Phuket going to Malaysia

Trip Start Feb 28, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Rainforest Hostel

Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I decided that my next stop would be Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, which three weeks ago I had no idea of it's existence. I knew as little about Kuala Lumpur as one could could. I spent the day checking out the Patronas Twin Towers. They have a sky bridge connecting them and are the world’s tallest twin towers. From there, I went to the top of the Kuala Lumpur tower that has a view of the entire city and then to Central Market to check out the local antique shops.

By far the best thing I did was walk into the Sri Mahamariamman Temple which is Kuala Lumpur’s most important Hindu temple built in 1873. It’s on a little side street in Chinatown and not easy to find. The street itself is rundown and has boarded up shops and a few barely open stores. However, the temple itself is one of a kind, it is beyond colorful and I’ve never seen a building quite like it.

As I walked in, it was the perfect time of day; just as day was turning into night and a special haze was in the air. The entire roof and insides of the temple are hand painted carvings of different Hindu deities. The temple itself is in an open courtyard and is both inside and outside at the same time. When I walked in at dusk, one guy was beating a drum while another was playing a horn type instrument and another ringing a loud bell. People were at a type of alter and a sort of ceremony was going on. It was defiantly loud, confusing, intense and beautiful all at the same time. It was like I had stepped into a secret world for a few seconds. Something special happened to me inside that temple even though I didn't understand any of the Hindu customs. Its the first time I ever felt a spirit inside and its one of those types of things that is impossible to describe. To be in a foreign land alone where nothing is familiar is exactly what I needed to experience without knowing it. The best way I can put it is when you cross over the line from tourist to traveler. I have been lucky enough to have a few of those moments so far on this trip and this was another one of them. Here I am, alone in Malaysia at a Hindu temple during a ceremony at dusk on a tiny side street in Chinatown with this amazing Hindu music being played.

When leaving Kuala Lumpur I just assumed that I should retrace the same route that got me from the airport to the hotel. I walked from the hotel to the metro rail then to the express train to a quick bus ride to the airport. So I thought easy enough, metro to train to bus. I just retraced my steps and somehow ended up going one stop too far on the express train so I had to back track one stop. But something started to feel a little different because when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur the train was the last stop on the track. Once I got to the "correct stop" I got on a bus, which I assumed was taking me back to the terminal I arrived at. It should be a two-minute bus ride but about twenty-five minutes later, I'm still on the bus and I realized there were two airports in Kuala Lumper and I was going to the wrong one. At this point by the time I get to the airport it will be too late to get across town to the other airport. I was at the wrong airport and had no idea how I got there. I walked into the airport with a certain sense of peace even though I was thinking how much money I just lost by missing my flight to Australia. The crazy part is that I found out I was actually at the right airport. If I had gone to the airport I was trying to go to I would have missed my flight to Australia.

There was a long check in line and as I got to the counter they announced that they would be closing the check in counter in 10 minutes and if you don't have your ticket by then you would not be able to board. So I figured no big deal should take two minutes to check in and then when I got to the counter I heard the dreaded words, "Where is your Australian entry visa?" I swear I looked this up and US citizens only need visas to enter five countries and Australia was not one of them. Well I guess I was wrong. It took three days to get my visa to Brazil and seven days to get my visa to India. So I figured I was not going to Australia anytime soon. She pointed to an Internet cafe and gave me a website and said, "hurry". I ran over to a computer and entered all my passport info into the website, paid twenty dollars to get the visa and five dollars to use the computer. I got the entry visa in five minutes and was the last person to check in and board. Somehow I had made it to the right airport, got a visa last minute and onto the Melbourne flight with an entire row to myself on a full flight.

"That which is real cannot cease to exist"-The Bhagavad-Gita
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