I spent a day in Kuala Lumpur on the way to Adelaide.
A simple statement with a bunch of feelings behind it.
When the ticket to Adelaide was booked, there were a couple of niggling factors. One was, the flight started at Cochin, a few hours from Coimbatore. Then there was a 15 hour break at Kuala Lumpur. The ticket price I thought overrode the nuisance value.
But still, I was dismayed thinking of the 15 hours at KL airport. How was I going to spend the time? Encouraged by my daughters, I got a visa for the day. Later, I started getting cold feet. How would I manage? What would I do? What if I got lost, got cheated. The overriding fear I realised, was the thought, what if I don’t get back to the airport on time.
Slowly, things started getting clearer. The travel agent got me a room at the airport. Since it was free, it was bound to be a basic room but at least,a base . I read a couple of websites about the attractions of KL. Only two, the Petronas Towers and the Batu Caves seemed to be a must. I got advice from a cousin who travels often to KL on buses and trains from the airport.
Still there was a lot of tension inside. How was I going to manage by myself in a strange airport, strange city? I told myself that it was okay if I never left the room at all. If I went out and never made it to any of the right places, it was okay. Just going out and back would be an achievement.
Packing, weighing choices on stuff to be included,making arrangements to travel to Kochi and then the actual waiting at the airport for several hours to catch a midnight flight was draining. I didn’t think I was going to feel good after a few hours sleep .
Next morning at KL airport, there wasn’t much difficulty in finding the hotel. The hotel was right there in the airport, and had little electric cars to take one there. The lobby was swanky with a courtyard and waterfall.The room was terrific. At some point in life, one has to spend some time alone in a luxurious room and truly savor it. I was loath to leave.
There is an express train from the airport to KL Sentral which is a hub for the train system. There are also buses which take longer but are cheaper. “Economy or faster, which do you choose? asked the lady at the counter. I chose the train. At KL Sentral I had to go to another area to get a train to Masjed Jamek. Getting off, I walked around the area. The guide maps said several important buildings were located around the place. I never found most of them. But I did find Central Market where I happily spent a couple of hours. For lunch, I headed where the school children gathered assuming it would be fast, good and cheap.
Everywhere I went in KL, I asked young people for directions and they were very helpful, even accompanying me to the spot or ticket counter. Only talk to Tamil people I had been advised. Be wary about pickpockets. But Chinese or Malay or Tamil, people were nice. And that I think contributed most to the feel of the city.
Back to KL Central and another train to KLCC to see the Petronas Towers. I did see them but couldn’t manage a ticket to go up. One placed ticked off. I wanted to see the Murugan at Batu caves so took a train there. This was a slow one. Murugan was huge, towering 140 feet above the ground. Next to him were steep steps to the old temple. Huffed upwards and marveled at the limestone caves.
The sanctum opened a few minutes after I got there which seemed rather meaningful. I had to give grateful thanks for the way the whole trip had unfolded magically well. Throwing my heart over in spite of fears had given me rich experiences and a feeling of adventure.
There was time to get back by bus to the airport, freshen up,have a meal and check in. A wonderful day.