After two months of beaches, hazy hammocks and clear waters, it was actually quite nice to see the city (crazy as it may sound!). I’m not really a ‘city’ person, there are too many people rushing around like demented ants acting important and failing to smile. But arriving in KL, I looked up at the famous Petronas Towers as they lit up the skyline, this city had some character and I was happy to be there.
Rachel who was a friend from Uni, and her partner Hugh had very kindly invited me to stay in their flat that was city central. With marble flooring, effective air conditioning and a warm power shower it was a great place to chill out, post backpacking trip. When you’re on the road, you crash anywhere; a mattress on the floor, a hammock on the beach, a 10 bed dorm, a dodgy hotel, the upstairs hostel bar….wherever! It’s all part of the adventure. The facilities available to you are normally very basic, you’ll get a fan rather than AC and showers are normally cold and dribble out, occasionally without a shower head. But none of this bothers you because quite frankly you’re not backpacking to review hotels; you’re there to experience the country and everything it has to offer.
However, when you arrive back from your adventure and you’ve luckily been put up in a modern flat, that’s when you really appreciate these amenities. At the start, I think I was averaging three hot showers a day!
Sixteen floors up, with a huge glass window front, the flat looked out over the city and dominating the view was the Petronas Towers, KL’s landmark. The rooftop pool was the perfect venue to relax and next to that was the gym complex. Rachel and Hugh are both highflyers with pressured jobs and in the day they left me to my own devices. Mornings were spent drinking tea, playing on Hugh’s acoustic guitar, gyming, pooling and snoozing.
Late afternoon was my wandering time. Wandering is the best way to explore a new city, get lost and try to find out where you can find local food. The central part of KL was clean, busy and there were many large shopping malls (much like the Middle East). However, I found a ‘Jalan’ (street in Malaysian) that had local restaurants with plastic table and chairs outside and cooked chickens hanging in the background.
On the weekend, Rachel and Hugh were off from work and we went out for beers and food in the city; both were well travelled and had worked in many countries abroad. Hugh explained that while working in consultancy he’d spent a lot of time of time travelling and working in the States. Rachel, who worked in the alcohol industry, had been all over the globe with work but stories of Mexico City were probably my favourite. We discussed the distinct difference between travelling a country and actually working in one. That’s my goal of the next few months, to find a city, find a job and set up base for a prolonged period of time. This will be in Oz though (just as summer begins!).
On my final day in KL a tropical storm crept onto the city, by mid afternoon it was as if a dimmer switch in the sky had been hit; everything went gloomy, grey and dark. The thunder rumbled and lighting bolted through the sky, we watched it all from sixteen floors up in the flat.
The darkness and rain reminded me of Wales and as I drank my cup of tea, I did feel a little homesick.
Thank you Rachel and Hugh for putting me up and letting me overuse your shower!