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Day 329 – Friday March 14
Melaka to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Similar to what our plans were for Singapore, we had decided to wake up early to catch a 10am bus out of Melaka. Unlike Singapore, this time we actually woke up on time and after catching a taxi from our hotel to the bus terminal, we arrived two minutes before ten. We were then able to secure three tickets on the 10am bus and were off just like that. It was entirely too easy!
The bus ride from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur took around two hours and a half. Our bus was very comfortable and air conditioned. The scenery outside for the journey was of the lush green variety, no surprise given the tropical climate here in Malaysia. For the last thirty minutes or so of the trip, greenery was replaced with urban clutter as we made our way through Kuala Lumpur’s sprawling outskirts. Before we knew it, our bus stopped on a street in the city and we were instructed to get out.
Little did we know that the bus hadn’t just stopped on any street, but it was just a block from where it was supposed to stop, at the KL Sentral Bus Terminal. We were going to book a room before arriving, but this didn’t work out, so we needed to get to an internet connection to do some research. After making our way through the mobbed terminal building, we spotted an internet cafe across the street and headed over there to book ourselves into the Cititel Express hotel across town.
The next logical step in the process was to hire a taxi to take us there. We headed back to the station to look for a taxi stand, but all of the signs were mysteriously missing, so we were forced to hire one on the street. I approached a driver and gave him the address and he agreed that he knew where the hotel was. He then said 20MR ($1USD=3.2MR) and I negotiated him down to 15MR. When everything was agreed, we hopped inside the taxi where I discovered he had a meter and the fare should’ve been much less. Oh well!
Kuala Lumpur has grown rapidly over the years and the city planners have struggled to keep up. The result of this is a maze of one way streets that lead to nowhere. After ten minutes of weaving in and out of traffic, driving the wrong way on one lane alleyways and almost hitting a dozen pedestrians, our driver told us, “I will drop you here.” He pointed to the street sign and noted it was the right street. Our hotel was nowhere in sight, so I told him I was not getting out. After a little investigation, we saw the numbers. We were on the complete wrong end of this street. (Miles from the hotel!)
The taxi driver at this point started to fight with me. He told me I didn’t tell him what number and so on. I politely informed him that I didn’t tell him anything, instead that I handed him a piece of paper with everything written down on it. During this time he read the hotel name from the paper and asked me it several times. He then asked for the hotel’s phone number to call. After only twenty or thirty seconds on the phone he said why didn’t you tell me Cititel Express? At this point I said, “Oh I didn’t tell you. Ok!” I just didn’t want to fight. This guy was determined to blame me for everything.
Another fifteen minutes of reckless driving passed and we could see the hotel, but couldn’t figure out how to get there. Our driver tried going down an alley, but it was too narrow and a car coming at us prevented this. Finally, he asked if he could drop us about a block away and we agreed, given that we could see it and it was an easy walk. I was sure that all of his excuse making was a way for him to try and charge more, but it was not and I paid him the 15RM and headed to the hotel.
After checking in and getting our bags upstairs it was almost 3:30pm. We had hoped to do some sightseeing today, but given how late it was, we opted to stay around the hotel. In the evening we went out to get some dinner and passed street markets before heading to a big shopping mall. We spent most of the night just getting a feel for the city and soaking up the atmosphere.
Tomorrow we are going to head over to the Petronas Twin Towers to get tickets for a trip up to the skybridge that connects the buildings. Tickets are first come first serve, so the earlier we arrive the better. I have to say Kuala Lumpur pretty much looks like a big dirty city, but I am sure there is some charm hidden somewhere underneath all of the noise and garbage. One thing is for sure, it is a stark contrast to Singapore.
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The Coomer Family
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