Hide the coke

We were rudely awoken at 8am on the 4th as the luggage had turned up. After breakfast we asked the concierge about getting to the bird gardens. He advised against walking as this would involve going along the motorway. Instead we should get the train one stop from KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur station.

We had to wait quite a while for a train as the service was infrequent. We soon noticed that in Malaysia they love having the red circle with a line through signs banning various things:

No smoking – par for the course

No jumping in front of trains – wasn’t planning to

No flying kites – I really have no idea how I would do this in an underground railway station!

The train finally turned up and we got on to find more prohibitions. Fortunately these had English translations. I’m not sure otherwise I would have guessed that ‘No 18th century silhouettes’ was actually ‘No indecent behaviour’

As we had waited for the train quite a while, it seemed a bit pointless only going one stop. The train was going to Batu Caves and we thought we would have an adventure and see what was there. 

Lots of people got off at the caves so it seemed like we made a good choice. We walked out of the station and there was a large limestone escarpment stretching along and above us and lots of lush vegetation. The first cave we came to was 5 Ringgit to go in (£1) it contained lots of Hindu sculptures and dioramas.

We then walked along to the next cave. There were several flights of wide wooden steps leading up to it and a giant gold statue at the bottom. Around the steps were a large number of monkeys. About halfway up the steps, one of the monkeys leapt on Kim and started climbing up his back until Kim shook it off. We soon realised the monkey was after Kim’s bottle of Coke. Further up we saw another monkey which had managed somehow to break off the top of a plastic bottle of Lipton Ice Tea. It was scooping the drink up with its paw and into its mouth. Kim had to stick his bottle down his shirt front to hide it from the monkeys.

 At the top of the stairs was a temple built in a collapsed cave. We next went halfway down the steps and along to the right to the Dark Cave. We did a 45 minute tour. The guide told us about all the wildlife of the cave such as the rare trapdoor spider which we couldn’t see and the bats which we weren’t allowed to point our torches at. She did show us another type of spider and a centipede.

After we left the cave we headed back to the train station. It was too late for the bird park so we headed back to the hotel. We had a brief rest before heading out again to the Petronas towers. These were for a while the tallest towers in the world but have now been relegated to 7th highest.

We went through the strict security which included having to deposit my selfie stick and then headed on up. We got 15 mins on the sky bridge between the two towers and 20 mins on the observation deck of one of the towers. The view consisted of lots of other tall towers but also large areas of green space. After we headed back down we went out the back to the fountains which were lit up in different colours. We ate at a restaurant very close by. It was very cheap £30 for 2 and I had alcoholic drink which was more expensive. Generally Malaysia is quite a cheap country. We then headed back.

On the 5th we were flying back in the evening so managed to get a late check out for 4pm. We headed out to the bird park by the train. We then had quite a long walk up a hill and all around the circumference of the bird park to get to the entrance (this seemed like pretty poor planning to me). At the entrance there were yet more prohibitions – no disturbing the birds, no pulling out feathers, no picking up feathers etc.

The park had different sections with some birds free roaming and others in cages. We saw amongst others: peacocks, ostriches, flamingos, owls and many local species whose names I can’t remember. We stayed about 1/1/2 hrs before taking a taxi back which was cheap and much easier.

We freshened up and packed all the clobber for the last time before storing it with the concierge. We headed back to the Petronas Towers so that Kim could go in the mall and buy a new phone from the Sony shop. We then headed to the main shopping street. What I expected was something like your British high street. Instead the area had a number of massive malls in them. We started off in the high end mall, moved across to the low end mall before ending up in the mid range malls.

Two things became apparent: firstly that there were large numbers of duplicate shops in these malls and secondly that most shops had lots of staff but few if any customers.

Generally it seemed that in Malaysia there was lots of overstaffing and people whose job it was to hang around. For example, going to the station there was an automated pedestrian crossing but also a traffic cop who ignored the lights and directed traffic. Going into the station there were 2 men in red berets and pulled up white socks, there was another man with a black beret sitting behind a desk and there was a woman in a fluorescent jerkin at the top of the escalator. Perhaps wages are low.

We then headed off to the airport for our midnight flight home.


About loderingo

Blog describing my travels around the Americas
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