July 11, 2008

Malaysia: July 1st - Tokyo to KL

It was up bright and early this morning to make the final preparations before leaving to catch the Narita Express. It was a typical rainy season morning ~ hot, humid and overcast, but not actually raining. Everything went smoothly at Narita and the seven hour flight departed at 10:30. It was a fairly bumpy ride all the way, and the discomfort was compounded by the guy in front who was constantly fidgeting in his seat meaning that watching the video screen was near on impossible and his seat back was sometimes banging on my knees. A true case of l'enfer, c'est les autres.

It was about 5pm by the time I'd cleared customs and immigration at Kuala Lumpur, and it was then a case of catching the KLIA Express into KL Sentral, and then changing on to the monorail to Bukit Bintang. KL isn't the best city in the world to drag a suitcase around, and it took around ten minutes, negotiating stairs, slopes, high kerbs and bumpy pavements before arriving at the Hotel Alpha Genesis ~ set back a little from the main drag. The room was spacious and clean, though a little further from the main street than I hoped.

Spent a little time freshening up before wandering around the Bukit Bintang area a bit and then heading to Jln Alor, packed with its Chinese street stall restaurants. There were so many places touting their food, that it was difficult to choose, but I eventually opted for a busy-looking place. I sampled lemon chicken, black pepper beef and some fried rice ~ all of which was delicious. The only problem with these street stalls is that unless you're dining in groups of four or more, even the small portions are too much, though of course I did my best.

It didn't take long to adjust to being back in South East Asia, with the assault on the senses being very different to what you experience in Japan. There is the humidity that clings to to you like a hot damp blanket, and then the smells ~ delicious aromas from the food stalls, mixing with the less savoury odours of durian fruit and drains~ and finally the sights ~ the different architecture and the creeping black mould on the outside of older buildings that is almost impossible to defeat because of the climate.

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