Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
It’s 5am here in Kuala Lumpur and I’m up and writing this because my head is still on NZ time, where I left yesterday.
Still, I’m sitting in a 4 star hotel with internet access, paid for by the airline, which beats the shit out of my last visit to KL in 2002, where I caught a bus from Singapore and landed in beg bug hell. From my 2002 trip log:
We finally got going at about a quarter to midnight, arrived in Kuala Lumpur from JB at 5:30am, and I was a snivelling mess. The problem was the bus was incredibly cold - I'd forgotten to heed Lonely Planet's warning: "Malaysian air-conditioned buses are really meat lockers on wheels with just two settings: cold and suspended animation". I already had a bit of the sniffles which I'd caught in Singapore, no doubt because of the constant hot-cold-hot-cold of walking between air con shops and outside. And on the bus I was wearing no more than shorts and T-shirt and sandals. I was so cold en route I'd even tucked my arms into my T-shirt to try keeping warm. Of course sleep was out of the question in this state.
We eventually found a place to stay - "Travelers Moon Lodge". I spent the rest of the day in bed, to both catch up on sleep and get rid of the cold. Whilst in lying in bed I spent most of the day reading, during which I killed 2 bedbugs which crawled across the bed in front of my gaze. This was bad news. You may recall the troubles I had with bedbugs in Brisbane, and in that situation in a week I only saw one actual bedbug. And already I'd spotted 2 here! I chatted to a Malaysian guy who was staying at the hostel, and he said he'd had trouble with mosquitoes all night - he showed me his forearm which was covered with over 100 bites, and I knew straight away they too were bedbugs. So before lights-out I covered myself from top to toe in mosquito repellent, but it didn't do squat. So for the last 3 days I've been covered in dozens of itchy bites, on my feet, legs, arms, and back, all from that first night in KL. We decided to find somewhere else to stay after that first night, and whilst packing Simon killed 5 bed bugs he spotted crawling across his sheet. Unbelievably, neither Simon or Robert had any bite marks at all - the bugs must have preferred Kiwi meat to Swede! After we'd packed I was chatting about the bugs to an Englishman in the kitchen, and I was astonished to see a bedbug crawling across the top of his trousers - it's fair to say this place was infested.
A few notes from the 2010 trip so far. Malaysian Airlines are great, one of the world’s six 5 star airlines. I normally arrive as late as possible for flights so I don’t have to queue to checkin, but this time I arrived on time and I was rewarded with a queue so long it took an hour and a half! The checkin staff were pleasant though and I managed to get a window seat, probably because of my gentle complaining about the wait.
Most of the 10 hour flight from Auckland to KL was spent flying over the red earth of Australia which provided occasionally interesting views.
I arrived at 8pm on a Friday night so I considered hitting the town even though it was 2am NZ time and I’d been up at 6am the day before. So I started at the hotel’s bar, where a small glass of beer cost RM25, which is like NZ$11 (USD$7.50). Fuck. So I had a glass of beer and tried to make conversation with another punter sitting at the bar but he seemed more interested in his Blackberry. The barman told me I looked really tired, and since my hotel is at the airport and a long train ride from town, that was all the excuse I needed to call it a night.
So today I’ve got a day to kill in KL before I fly out to Delhi at 6pm.