Definitely a travel week this week, although we’ve only slept in two cities. London and Kuala Lumpur have both treated us pretty well, though.
20/9 Monday There wasn’t much to Monday apart from travel. We caught a local bus from East Kilbride to Glasgow (75 minutes), a coach to London (9 hours) and three trains to Chertsey (90 minutes). At least the coach had wifi so I used that for a couple of hours, but otherwise there was a lot of looking out the window.
21/9 Tuesday Today had everything – we got up a bit late and Craig started his day with work and I spoke with a couple of my Spanish-speaking friends on Skype. We ran out the door in a rush at 3pm in order to get into London by four to meet Dave Dean for too many drinks by the Thames. After that we met up with Kyle, a friend from school who we realised we hadn’t seen for three and a half years – but everything was still the same; it’s nice to hang out with old friends. We parted early but the train connections meant we got home late.
22/9 Wednesday It was a day of getting things done, so we stayed in and worked most of the day, with just a short jaunt into Chertsey town to be astonished at postal prices and to buy some groceries. Kev cooked dinner and we hung around with Gail watching TV before heading to bed – it was nice to actually see them before we headed off again!
23/9 Thursday Sleeping in meant the day was shorter, but we still managed to get a bit of work done before leaving at a run to catch the train towards London. All connections went smoothly though, and we didn’t have any problems getting on our Air Asia X flight to Kuala Lumpur – I was a little apprehensive since it’s a budget carrier and we booked our tickets almost a year ago, but my fears were completely unfounded. The flight was as okay as a 13-hour flight can be, except for the whiny Australian kids in the seat behind us — that was pretty unpleasant.
24/9 Friday Because of the time zone change, we spent almost all day in the air, landing at 5pm local time. Getting into town was simple but time-consuming (another 75-minute coach ride), and getting to our hostel was pretty easy too – Kuala Lumpur has a really good network of local trains and a monorail.
The hostel wasn’t great though – the “two-bed dorm” we’d booked thinking we’d get a bit of privacy was basically a bunk bed partitioned off from ten others by a flimsy wall. They were obviously trying to make use of a large empty space on the mezzanine, but it would have been better described as a 20-bed dorm with curtains. Only one toilet for everyone, too.
At least the location was excellent, right in the middle of Chinatown. This meant finding a tasty dinner of noodles and satay skewers was really easy.
In the afternoon we explored the Chinatown markets and had plans to go to a museum, but the torrential rain meant we didn’t want to spend too much time outside finding said museum. So we headed to Central Market, where we bought a few souvenirs and had a fish foot spa – that’s right, we put our feet into a pool of hungry fish and they ate off the dead skin. It was awesome. Definitely ticklish, but awesome.
We ended the day with a dinner out and a quick game of Settlers of Catan.
26/9 Sunday I couldn’t get to sleep on Saturday night so Sunday morning was a write-off for me. We packed up and sat in the hostel lounge, Craig frantically working, me chatting and trying to achieve small goals like: text Marisa. Marisa’s our new couchsurfing host, we’re staying with her in the centre of town until we leave on Wednesday.
After we arrived at her house at about 4pm, her friend Liu turned up with Marisa’s other couchsurfer Matieu. They’d brought snacks – pineapple, dragonfruit, and a weird gelatinous black snack that I don’t think I’ll be trying again any time soon. None of us had had lunch, so we ate in a great Indian restaurant near Marisa’s apartment, then started the mission to the drum circle.
Marisa had read about the Tugu Drum Circle in Lonely Planet – it’s a group of people who meet every Sunday to play percussion. The regular members had African drums, and Paul the facilitator had brought a bag of small musical instruments for others to play. We watched (and danced) for awhile, and then got a bit more involved – Paul gave Marisa and me a really good basic lesson on drumming. Almost everyone else had left by this point, and Paul invited us to eat with him, Wong, and Balan – the only members still around. So they drove us to a nice restaurant where we were joined by Susan (Balan’s wife), and sat around talking and eating for an hour or so.