Having left Martin in China at an Asian schools Orchestra rehearsal and concerts in Zhuhai (on the mainland but close to Macau and Hong Kong) on Friday 29th Jan Eleanor and I took a flight to KL via Kota Kinabalu (in Borneo and where we would fly back to on Tuesday 2nd Feb). It was cheaper to fly to KL via KK rather than stop and leave at KK. KK wasn’t a big airport to do a stopover though we did go through immigration in about 2 minutes and it is where I had a meltdown. Having left China with credit cards of varying types and my trusty China Union Pay and 400 RMB in notes I expected to have no trouble getting cash out of a hole in the wall or using my cards in the shops. I certainly didn’t expect trouble in the airport. However, card after card was declined at the ATM and as none of the shops took cards we were hungry at 6.30am and couldn’t last without something until 10am, our next flight. I found a man behind a transfer desk and explained my predicament through tears. It transpires KK has a Bureau D’Change on the other side at check-in. Helpful. The man took my 400RMB and came back with 270RM. (Just another currency to add to the collection). The breakfast Eleanor and I just had to have was doughnuts.
Feeling so much better after that we continued our journey arrived into KL, found the hotel and checked in. Going by train arriving into KL Sentral was fine. 28 minutes and we were there but it then transpires that the network of metros/tubes or lines are owned by different companies so you need to buy the tickets at the interchange, KL Sentral. Our hotel, Intercontinental was right by Ampang Park, one stop away from the Petronas Towers.
We seemed to spend a lot of our time their. Not shopping (much to my disappointment!) but eating and sight seeing. The heat was stifling. Lovely to spend the afternoons by the pool but too much to do anything particularly strenuous outside.
Though on Sunday I decided that we would go and see the Batu Caves….at the top of 272 steps…
The caves were very different from what we were to be exposed to in Borneo. Batu Caves are (how do I put this politely) tacky and dirty. There are empty bottles and plastic wrappers strewn up the steps and in the caves. They are garishly lit up and yet they seemed to draw you in by the bright colours.
Thankfully we had not come the weekend before as that would have coincided with a major pilgrimage/festival (Thaipusam) to the Hindu Temple and Shrine to celebrate Lord Murugan. Over a million people were present apparently!
I had expected a little more moaning from Eleanor but she perservered having had a henna tattoo as only a minor bribe.
That night I had booked a tour to the top of the Petronas Towers. I had booked the week before as I did not fancy going in the morning and queuing. Our tour was 7.15pm a perfect time to go to the world’s highest skybridge connecting the two towers because by the time we reached floor 86 dusk had fallen and the skies and cityscape were stunning.
Monday was our last day before flying to Borneo on the Tuesday. Martin was to arrive late on the Monday. His flights were very expensive and he had to spend the night in Shanghai on the Sunday for fear of not getting to the airport on Monday because snow had fallen quickly in Suzhou over the course of an hour.
On Monday despite the lure of a rollercoaster inside a shopping mall, Eleanor wanted to explore Petrosains (pronouced Petroscience). We spent close to 4 hours in the interactive science exhibition. And during the course of those hours I wish I had retained more basic physics and chemistry. Or had Martin with me!
However we both had a good time and it was a good “wet weather/very hot lets stay indoors” activity. Eleanor was capitivated by it and when we watched an experiment the lady doing it did it all in English despite the fact that only Eleanor and I spoke English, everyone else was first language Malay.
On Monday night Martin arrived late and so on Tuesday morning before our afternoon flight to KK we took Martin to the Petronas Towers and the park at the base.
The park had a lovely paddling pool and given the heat, it was a great relief. We also had it to ourselves. We then collected our belongings, leaving our winter clothes at the hotel as we were coming back for a night after Borneo and left for the airport via KL Sentral where we checked in courtesy of Malaysian Airlines.