Friday, October 15, 2004

Day one: in Kl

So here I am in KL. I initially wanted to write a last entry before I left Kuching but things were pretty hectic this week. As always, I am overwhelmed by KL on the first day. You never realize how much cleaner the air is back home until you arrive in KL and are confronted with all the smog, pollution and the craziness that comes with large cities.

For the first time ever, I took the bus from the airport to KL. I usually take the KLIA express but it's so expensive. So much for a cheap ticket to KL when you end up paying RM70 to and fro the airport! On a whim, I followed signs at the airport to the bus terminal. It was all very easy. Much to my delight, there was a special offer for passengers flying Air Asia - instead of paying RM25 one way to the city, Air Asia passengers get a RM10 discount off. Pretty good deal, paying only RM15 as opposed to the RM35 on KLIA express!

I was very lucky as when I paid for my ticket and enquired when was the next bus, I was told that the bus was leaving in about five minutes. So off to the bus I went and sat next to a woman (as an unspoken rule, I've always made sure that I am near women whenever I travel). As the bus pulled away from the airport, she offered me Japanese rice crackers which I gratefully accepted because I hadn't eaten anything all day - by then, it was already mid-afternoon. We started chatting and I found out that she was just returning from a trip to Phuket. She often goes to Phuket for holidays because she has a Thai friend there and also because KL wears her down. She told me that in the last couple of years, she's been a victim of crime FOUR times! In the last case, just a couple of months ago, she was threatened with a parang held by her throat.

With that said, I'm keeping a tighter grip to my belongings as I type this in some cyber cafe in Brickfields, and being very aware of my surroundings.

Ann, this woman I met on the bus, is such a chatty person. I told her about Bali and she was delighted that I was going on my own ("I must get your contact number so we could travel together sometime!"). We just chatted the 45 minutes away on the bus. We mostly talked about travelling - Ann has been to a lot of places through company trips. It was rather unexpected - I didn't really think that I would be making friends with a stranger already in KL. But it's something that I feel is fortuitous for my trip to Bali. I think I'm off to a good start!

I'm very pleased that in attempt to save money, I took the bus, and in doing so, I met a nice person. I doubt that I would have started talking to strangers on the KLIA express because everyone there always looks so busy and detached.

The bus had two stops and while the guy at the counter said that I should "get off at the hotel and take the free transfer to KL Sentral", Ann wasn't sure and said that the last stop had no public transportation around and that I might end up taking a taxi. Since the first stop was right in front of the LRT station, I thought I might as well take that instead. So I bid goodbye to Ann, and hopped on the STAR train. The one good thing about KL is that it's pretty easy to get around - all public trains are connected. I'm fairly familiar with the train system in KL so it was a breeze.

Since I didn't have much to eat all day, except for the rice crackers Ann kindly gave me, I decided to have Indian food. For the first time though, it was disappointing. The thosai was so greasy that I ended up just eating half of it. I think the key is having Indian food with my friend, Sheila. She knows what to order and to get it right. Although, I ended up in the same restaurant that she brought me to (not the one I had previously written about), so I'm not sure what went wrong. I think they overcharged me too because it was RM3 for a thosai and milo ais. Ah well.

So right now, I'm just killing time in a cybercafe, waiting for Sheila to finish work. I was in Times Square for a while but was so overwhelmed at the many choices that I decided to leave early. I also didn't want to be tempted by anything. I'm trying not to buy anything at all during my weekend here in KL. I'm already suspecting that I may have overpacked for my trip. I don't know - it's only half a backpack but it's still pretty heavy.

I'm really bummed that I had forgotten my computer cable for my camera - so I won't be uploading photos in Bali. The good thing about this, I figure, is that I would spend less time in cybercafes anyway. What's the point of travelling only to spend most of your time in front of the computer?

I've been reading up on Lombok on the plane and I think I would really like to try visiting the island. I'm still not sure what's going to happen once I reach Bali. Seriously, everything is up in the air. I have no room reservations whatsoever and while the plan all along was to go straight in Ubud, I'm not sure now if doing that wastes time. Kuta and the surrounding areas is much closer to the airport than Ubud, which is more inland. While I'm really not into the Kuta nightlife, I thought it'd be nice to see the beach and ocean first. Well, who knows what would happen. I guess this is the whole point of the trip. To go with the flow and not get to caught up with the planning.

Before you ask, I'm really not excited. I've felt calm all day, neither excitement nor nervousness. The thing is, it's just KL at the moment - for the weekend. The big adventure starts on Monday when I head off to Bali. It's going to be really nice however to meet up with new and old friends this weekend but overall, I feel pretty calm. And I think I'd take that right now as opposed to a wrack of nerves.

Oh thank goodness, this overfriendly man next to me has finally left. He kept talking to me and I was politely replying back but it's pretty annoying to have someone talk to you when you're obviously busy typing away. Actually, that was the conversation starter - my fast typing. He said that he "felt nervous sitting next to [me]". I think he read some bits of this entry too ("are you writing a book?").

I hope that I won't get alot of male attention in Bali (not that I'm insinuating that I'm a total hottie - I'm not! but I also acknowledge that as a single woman, I'm apt to get more attention from the annoying sex). It's actually pretty annoying and in a way, threatening as well. I'm all up to making friends with the local women but I just know that my guard would automatically go up when a guy starts getting friendly. I don't know, it's just me. Self-preservation and all.

Well, that's all for me for now. Looking forward to meeting my old friend, Sheila, in a couple of minutes and Joyce and Lets tomorrow. We're going to see a play, and after that, watch Shelley Leong perform live!


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Froot said...

I'm glad that you have a good start to your trip. Making friends with the strangers around you is always a high point to any trip. And don't be too bummed out about forgetting your camera cable. You can still blog and you won't spend as much time in cybercafes, which is good. Can't wait to meet up with you tomorrow!

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Dee M said...

I get you on the "male-attention" part,especially when they see you travel alone in the bus or well,seen alone.It's a good safety measure I think,a woman's instinct.Heh..I myself don't easily open up and talk to strangers (especially guys).And no,not a hottie but safety measures.

Have a great time.Things are slowly looking up for you I see.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger hyelbaine said...

Glad to hear that you got off to a good start in KL. Hope thing's will get better from this but they'll be those days where it isn't so good :P

Cheers!!! :D


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