26.02.2013 - 01.03.2013 30 °C
We decided to take a breather from island life and spent 4 days getting our selves organised and stocking up on supplies in Kuala Lumpur. We had been to KL before and chose this city mainly because its the hub city for Air Asia so most of our flights will be coming in and out of KL. We booked a self catering apartment which was really great as after 8 weeks of street and restaurant food we were keen to have some home cooked meals!
We spent our time visiting markets and moseying around the shops and enjoying life back in the first world. We also visited the Bathu caves, something we had wanted to do on our last visit but never quite got there. The caves are an impressive Hindu shrine on the outskirts of the city. You have to climb a very long and steep staircase to reach them and along the way there are loads of monkeys waiting eyeing out what ever you have in your hands and generally just running amok!
Walking into the cave is like entering a huge natural cathedral with animals (monkeys/rats/chickens/bats) running freely and a number of shrines built into the rock. It was quiet when we visited with just the odd Hindu Poojary giving blessings to a few people but you can see that the site is geared to handle a crowd as the was crowd control barriers stacked up in the corner and the cave floor looked well trodden. We were happy we hadn't visited on a busy day as the humidity was close to 100% inside! I took the opportunity to get a blessing and a lucky charm bracelet from a Poojary - more of a tourist trap I'm sure but it gave me a chance to look a little closer at the shrine without feeling like I was gawking.
While in KL we also had our first 'scam' day! It started out with a chat from my brother Richard asking us if we had been scammed lately which was ironic as I said no - no scams that i can think of! As things turn out they took a downward spiral from there on. First we booked a flight to Borneo but somehow the system changed our dates from March to April, the flight was £13 but when we called to change it we were charged £40 for the change?!
We had booked a new hotel for the last night closer to the airport so we set out in a cab to find it and without us noticing the cab driver carefully slipped his hat over the meter and when we came to our destination proceeded to charge us triple the going rate! Well Greg had an absolute fit and managed to convince the guy to lower his rate (ie place the money on the seat and firmly said this is the price before walking away!)
We then arrived at our destination and spent about an hour looking for our hotel only to discover that the map was incorrect and the hotel was actually miles away for the station where we needed to be. We spent the next 2 hours trying to get refunded (luckily we did) and rebook another hotel. We then took another cab to the hotel and for ease of explanation told the cabbie to drop us at a more well known hotel a few streets and we would just walk the rest of the way. The cab driver took one look at the hotel and said - you are staying at this expensive hotel - you can pay more and tried to charge us an additional fare?! Assertive Greg stepped in and very clearly told her to go and jump in a lake and gave her the pre agreed rate.
After checking in the mirror just in case we has 'scam me please' written on our foreheads, we settled in to our new hotel for a short rest before our 4am flight to Cambodia the next day!