Friday, April 30, 2010

From jungle to city in 4 hours

Yup, that's all the time it takes to get from Kuala Tahan and the Taman Negara National Park to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Doesn't seem possible, does it? As I mentioned before, I was very glad to be back in a city, especially since I'm now away from all of the mosquitoes. (At one point I counted them - 12 just from my elbow to my wrist on one arm. And this was WITH mosquito repellent!) KL's a small city, though, only about 1.5 million so I'm off again tomorrow today yesterday (as it's now taken me three days to write this post for some reason).

Ah, but let me back up a second, shall I? The trip from Tanah Rata to Kuala Tahan was only 252 miles, but it took eight hours to get there. If you're doing the math, then you've already figured out that that's an average speed of only 31.5 miles per hour. Yep, it's pretty deep into the jungle. So why did I go there when anyone who knows me knows that I'm a city girl through and through? Well, why not? There's a lot of things I've done/tried/eaten/etc that I hadn't done/tried/eaten/etc before this trip, so I figured I'd keep goin with the roll that I was on.

Yeah, so, the jungle. It was jungle-y. Tropical rainforest (and why does spell check keep telling me that's wrong? Rainforest is so one word, I don't care what spell check says!) jungle-y. It rained quite a bit, even though it's now officially the dry season, and some travelers I'd met had run into some leeches. The big draw for me was the canopy walkway, a series of suspension bridges over the jungle that lets you get a bird's eye view of things. It was cool, but the Capilano Suspension Bridge that I saw in Vancouver, BC a few years ago was MILES ahead of it in coolness factor. After a few days I was pretty much ready to go and almost lost Rowan then as he was thisclose to going on a 9 day (!!) jungle trek; he decided last minute that the jungle wasn't "real" enough for him, lol, and that he'd leave, too. 

The biggest draw in KL (besides the fact that it's a proper city!) is probably the Petronas Towers. Until 2004, this was the world's tallest building, but it's still the world's tallest twin towers. (The tallest building, if you'll remember, is the Burj Dubai, now with a new name that I've forgotten.) Right away after we arrived and checked in to Le Village, a pretty cool little bohemian style guesthouse in Chinatown, we went out on a search for food. We found a market that had all kinds of stuff for sale and tons of food choices. By the time we finished eating, it was late so we called it a night.

The next day my primary agenda was to go to the Australian embassy to get my visa (have I mentioned here yet that my ticket is already booked? I'll be flying from Bali to Perth on May 31st where I'll be meeting my friend Will from home.) As it turns out, I could get it online, so it was perhaps the easiest visa experience ever. Now why couldn't India have been like that? :-) After the visa, there was no other real plan for the day. Rowan had gone to the mall near the Petronas Towers to wait for me while I was at the embassy, so I headed there to meet up with him. . .and we ended up spending most of the rest of the day there at the mall. Yeah, I know, craziness. I shopped around for a netbook, only to find that prices are still ridiculously high. Then we discovered Petrosains, a sort of interactive science center (and poorly disguised commercial for petroleum) and Muzik, also interactive and all about the history and science of music. Both were pretty cool and good for multiple hours worth of air conditioned entertainment. We attempted to see a movie and continue with the chilliness, but nothing of interest was being shown. We finally decided that perhaps we should get out a bit and see some more of the actual city. We made a quick jump over to the connecting Petronas Towers and then jumped on the monorail to go over to the KL Tower, a 276m telecommunications tower that I'd heard had even better views than Petronas. By this time it was after 8pm, so seeing Kuala Lumpur all lit up was pretty nice (even if the RM38/$12 price tag was a bit hefty).

Full day number two in KL was just a bunch of walking around, seeing the city, wandering Chinatown and Little India, and, of course (because it's me we're talking about here) - eating.

* * *

Let's skip ahead to the part where now I'm in Melaka. It's taken me so long to write this dang thing, that I've lost interest in my own goings-on, lol. I arrived in Melaka yesterday and am staying at Old Town Guesthouse which was referred to me by travelers I met in Pulau Penang. It's a great little newly renovated guesthouse with awesome light and space. It also has free breakfast, free coffee and tea all day, and lots of DVDs - all for less than $4 a night. 

More later, though. I'll have a whole post just for Melaka, especially since my plans, they may be a-changin'.


  1. That's a great picture of you. I'm glad you were finally able to finish your update!

  2. I'm glad you didn't have a problem getting your visa. It sure would be nice to be able to get all your visa's online huh! Glad too, you got to suck up on some AC.

    Love ya!