We started the tour in KL City Gallery, where the guide told us about how KL came to be and evolved over the decades. We learned that KL didn't get plumbing until 1962--until then, there were still people paid to collect waste in buckets from homes and businesses. We learned about how the press evolved and paved the way for Malay independence, which was negotiated rather than fought.
|A model of the city, inside the gallery|
We went on to the Royal Selangor Club. Our guide noted that not just anything can call itself royal in Malaysia; it was an honor to be bestowed by a sultan. The club was private and didn't allow women or children inside. We were allowed around the edges by virtue of the tour.
|longest bar in Asia|
|View from the club|
From there, we headed to the Petronas Towers for our afternoon time slot.
A.: Fourteen minutes!? What is this, DC?
Alex: A.; Massages.
A.: Oh, I see, it's only four minutes.
We were back at the hotel in no time.
The next morning, we set off for Batu Caves, just north of the city. We'd planned to pick up samosas again around the train station (we metroed to KL Sentral, from which we'd catch the commuter train to the caves) but couldn't find any street vendors in the 20 minutes we had, so we settled for samosas 7-11. We're glad we got to the caves earlyish, though it was already kind of bananas and also hot.
We walked past some temples and tourist traps, including a Disneyish version of the caves apparently favored by tour groups, and past some chickens and monkeys, to got to the steps going up to Temple Cave.
We popped into the supermarket in the mall connected to our hotel, but there wasn't much souvenir shopping to be had--it catered to people who wanted western stuff. I even just wanted to have one last serving of amazing tropical fruit, preferably papaya. The papaya and pineapple throughout the trip, but especially at the rainforest lodge, were out of this world. In Sandakan, I wondered out loud why there were no vegetables or fruit in the supermarket when Alex pointed out that they were sold fresh at street stands. This was less the case in KL, but in any case, the street fruit sellers had called it a day and there was no papaya for me. I got just enough cash to get us to the airport hotel that night and the airport the next morning, or so I thought, and we headed up to the hotel lounge for a drink to celebrate the trip.
It ended up costing more to get to the airport hotel than it did to get out from the airport, but luckily we'd negotiated down the price ahead of time and ended up giving the driver everything we had (still a bit less than came up on the meter, but still probably a better fare for him than taking someone through the city). There wasn't an airport shuttle that worked with our flight, but we were able to charge an overpriced (by local standards) shuttle at the crack of dawn. We slept surprisingly well in the over-airconditioned hotel that was the least nice of any we'd stayed in, because we were exhausted. We made it to the airport in time for coffee and shopping, and said goodbye to Malaysia.