Day 225: Tourist or Local?

Tues 26th March 2013

No this is not LondonThere is no easy way to get to the KL Tower by public transport which is the main attraction on our agenda today. We have heard the view is better there than from the top of the Petronas Towers, that you are less rushed and its cheaper too. We therefore head out promptly to get all our walking done early in the day before it gets too hot and our legs get tired. We do need to get back into training ready to walk up (that sounds less energetic than climb!) Mount Kinabalu in a week or two.

Photo spot with towersThere is a park between our hotel and KLCC (where the Petronas Towers are too) and where we are heading first. We set off armed with the GPS on our phones to find a shortcut through the maze of tall buildings and soon see a group of Japanese tourists with cameras all pointing in the same direction. “Must be a good view of the towers that way” we correctly surmise. We can also see the park from there so we part company with the Japanese, who get back on their air conditioned coach, and we head off on foot in our usual non tourist manner.

Dolphin statuesThere are apparently 100 acres of parkland here but we cut through the middle towards the fountains in front of the KLCC plaza. First we come across a splash pool for under 12s, and get told off for going under the waterfall! I am not sure if it was wearing our shoes that were the problem as Dave was not challenged when he headed off in his socks to take a photo of the dolphin statues – these British are mad!

Fountain displayIt is just gone 11 when we arrive at the fountains and realise they are in full display mode, presumably an hourly display as we have not seen this on previous visits. The Malaysians do seem to like their water features, and guess what, we are right by a Starbucks so that is morning coffee sorted out too!

Traditional dancingRefreshed, we head off to the KL Tower to find the free shuttle bus to take us up the hill to the tower. It was stifling in the minibus in just the few minutes we sat waiting for it to move off. Once we realised the journey was not that far, we vowed we would rather walk back down than suffer that heat again. The minibus left us next to a flight of steps but no signs to show which way to go. The steps took us through a deserted row of houses, built to display different traditional building styles. Out the far end was the route to the ticket office with a traditional dancing display in progress in the entrance hall.

KL Tower in Eco-Forest ParkBy nifty footwork we got to the lift before a group of Brits who appeared to be from a cruise ship. Having been spoilt by Sydney and Auckland views the KL Tower was disappointing with concrete jungles in all directions, rather than the stunning views of waterways. Also the haze meant we could not see as far as shown on the display pictures. The masses of tour groups meant there was a long queue to get back down, and also the queues at the bottom had grown massively. I am still not inclined to go on a cruise and again this sight of being herded around reinforces my view.

Can I move yet, it is heavyTime to head off and find another shortcut, this time to Bukit Bintang where there are said to be masses of restaurants. Our route takes us down busy streets where the pavements are constantly blocked by parked scooters or delivery lorries  to wend our way through, sometimes needing to detour onto the side of the busy road and having to avoid the traffic. At pelican crossings the green man means the cars will slow to let you across or maybe stop if you glare at them, as for zebra crossings there is no chance of cars stopping for you. Soon the streets are lined with restaurants and bars with quite a varied selection, even a “dine in the dark” one. We settle on a wine bar type one and rest for a while.

MonorailIt is about a half hour walk back to our hotel but we decide to splash out a few ringgits (l just love that for a currency name) to save our feet and I fancied a trip on the monorail. It is two stops on the monorail, a short walk to the LRT and a few stops home. We are so glad we got the “Touch and go” cards as this saves queuing to get a ticket every trip especially as this journey is classified as two trips. The transport system in KL is not all integrated so at times there is a walk and ticket barriers to get between stations to cross to another line.

Once back at the hotel it is chore time again with repacking, blog writing and paying for our extra nights hoping our credit card will not be declined again! Phew, we do have access to our money to continue our trip.

Mass street cateringAs we have not yet experienced the city night life we headed back to Bukit Bintang where the action is supposed to be. Getting the LRT one stop to KLCC we then walked through a series of tunnels, some like metro tunnels and some past shops or restaurants until we finally reached the Pavilion shopping mall with some quite expensive shops as well as brands we know like Debenhams and Zara. This was not what we came to see so we headed on out into the streets lined with street sellers and on to Jalan Alor full of plastic tables and chairs and waiters waving menus to entice you in. Making the most of possibly our last day in civilisation for a few weeks we avoid the chicken and rice and street food, hunting out the Irish bar we saw earlier today serving Steak and Ale pie. Dave enjoyed his Lamb Tagine too, all washed down with a Happy Hour jug of ale. Yummy.

Does not sound goodThat just leaves dessert to sort……….. Dave has a hankering to try a traditional dessert of Durian fruit but there is no one serving at the stall as we pass. We settle for a tub of Durian ice cream, what could possibly go wrong with selecting ice cream? Dave took a mansize scoop and his expression was priceless. I tried a tiny tiny taste and it was disgusting. By far the worst food we have tasted on our trip (and possibly, ever). Not only did it smell like poo, it tasted as I imagine poo would taste. We abandoned the rest of the pot, much to the amusement of the locals on the next table and went in search of anything to get rid of the taste. We are obviously not locals yet!

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