Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The travellers return

Well, what a time we've had!
We hired a local made Proton car and undertook the momentous decision to cross over the Penang Bridge, onto the main N/S toll road, and across the border into Thailand for a few days, as you know because I already blogged that.
After spending almost two weeks in Phuket and exploring all of the island plus a fair chunk of the mainland, we returned to Penang for a couple of nights before departing (again by road) for Kuala Lumpur.
Wow, what a place. I still cannot decide whether I loved it or hated it – I suspect a bit of both.
KL is a melting pot of Malays, Chinese and Indians, which makes for a very colourful, noisy and vibrant city.
We stayed in an hotel about 800 meters from the Petronis Towers, and our room was on 28th floor which, I hear you say, would have given us a magnificent view of said towers – alas, this was not the case, due to a heavy, toxic smog that was covering the city – a few weeks ago, this smog was so bad in KL that a state of emergency was declared as the air quality was recorded at “hazardous” ie 700+ psi of toxins known to be dangerous to human health. Luckily, whilst we were there it was only 215 psi (healthy air is that which contains ˂ 50).
However, by getting out early and hurrying to a destination, we resisted the temptation to get ourselves face masks in an effort to not do a Michael Jackson impersonation.
The Petronis Towers. They are big (although now only the 4th tallest in the world or so I understand) but yes, they most certainly are very very tall. What totally blew me away however, was how stunningly beautiful they are! In glistening stainless steel and shiny glass they truly are a work of art and I loved them. They're very tactile also, they sit, gleaming at you, daring you to touch a part of them, somehow – or maybe that's just me being silly. Probably is.
Everywhere one looks in KL there are huge towering buildings, they are impossible to escape. Its lovely and horrid all at the same time.
Our hotel had a roof top pool bar on, with comfy day beds and amazing views by night!
Mike got his wish to travel the length of the monorail which runs through the city – you should have seen the look on his face – like a little kid – awwwww.
I loved our visit to Central Markets and Little India – something resonates with me whenever I visit an Indian quarter – the smells, the colours, the sounds, all feel right to me for some reason – maybe I was a Hindu in a past life – there I go again, being silly.
We ate like kings in KL – every possible cuisine that a big city offers was there for the buying. We had Malay food, Thai food, Indian food, Chinese food – and (sorry but its true) a wonderful meal at TGI Fridays!!!
Whilst on a shopping trip to a supermarket for supplies we came across Waitrose DIET lemonade! You don't know (because I haven't told you yet) how rare that is – the only low sugar drink we have found anywhere is diet coke, so to find lemonade was such a treat.
On the downside, while the impressive modern buildings pamper to the aesthetic, the surrounding pavements, sidewalks and streets are crumbling into decay, which makes for interesting pedestrian ism. On our last full day, whilst standing on a kerb waiting to cross a busy intersection, a small motorcycle rapidly approached us, and in the blink of an eye the rider reached over and grabbed my chest, just below the neck, in an attempt to grab my gold chain. Luckily, my chain is long and doesn't sit where he grabbed, so I kept my chain and gained a nasty scratch and bruise. He disappeared as quickly as he had appeared, but I must admit, it shook me a bit, I suppose we have become complacent and are definitely not street smart any more.
Leaving KL the next morning we detoured to Port Dickson to see what it was like and ran into our friends Chris and Guy, of the Belgian registered “Remora”, before heading off back up to Penang, via the Cameron Highlands – very pretty, we visited a tea plantation and marvelled at the terraces. Absolutely gorgeous scenery but tiring driving for poor Mike. What, you think I would be mad enough to drive here? No way, Jose!
So, tomorrow at first light we sail back up to Rebak, where we hear the SW monsoon is all but over now, we shall probably haul out and anti foul later this year, and then...............hahahaha you'll be the first to know of our plans! Photos at Picasa very soon, internot willing. Stay tuned x

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