Saturday, September 20, 2008

TBA Day 8: Being a Tourist

(Written Day 8 but posted the next morning since I was too tired to mess with pictures that night)

Still suffering from RTS (Reverse Tapeworm Syndrome), I knew I (tragically) wasn’t up for any culinary adventures today and I decided to go ahead and get the tourist thing out of the way…

Part of the reason I chose this hostel was that their web page mentioned they have a tours desk. So, I asked at the desk last night if there were any tour thingys to just basically see the city, given that I couldn’t walk very far. The guy consulted with his colleague in a language I don’t speak (at one point turning to me to clarify “You can’t even walk 2km?”) and they told me the only option if I really couldn’t walk was to take cabs everywhere. OK… So this morning I started looking into the public transit system and it looked like that might be a workable way to see the city (I have an aversion to taking cabs, which I know Stanley is rolling his eyes about as he reads this story). I set out towards the nearest lightrail station, but the terrain in KL is not nearly so flat as that in my beloved Singapore so this was looking like a bad idea. Just as I was about to give in and call a cab, a brightly colored double-decker bus with a web address listed on the side went rushing by. I went back to my room to check it out online, and it turns out it’s a tourist bus that stops at pretty much every major attraction in the city and you can hop on and off for 24 hours after buying your ticket (almost like exactly what I was asking the guy at the tours desk for!).

The map on the web page was a bit too qualitative (lots of cartoons, no cross-streets) to tell where the pick-up points were, but it appeared there was one in my neighborhood. I went to the front desk and asked the woman there about the pick-up point for the KL Hop On Hop Off shuttle. She instead showed me on a map all the places I should go and then said I should really just walk. I explained that I couldn’t and she, too, seemed perplexed that even a mere 2km (over massively hilly roads, I might add) was too far for me but finally pointed me to the stop, which turned out to be about 30 feet from the hostel’s front door. The shuttle was US$12, which is fairly pricey by backpacker-in-Malaysia standards, but it turned out to be a really nice comfortable way to see the city. I only stopped at 3 places, but I also got an idea of other places I’ll go back and hit on my own (perhaps via a dreaded taxi ride).

So, I went to the Petronas Twin Towers (which are really quite lovely),
I went to KL Tower and up to the observation deck,
and I went to the bird park, which is apparently the largest covered bird park in the world. There was a bird show, which I’m used to seeing birds of prey in, but this was a bunch of trained macaws and stuff and it was pretty adorable (although my favorite bird was still the eagle that flew past like 6 inches above my head). I also loved the Palm Cockatoos, which look so awesomely cranky. Good times…
That’s about it for an uneventful but oddly tiring Day 8. Not sure what the heck is wrong with me and this RTS situation, but hopefully I’ll be ready to find (and be hungry enough to consume) some delicious food tomorrow. So far I’m not really feeling KL, but it’s probably not fair to judge before trying the food… Still, as far as first impressions go, this doesn’t really feel like my kind of town… but hopefully I’ll find out in the next couple days that my first impression was wrong.

1 comment:

Stanley said...

...(aggressively rolling my eyes about the cab thing)...

Can't wait to join you, pal.