn't go according to plan since the only person who actually stopped after fifteen minutes and much confused stares (do they even have hitchers in Borneo?) was a taxi mninivan!! so we ended up paying! some hitchers we are!!
And here i am. Two more days in Kuching before i head to Mulu National Park where i am sure i will have some more adventures! So until then...
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