• Bob Taylor

Musings - Day 38

Day 38 – 2nd February 2020

Thank you to everyone sending very caring messages, especially about the situation with the Australian border controls.

Let me share this photo with you – 38th floor (AirBnB) £14 per night apartment – The most sensational value for money!

The Iconic Petronas Towers

My day was about getting here, trying to get updates on the current situation in Australia with the border. Very difficult on a bus I will know more tonight.

So alarm goes off at six am, have to admit having a little bit of a fuzzy head. Hovering precariously close now to going over on the £0.21p per mile spend limit, so I perhaps need to cut back a little to get in line. The cotton wool inside my mind is starting to rattle, and my mouth feels like something French has slept in it. The shower feels great, piping cold. Never mind, it freshens me up ready for the day ahead. There are many things that are great about back packing, but one of the downsides is the constant bag packing. I have tried a system of keeping certain clothing items in different bags, then packing in order, but it somehow ends up going to pot, and having to empty everything then re-pack the same. One last look around the room and the splendid morning vista over the bay of Penang, then away down for breakfast. Because it is often included with the room rate, I find myself really taking advantage to save later on. This morning at 06:35am I had my first spoonful of chicken curry. Not the normal fare for morning consumption, but hey-ho, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Checking out was a bit of a mish-mash because there are now Malaysian tax implications with all city stays. While they are working it out (and it really is only pence) I afford myself a little discreet private burp after the curry breakfast. Quite a nice feeling really, to have a secondary currified sensation, as I approach 07:15 in the morning.

The free shuttle drops me at the bus station, which as I have become used to is not a conventional bus station, but a row of shops where the buses stop. I am there early, as is my habit, to idly observe folk going about their daily lives. Because it is a Sunday there is marginally less traffic, but for most people here, the day name is of no consequence. By the time my bus comes I have had a chance to befriend the guy in the bus agency office. He tells me that his name is ‘Bingo’ (that’s lucky, I thought) and that my bus would be early this morning. Because I booked on line there was only a number, rather than a tangible ticket. So I asked Bingo if he would mind printing me one off for something for me to show the driver. He looked at me as though I had eaten a balloon. Said nothing, pressed a button on his machine and a scroll of indistinct paper churned upwards like a credit card terminal. He wrote on the spewed paper, passing it over to me. Upon inspection I read, “This is a ticket, okay.” No other printing, identification, authorisation, nothing. I looked blankly at the new ticket, then equally blankly back at Bingo. He offered, “The driver me brother, okay?”

I replied, “Well as long as there is a system in place…”

My six hour, twenty two stops, (okay an exaggeration – but is warrantied as an emphasis to highlight a point) journey to Kuala Lumpur was a delight. The road, and it seemed like one road, rather than one road at a time, was cut through dense tropical jungle. It was so green. The vegetation so thick, that who knows what could’ve, should’ve, would’ve lived there, in perfect harmony with anything else that, well... could’ve, should’ve, would’ve lived there. The bus often laboured up the steeper climbs, because the undulating limestone topography leant itself to a caravan of donkeys at times.

Then the buildings became more numerous as we built up to the big K.L. Everywhere looked so clean. The high rises, mostly in the burbs were living accommodation, but they were all so pristine looking. It was as though some local ordinance made them whitewash the outer walls once a month. The bus dropped us at ‘Sentral’ which I presumed was a disgraceful misspelling of Central – what is the world coming to? A few steps later, I found myself in a wonderfully modern shopping arena, with train station attached. It was so cool it felt like a capsule would appear out of nowhere to transport me to an appropriate conveyance. I quickly learnt, by talking to another human (Malaysian information officer no less, uniform, the lot!) that I was to take the monorail, (whoooooooo) yes you heard me, the monorail to its terminus. It terminated at a place that I thought was a made up name until I saw it on so many rail maps. Here we go, let's get this over with so that the children among you can all giggle. ‘TITIWANGSA’ Yes I went to Titiwangsa on the monorail. Speaking to a very pleasant Geordie lad for a good few stops who advised me to download the ‘GRAB’ app for all local cabs and food deliveries etc. He said, “Wai aye they’re great mon, an canna cheep an all.” So I did and they are! About half the normal fare and the app is incredibly accurate. They are not actual taxis but unmarked cars, where people earn an unlicensed living from driving unlicensed, uncaring citizens around. System works well as long as you don’t give a monkeys eyelid about insurance.

This is my first time using Airbnb. Another modern cheap alternative to beat the door down of the large hotel chains. First experience – grand! Self-contained flatlet on the 38th floor with views to die for. It contains, microwave, fridge, freezer, washing machine, lovely wet room, TV with digi-box. V. modern, V. cheap, V. comfortable. (notice the abbreviation, just for the younger readers. For the readers over fourteen, V means very. So happy to sort that one out for you older ones) - I keep going into David Mitchell.

The latest from the Australian Government website state that it will refuse entry to anyone that has transited through China from the 1st of Feb. My transit through China will have been thirty one days before I enter Oz. I am well past the incubation period by now, in fact I am no longer an egg!

Who knows, I will press on until somebody says ‘Nada, no go loco.’

Position: 03°10'14” N 101°42'44”E – Miles completed: 11714

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 23:42 - 2nd February 2020 - Journey 38 days 22 hours

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