My long layover in KL

As mentioned in the last post, I arrived for my ~30 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur with a freshly cut toe, and the airport didn't have the warmest welcome, to say the least. We had to walk for miles, outside an entire terminal, to get to customs, then another fair piece around again to our baggage claim. Also, squat toilets. In the international airport! (Well, or what I thought was the int'l airport, but more on that in a bit.). After purchasing my very expensive cab ride into town, 75k away (!!), I schlepped again for awhile before finally getting to plop in a cab. None of these walks would've been an issue, but add heat, humidity, and my new limp and I was severely wishing I'd just taken the flight on to Sydney that night. After my day in KL, which everyone calls it, I'm not 100% positive I shouldn't have done that still, but it was cool to at least check out the city.

After some work, my cabbie did find my guesthouse, which was wonderful. Set back in an alley in a fun area, with a lovely courtyard & an awesome room. The best bed I think I had while in Asia, period. Cool partially out-door shower, AND they showed the BAFTA's in the morning. Hooray! So, the guesthouse was right around the corner from one of the big food streets in KL- Jalan Aloor. Most all of these are themed according to their neighborhood, but this one was mostly Malay & Chinese. Since it was Chinese New Year, it was also all decorated up, and there were fireworks going off around the city all night long. Really fun, crazy street, full of people & different smells. I wanted something cheap & somewhat authentic, but ended up with a strange chicken dish. I wish I'd seen the hot-pot skewers of stuff first! And Nat, look at all the durian! It was everywhere. They love it there- blah.

That next day, I had to try to cram whatever I could into pre-dinner activities, so naturally I stayed in late, and then moseyed over to a mall for lunch. Yes, I had a very lovely western meal in a mall. I think I was ready to leave Asia! It was seriously fab though, and the table of two cute expat families next to me made me think that it would be a cool place to live, probably. I should also note that I'd ended up in the shopping district, so I should be forgiven for my lunch location! After lunch, I followed the meandering skywalk through the business district to find the Patronas Towers. Well, remember how it was Chinese New Year? Well, it was also a Monday, so not only was the observation deck of the towers closed (always on Monday), but every tourist possible was packed into the mall & aquarium in the bottom of the towers. Oof. The park outside was nice, but it was mega hot, so time to cab to a tower I made sure I could climb! The Menara KL tower is actually higher than the towers, but Asa communication tower it doesn't really count, though it's something like the 4th or 5th highest com-tower in the world, so still pretty cool. They know this though, so it's an expensive tourist trap, which isn't even close really to public transport options. So, yes- cool views over the whole city, but at about $10, perhaps not worth it. Also expensive, but worth it for the comfort & ease, a taxi back down to the center of the city where I saw cool buildings, and also found the KL city info center. Why my guide book did t send me there first, I have no clue! It was a great little free info place & museum, complete with a lighted-up model of the city. Super neat! I also got a very helpful map with walking tours & clear explanations, so off I went to check out the famed Chinatown. It was cool enough, with really cool historic buildings, bit it was also just a bunch of streets filled with stalls of the same bags & trinkets. I DID find the much desired season three of Downton Abbey for super cheap, but I was just accidentally spoiled to the tragedy, so I'm a bit ruined. Running on fumes, with my toe starting to hurt more & more, I made my way home on the public transport, and elected to while away my last couple of hours at a bar with excellent happy hour specials, free wifi, and a pizza.

KL is a cool city, with a great mix of history & modernity, but I was tired & ready to get to a place with a bit more familiarity. So off I headed to to the international airport, via the carefully researched & cheap express train. I got there and though that it looked awfully more modern & nice than the day before. Lo & behold, I never bothered to check my ticket, and didn't realize that ALL AirAsia flights arrive AND depart from something called the "Low Cost Carrier Terminal". This is not just the neighboring terminal, but in fact an entirely different airport about 15-20 minutes away. OOOPS. And I had about $15 worth of Malay money cash on me, and just over 2 hours before my flight. (For once in my life I wasn't incredibly late for a flight!). As I hurried over to the taxi stand, a nice man offered up a taxi, which I said I needed, but I only had $15. He said fine, and motioned for me to follow him. We headed in the opposite direction, and I started getting nervous. "Oh, you aren't an official taxi- that ok?" I ask. Fine, fine, no problem. Ummm. Everything I've ever learned about traveling said to walk away, especially when we got to his car which WAS NOT a taxi. But, for whatever reason, I chose to trust him, and hopped in. When we didn't follow the first sign to the LCC terminal, I just about freaked out, but he insisted we were taking a short cut, and sure enough, I started seeing the signs again, and after about 15 mins we arrived. He was really nice, has a brother in Texas somewhere, and I think just wanted to do something nice for a stressed out foreigner. Whatever the case, I arrived safely & in plenty of time for my flight, so, no harm done. However, it DOES explain the relatively craptacular airport the AirAsia uses, as it's also a cargo airport. ALSO, AirAsia doesn't even provide you with free water on a 9 hour overnight flight. Ugh. I had to beg a free cup to take my Advil & ambien just so I could sleep the time away until Sydney! But, whatever- I was on my way!!!