The Batu Deception

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Rainforest Bed and Breakfast

Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A nice simple entry, for a few reasons. We didn't do much, I'm writing it belatedly and it wasn't all that exciting although a good day none the less. I think the title sounds exciting anyhow - a little like the Bourne Identity. The truth of the story has many less car chases and deadly physical encounters (thankfully) and slightly more monorail trips and animal encounters. There are no bouts of amnesia and no Treadstone. There is stone cave though, if that helps.

One of the major 'scores highly on Tripadvisor so it must be good' attractions for Kuala Lumpur is the Batu Caves. We thought it worthwhile to pay them a visit for this reason. Another even better reason is that they are free. Smiley face :)

Back to Sentral station, which is ironically not very central at all and slightly to the South-Wast of the city we returned the journey we had came the previous night less the exceedingly heavy bags. This meant another enjoyable Monorail ride (easily entertained still) and a disconnected walk between the monorail and the Sentral station. It seems that a mall is being built currently on the site of the quick connection between station and monorail station which means you have to walk between the two via a smokey, exhaust filled tunnel which is used for Coach pick ups and drop offs. It's easily enough signposted but not really what you expect from an efficient Mass Transit Network.

We bought our tickets for the train (only a pound for a 30 minute ride - the equivalent of Watford to Euston which costs 10-15 times that price). Something the UK can learn from -don't question why everyone doesn't want to use your transport system when it is poorly operated, poorly serviced and massively overpriced. Its poorly serviced in KL, but at least its cheap. That's why we didn't mind the 45 minute wait that eventually occurred due to some reason or other. Another observation of KL trains is the inclusion of a woman's only carriage. I can't help think that if this occurred in the UK, there would just be a carriage either side of sleazy men desperately trying to peer in or sneak on board. Its a good idea, and I expect it makes women more comfortable for their journey. I offered the experience to Kate to gain me some time to relax, but she declined against my best efforts.

At Batu, it rained - but no fear, we had bought umbrellas in Kunming prior to heading to Hong Kong and they have been with us ever since, on nearly every single day trip. Martin will carry them, he doesn't mind. The umbrellas will save us. Afraid not. For the 35 day trips we have been on since gaining the umbrellas, it has rained a total of 2 times heavily enough while we have been outside to unfurl them. It is for this reason that upon leaving the B&B under light drizzle, we agreed between us that the rain will have passed by the time we reach Batu and head outside again and there would be no need to carry around the poncy looking umbrellas all day long. It is for the same reason that we then spent 30 minutes in shorts and T-shirts waiting for the rain to stop enough for us to enter the fray as other, more intelligent people passed us by. Schoolboy and Schoolgirl error. We still got wet anyhow, even for waiting the 30 minutes.

The 272 steps of Batu caves were quickly dispatched. Both me and Kate counted the same number and so for the 5 minute ascent we quietly nodded and mumbled to ourselves with the small crowds of others doing the same. Occasionally a "Shit" or "Merde" was thrown in by some poor soul lost count. 
(I don't know why everyone does the counting thing as we know that there are 272 steps, as it says so on every bit of information about the caves, on every website and on every blog, and so the reason of people counting baffles me - Is someone expecting to at some point in the not to distant future go "Hang on a minute, I've counted 274 - change all the paperwork!").

The Caves were big, cavey, dark, damp with a few templey shriney type shrines and more dampness. They actually appeared a bit 'closed' as it wasn't very busy there and the barriers were a little in disarray. the big Buddha that guards the steps was also under maintenance with a shroud of scaffolding covering it's lower half. The glint of light in an otherwise entirely cavey damp morning were the monkeys that descended from on high, down an opening in the cave and sliding down scaffolding like firemen. They playfully pinched food from people and seemed relatively friendly.

What seemed like 20 minutes after getting into the caves we decided to head back and have an afternoon of culture in KL with a heritage building walk through the city. We got back to the B&B, found a Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman film called Deception on the box, and interest distracted we stayed in. This pretty much summed up how keen we were to wander around Heritage buildings. Good film though the ending is a bit weak. I do wish McGregor would play some characters that aren't creepy geeky - I think he's got more in him than that. More O-Bi-Wan please Ewan.

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