Sunday, 8 January 2012

Kuala Lumpur Part IV

In which I run out of tourist attractions and have my first run in with bed bugs.
Starring Kellie Netherwood and the coconut man (again!)

I went back to KL with absolutely zero enthusiasm.  Not only had I seen and done pretty much everything I wanted to but I also had a long list of admin to get out the way – posting parcels home (remarkably cheap), booking the rest of my trip, and buying new hiking boots.  Sigh.  Also a good friend was going to be in town for a few days and so we had agreed to spend the weekend together in Melaka before she flew back to the UK and I set off for the Philippines.

After three dull days of sitting in front of my computer (and two panicked calls from the Fraud Detection Squad at First Direct) I had finally got everything sorted out so treated myself to a day out at Putrajaya.  It’s the administrative capital of Malaysia – a sort of Asian Canberra – that was built to accommodate the official buildings.  It’s enormous.  And I couldn’t really understand how the buses worked so I ended up walking for most of the day – up and down the main street.  At the far end is a huge convention centre that looks like a strange spaceship perched on the hill.  The book said: “worth a visit for the breathtaking views”.  It took me fourty minutes to get there. There wasn’t another person in sight.  It was closed.  The views were at best average.  You know you have run out of tourist attractions when you find yourself in an empty convention centre, just you and the floor polishing machine.

The most (or should I say – only!) interesting thing about Putrajaya is the architecture.  There are some absolutely stunning buildings – with fascinating Asian and Arabic embellishments - and all absolutely enormous.  I wandered down to the river as well where there’s a series of wonderful bridges, some apparently – purely for decorative purposes.  Everything is pristine – the streets are spotless, the gardens are perfectly tended and there isn’t a spot of peeling paint or rust to be seen anywhere.  Had lunch at a busy food court beneath the main square – which was amazingly full of people – almost the first I had seen in the whole place.

That evening Kellie and I went to another of KL’s famous rooftop bars. This one was called Luna Bar and looked out over both the KL Menara Tower AND the Petronas towers.  Every single table around the pool, and up on the mezzanine level, bar one, was booked.  But no one ever turned up. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Eventually we got a cab back to the main bar street – Changkit Bukit Bingtang and settled into one of the main bars to watch expats humiliating themselves on the dance floor.

The next day we got the bus down to Melaka for a very chilled out day of strolling, eating and stopping for coffee.  We did the usual evening stroll along the night market and had chicken and rice balls for dinner at a Chinese restaurant that looked like it had been built in a temple.  I liked it slightly less the second time round – though there were actually less people.  I put that down to the fact that Mr Universe wasn’t there and the bars were much quieter with no crazy man in commando trousers.  Even the coconut man failed to impress.  Plus when we woke up the next morning, Kellie noticed she had bites all over her hands and by the time we got to KL airport for our flights she was absolutely covered in them.  Mine started to appear a day later. They itch like hell and keep appearing in a way that makes you utterly paranoid you’ve still got things crawling on you.  Rushed off to the nearest laundry with pretty much everything I own and asked for super hot wash.  

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