“Err… you know something? I think we’re at totally different airports.”
That pretty much set the tone for our Kuala Lumpur experience.
I, flying with Air Asia, landed in the LCC Terminal at about 1:30pm on Monday. I settled down at the arrivals area to wait the half an hour for Bel, who was flying with Jetstar… only to have her land in KLIA. After a bit of wandering around and text messaging to establish that yes, we were in two completely different locations, we agreed to both hop into taxis and meet at Pei Ling’s office, where we were going to drop off our bags before embarking on our KL adventures.
The taxi journey marked the first of my many many many misconceptions about Kuala Lumpur. (It had been so long since I had been in KL that this might as well have been my first visit.)
Like Wellington and it’s environs (Johnsonville, etc.) there is Kuala Lumpur, and then there is around Kuala Lumpur. One cannot walk from one suburb to another, because they’re not all one big city like Singapore. So when Pei Ling said her office was in Shah Alam, I really should have realised that Shah Alam is not actually in KL (and neither is LCCT, for that matter). I learned this fast enough on the 45-minute-long taxi ride.
I also learned that there is actually NOTHING at Shah Alam. (Or if there was anything interesting, it had done a marvellous job of hiding.)
With all the confusion about airports and getting taxis and finding our way to Shah Alam, it was 4:45pm (3 hours and 15 minutes after I’d first arrived in KL) before Bel and I actually saw each other.
Pei Ling collected us from her office like a couple of strays, and deposited us at the KTM station where we by some miracle managed to make it to KL Sentral, then Bukit Bintang.
Walking around Bukit Bintang, I finally understood why many people have told me that KL is actually a lot like Singapore. THE SHOPS ARE ALMOST ALL THE SAME. Topshop, Zara, UNIQLO, Secret Recipe, Food Republic (srsly?), MacDonald’s etc. etc. The malls also started to look the same, so much so that it felt like I’d travelled all this way only to have made it as far as Orchard Road. Still, we managed to find a little eatery that was NOT something we had in Singapore.
After a rather satisfying meal (probably because we were so hungry) we struck out for the Petronas Twin Towers with single-minded ambition, determined to get our obligatory “tourist shots”. That resulted in more lost wanderings, cornering locals to ask stupid questions and finally emerging into the KL night… where we did not see the towers. Disappointment and confusion all round.
“Eh, I don’t see anything… do you think we got the directions wrong?”
“No, it’s gotta be here somewhere…”
“Maybe we took a wrong turn?”
“No, that last guy said it was here! Hey, this is a huge pillar that looks like… *looks up* Oh.”
Yes, we’d been standing under the Petronas Twin Towers. *epic fail*
So we got our cliched shots, then hustled to the LRT to meet Pei Ling at Asia Jaya so she could take us back to hers for some shut-eye.
We’d agreed to meet at 10:30pm, but her meeting was running late so we were still waiting at Asia Jaya at 10:45pm. And 11pm. And 11:30pm. By 11:45pm we were discussing the merits of perhaps crossing the road and checking into the hotel (which happened to be the Hilton, of all things), because it was getting dark and people were giving us pretty suspicious looks. (To be fair, we did look like a couple of homeless waifs sitting at the bus stop.)
Fortunately, Pei Ling showed up just as we had got up to go check out the Hilton (not that either of us could ever really have afforded it). She’d been lost and her phone had gone flat.
Rescued, we all headed to Klang and so ended our KL escapades.
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