Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
66Trip End Apr 02, 2009
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Despite advice from the lovely lady at the hostel, we decide to get bus tickets to Kuala Lumpur. Her fears were that landslides may block the road in the Kuala Lumpur direction and that going back to Ipoh and taking a train or bus from there would be better. There was evidence of landslides and in places parts of the road had recently fallen away, but the bus driver was familiar with the road and there were no problems in that respect.
Half an hour into the journey, Steven gave us a repeat performance of the vomiting experience on the journey to Cameron Highlands - this time on the bus, although we did manage to catch most of it in plastic bags. Oh the joy of travel sickness - takes Yvonne back to her childhood! The road was just a series of hairpin bends and we had been thrown side to side and it would have turned even the strongest stomach. Steven then spent the rest of the journey in a nappy, wrapped in D's jacket. Fortunately the weather was becoming warmer as we came down the hill and by the time we were 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur, after a good sleep, Steven was indulging in some of D's boiled rice from a meal purchased at the Malaysian equivalent of our motorway service stations. Finally, a 25 minute taxi journey brought us to the Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
The first thing Yvonne and Steven had to do was jump into the swimming pool which was perfect for Steven as it has a small part of the pool that is just half a metre deep and a little wall that you can spot him diving over into the slightly deeper end - where if you are quick, you can rescue him. During this swim, whilst the sun was going down and the air was very warm, you could hear strains of Silent Night being played on a baby grand piano which was in the foyer of the hotel! One of those unforgettable and somewhat bizarre experiences - Christmas is not hot! As you sat in the pool you couldn't see the piano but you could see what what looked like large hangings from the ceiling in the foyer, but it soon became apparent they were there to cool the room and move air around as they swung backwards and forwards, operated by electric motors. All very colonial!!
The next day we visited Kuala Lumpur which, in common with Tokyo and Bangkok, has an excellent train system around the city. In fact Kuala Lumpur's has to be the easiest to use and is very efficient. We started the visit by spending an hour sitting in a queue to get our train tickets to Singapore - they have the ticket system, like in Clarks during school holidays or cheese counters! This was the mainline train - not quite so efficient as the city system!
We then went to find the Petronas twin towers and arrived in a magnificent shopping mall, from which we emerged to find the towers were above the mall! Unfortunately you have to be in a queue at 8.30 in the morning to get tickets for the skybridge walk between the two towers, but we were satisfied with looking at the towers and the fountains in the plaza behind them. The towers are interesting because they are built using motifs from islam which is very obvious when you know this and look at them. We spent some time in the aquarium which was very good although, from Steven's point of view, lacked jellyfish!
On our second day in Kuala Lumpur, we were just drawn to the shopping mall and the park. The park is a dream for a three year old - it had a massive paddling pool with fountains and endless climbing frames with numbers you could turn round and even a clock where you could move the hands! (See reference under clock dongs auntie Diane!) Steven was happy but the weather was so hot we had to insist he came inside and have a drink under the influence of air conditioning!
Tomorrow - not daunted by our previous experience of the train (but then the bus experience holds terrors too!) we embark on the 10 hour trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. We have booked a hostel which promises to be a 'premier quality' hostel. We shall see - so long as it has running water!