They say you learn something new everyday! I know that I often recognise when I learn something new and say “well I learned something new today” but today, I learned more than one new thing, in fact I learned more than I can even remember already as I sit here at about 11:30pm and try to keep my eyes open and write just some of it down…
The first thing…how grown up my girls are…I know that I live with them and have watched them grow from babies to toddlers to tweens and to teens (or almost teens) but I don’t spend all that much time with them anymore as we are all busy and sometimes just seem to bump into each other in the kitchen for a hug each morning and that is about it….it is sad I know, but it is true….however today we spent the whole day and some together and even though they had spent the whole night on a plan and were forced to keep up and going for the day, they didn’t turn into little monsters, they never said are we there yet or can we go home, or anything the one might expect kids to say when they are tired. Instead they talked to each other quite civilly, actively participated and interacted with us and other people that we met and kept on going for the whole day…I am vey proud of them both!
Whilst a lot of time was spent planning this trip, many many things were left intentionally ‘open’ so that we could easily do what seemed like the best thing to do at the time. Accommodation has all been pre-booked because it is summer holiday time in Europe and we wanted to keep within our budget and not waste precious exploring time having to find a place with a vacancy at a reasonable price…we booked a few things that will require us to be somewhere at a certain time, but otherwise the rest of our activities will be decided at the time, though from prior research we have an idea of what we may do and how we may do it…this morning was one of those moments when we opted to change the ‘idea’ on the spot.
As our flight was due to arrive at 4:15am and the first ‘advertised’ bus that we were aware of from KLIA-LCCT was the Air Asia bus at 7am, we had decided on paying the extra to take a taxi to our hotel, though we were not prepared to pay the 50% loading to take one before 6am. So, with RM110 allocated for the taxi, we were curious when we saw a yellow ‘Aerobus’ pull in with passengers on it while we were on our way to get our taxi ticket and delighted to find that the next departure was scheduled for 6:30am and the tickets were only RM8 for adults and RM4 for kids, so for RM28 we could get to KL Sentral. Now, as much as we want to believe the ticket sellers, the proof is in the pudding…’departing at 6:30am’ really means departing when they are ready, today that was about 6:45am, so not too bad… ‘express’ means except for dropping a few people off on the way, though I don’t think the driver changed his route to suit and he made them jump out at a red light, so again not really any disturbance for us…’45 minutes’ in anyones language means as soon as possible given the traffic conditions and peak hour Monday morning traffic in KL is bound to have it’s share of traffic jams, break downs and accidents as any other major city… But the bus was clean enough, air conditioned and the seats were comfy, so we sat back and relaxed until we arrived at KL Sentral at about 8am…not too bad. We got to see the sun rise up through the smog/mist/cloud which was quite pretty. One thing I learned though, was how many people in KL drive cars, on their own….I had expected to see more scooters (like in Vietnam), but there were not really that many…I think they need a lesson on car pooling!
Arriving at KL Sentral we took the light rail to Pasar Seni station for RM1 each and then walked a block to our Hotel Chinatown Inn. Cheap, clean, comfortable was all we were looking for and this fit the bill, with the added benefit of being located right in the middle of Chinatown. Our rooms were ready, though the lift wasn’t working, so we carried our gear up to our third floor room…I am sure this was meant to be, we needed a warm up for what was to come…
Our pre-planning had resulted in booking a private tour for the day, to be sure to keep us up and moving as well as experiencing some of KL’s more unique attractions. Simba, from Simba Transport Services meet us at the door of our hotel and had a clean, air-conditioned, 7 seater suv waiting for us. First stop…the Batu Caves, thoug as we were a little hungry, we stopped in at the Indian restaurant at the base of the caves for brunch first. Indian pancakes called Uthappam and Dosai with dipping spicy dipping sauces from lentils, tomato and coconut were recommended, so we started with one each…they were really good and we all then asked for seconds!
Then it was time to climb….272 steps up, then a few down and a few more up to get to the main temple inside the caves. The area is a Hindu temple and whilst there were quite a few people there today, it can host up to 1.5 million during the special Hindu festival in January/February each year. I won’t lie, I was more than a little worried about the stairs…I am far from fit and my knees were quivering at the thought…but I was determined…thankfully, there were plenty of monkeys around to have reason to stop and take photos on the way up, catch my breath and let my thighs relax a little. Taking that last step at the top was a momentus occasion! As I am not hindu, the significance of the place did not have much of an effect, but I was surprised to see the numbers of shops selling souvenirs up there…we resisted the urge to buy a loud, flashing Ganesh statue…
Next stop…Deerland…a small animal park that has 5 species of deer, including the tiny Mouse Deer. We got to feed some deer, they like raw potato chips…and t-shirts and shorts too when you don’t feed them quick enough. They also have a number of birds and reptiles, including an albino python called
Then the stop that the girls were most interested in…the Elephant Sanctuaty at Lancang, Panang. After watching a short documentary about the challenges of relocating elephants from the dwindling forest areas near cities to nature reserves, we were able to go and feed the baby elephants…the eat lots and lots of bananas…a short display by some of the adult elephants before taking a ride on their bare back…and then the long awaited opportunity to take a swim in the river with two baby elephants.
Lunch… Mee goreng ayam at roadside cafe
Durian fruit and mangosteen, king and queen of fruits
, shopping Bed
Bit too tired now, will finish this tomorrow!