CURRENT LOCATION: Melaka, Malaysia
Our first night in the hotel was pure bliss. After a hot shower, climbing into clean sheets on a comfortable bed in a room with air conditioning and cable TV was a dream come true. We passed out, and woke late-ish in the morning, feeling at least somewhat recovered from our jungle adventure - certainly recovered enough to say, "Man, remember how much fun hiking in the jungle was?". We started our day with a relaxing hotel rooftop breakfast, where our friendly, if not a little intrusive waiter was incredibly attentive and accommodating. Most importantly, we dropped off our laundry. Knowing we were still pretty wrecked, and definitely still dehydrated, we decided to head to a mall and re-stock some essentials. First off, we'd run out of bug spray half way through our jungle hike, so that was on the list. And Zev definitely needed to replace a couple of stained and holey tee shirts. My sports bras had given up the ghost (one tried to destroy my merino tee shirt on its way out), and I definitely needed some body wash for the sake of everyone in my vicinity. A trip to the mall was just what the doctor ordered.
A short monorail ride later, we arrived at the mall. Which was HUGE. 6 storeys and enormous. It had everything from Zara, Topshop, H&M, and Nike to Coach, Armani, Tiffany & Co, and Cartier. I could see myself spending a lot of time (and money) here... Luckily we escaped with only what we came for, plus a couple of extra tee shirts that I probably didn't need, and definitely can't fit in my bag. We spent the afternoon back at the hotel, frantically trying to clean our packs and shoes, and taking advantage of the air conditioning. We headed out later that evening for a delicious Mexican dinner, followed by Haagen Dazs dessert (salted caramel waffles and a salted caramel latte. Mmmmmm.....).
We were up a little earlier the next morning, and jumped on the train heading for Batu Caves. The most famous site is a 43m high murga statue and 272 steps leading up to Temple Cave, a Hindu shrine. I did some research before we left the hotel, and found that they had created a dress code a few years ago, but officials reported that since it was very controversial (many people in the Hindu community disagreed with it as it would discourage visitors), it would not be enforced - they were guidelines, rather than rules. I decided to wear a dress, as the heat was crazy. It was pretty modest though - knee length, not tight. Anyway, we got to the bottom of the 272 stairs, when a lady yelled at me, and told me I couldn't go up a 'short skirt', and would have to buy a sarong/sari. Luckily, she was selling them... According to the clothing guidelines, my knees needed to be covered. My dress touched my knees, even covered the tops of them, but the bottom half of my knees were poking out, determined to offend. Since I had read that the clothing policy wasn't actually being enforced, and I couldn't determine whether this woman was above board or just running a scam, I refused to give her any money (a whopping 5RM, or $1.50NZD) and opted to wait at the bottom of the stairs while Zev went up. I bet the woman is still weeping about her lost earnings. I can't speak much to the cave, but Zev took some photos. He said it was a huge cave with shrines dotted around it.... I don't feel like I missed out on much.
From there we caught the train back KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), and as we were exiting the train station, we found a Johnny Rockets. As we waited for our burgers, we noticed the same song playing on repeat - not the whole way through, just bits of it, skipping and repeating. We were already finding this pretty funny, when suddenly the music stopped, and a new song started blaring out of the stereo. And then. AND THEN. THE WAITSTAFF STARTED TO DANCE. Zev laughed so hard he snorted a fry out of his nose. It was amazing. And the burgers weren't too shabby either.
Once we recovered from our fits of giggles, we headed outside to check out the Petronas Towers. At 452m tall, they are the tallest twin structures in the world. They're incredibly striking, with their 8 sided star shape and silver colouring. We considered going up them to check out the view, but decided that the view of them was much more interesting than the view from them. We wandered around the area for a bit, admiring the towers and checking out some of the high end shops nearby.
We headed back to the hotel, and that night was the night of the deleted blog fiasco. We'll spend no more time on that...
On day 3, we ventured to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, with the largest free flight walk in aviary in the world. It was a hell of a walk from the train station, and by the time we arrived we were sweaty and disgusting. We arrived just in time for the hornbill feeding. Two free flying hornbills flew over to a keeper who fed one of them bits of meat and fruit, while the other refused to come down from the tree. Zev was particularly excited about this, as he'd been desperate to see a hornbill since we arrived in SE Asia. Once feeding time was over, we continued through to the next part of the aviary. Here, they had a photo booth set up with a bunch of birds, and they took and printed a photo for you, as well as taking some on your own camera (check out Flickr to see those bad boys!). Now Zev had not only seen a hornbill up close and personal, he'd had one on his lap, and given it a pat! It was cheesy, but fun.
Next up was the parrot aviary, where Zev got some milk and honey in a cup to feed to the parrots. They jumped all over him to drink out of the cup, and he had a great time! Nothing else of any note happened in the parrot aviary.
After checking out the flamingos, pelicans and peacocks, we caught the bird show. It was pretty cute, definitely aimed at kids, and mostly featured macaws being pretty damn clever - moving shapes, going down slides and doing various other tricks. We made a brief stop so that I could have a turn at feeding the parrots, then continued on to see the owls and eagles. Then it was time for lunch, and to hit the road.
We wandered back towards the train station, heading through a park to see some deer and mouse deer, and making a quick stop at the observatory. We carried on to Central Market, where I even managed to find some film for my camera - YAY!!
We made a pit stop at the hotel to cool down before heading out for dinner. Near the mall we went to on the first day was an underground food court that was incredible. Apparently all the restaurant owners used to own street food stalls, but moved into this premises permanently. We had beautifully cooked Chinese BBQ pork dishes for dinner, and may even have snuck in a couple more scoops of salted caramel ice cream.
Today we had the smoothest intercity bus ride of our trip. The easy to use public transport in KL got us to the bus station with no headaches. We joined a queue for a ticket agent, asked for tickets to Melaka, and she told us that the next bus was leaving in 28 minutes from platform 8. That was it, done. The bus even left on time. We slept through the trip, which means it must have been good.
So now, here we are in Melaka, another UNESCO world heritage site, along with Georgetown in Penang. More on that next time!
Lots of love,
S & Z
(Original post date: 7th May 2015)