Kuala Lumpur was the fast and expensive city you would expect for the capital and really a recovery after the 2 day bus journey. I shared a hotel room with Chief right in the heart of Chinatown – where we were expecting to see massive celebrations for the Chinese New Year but not a lot happened. As was pointed out it’s mainly relatives coming home and celebrating within their families. In public it’s just like any other celebration in the world: the shops put on sales and people go shopping.
I took in some of the sights and went up the Petronas Towers (owned by Malaysia’s oil company). Great view of the city but think I’ve done enough of going up tall buildings for this trip, as they are much the same; although it was still nice to look out over KL. I also went to the world’s biggest open air bird park, which was fantastic as you literally walk among the birds. There was something new to see everywhere you looked. The café was not so good; I had a vastly overpriced sandwich, which was terrible. The rest of the time in KL was spent wandering around and looking for things to do.
The fake watches have started turning up, which I always find exciting. So far Rolexes, Tags & Omegas are selling for around £20 but I’m going to wait until I get to Vietnam where they’ll be cheaper again and then stock up – for the money they really do look like the real thing. Apparently 90% of things in Vietnam are fake; though that’s all to change shortly as Vietnam is entering into the Would Trade Organisation, which means they have to start tackling fake merchandise! I think it will take them a while though as China reverse-engineers everything and then reproduces it in massive quantities for very low prices, then it all gets distributed across SE Asia.
After a few days in KL I got my planning hat on and decided to go to Malacca and did my plan work out! I left KL to the express bus terminal, caught a bus (an amazing bus, better than any bus I’ve been on) 30 minutes after getting to the bus station. The nice buses have 3 seats in a row; two together and one on its own with loads and loads of leg room. The seat then reclines right back without squashing the person behind – AMAZING. The journey was only two hours and cost £2 for all that luxury. I then got to Melaka and stupidly got a taxi which was more expensive than the bus ride, but it did get me to the guest house nice and fast.
The guest house had a lot of character as all the rooms had various scenes painted on the walls and there was a plunge pool in the middle of the downstairs area. However, the room just smelt of sweat; no windows and the people staying there were all so quiet like they’d been smoking smack. I would say hello and hardly get a reaction. Plus there were some really ill sounding people and quite a strange atmosphere. After one night I found a hotel which worked out to be the same price and that’s where I’ve been staying for the past week.
Melaka has been amazing; such a chilled laidback place and really hot and humid so it’s quite easy getting in 2 or 3 snoozes a day in between exploring the area. It’s a very historic town but currently with loads of traffic because the Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days – most people take 5 days off work, so for the first 3 days the place was full of people, then overnight they all disappeared again.
Chief arrived a few days later and found a great hostel full of cool people, so we all hung out for a couple of nights at the local bars. It’s always a high turnover of people as you meet someone and then off they go in a different direction: always a shame but also a plus as you keep on meeting new faces; and I guess at certain points paths go the same way.
I also starred in a Bollywood film the other day. I had just finished breakfast, went out on the street and there were cameras and people everywhere. When I went to have a look, the director came over and asked if I’d do a walk for the film. Would you believe I had the worst outfit on yet – first day of wearing shorts, bright white legs, blue shorts with my walking shoes, plus a shirt and shades … anyway they gave me a yellow umbrella just to add to the terrible outfit and then I had to walk along by a fountain looking across at one of the characters while being filmed and having my photo taken by a pack of photographers. They then rushed up to show me my picture: as you can imagine I looked like a complete British tourist; all I was missing was a can of extra strong larger in my hand. Anyway I got the e-mail for one of the photographers and the name of the film I think (massive language barrier); hopefully I may get to check the film out when it’s released.
The rest of the time has mostly been spent wandering around, taking in the sites, eating, drinking and of course snoozing!
Tomorrow I get ready to leave for KL and then get an early flight to Vietnam – the flight is just over an hour, which is nice and Ho Chi Min City should be full of energy. It’s going to be quite a shock to the system after Malacca but I’m very much ready for it. Also a friend who I used to work with is arriving in Vietnam at the same time as I am; though she’ll be in the north. We’re going to see if we can meet in the middle for a few days. Also a guy on my CELTA course has just got a job starting in March, so hopefully I’ll catch up with him too. (That must be the handsome fellow below….Lol) Then later on my sister Bex will be in Thailand and also a couple of my friends. Hopefully we can all meet up there as well.
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