Saturday, 26 August 2006

6.30am, Kuala Lumpur, not what I planned

Came down from the Perhentians tonight on the overnight sleeper train, which was all well and good. Malaysian travel is a bit hectic at the moment as the school holiday is in full swing and it's coming up to independce day as well: at first it looked like I wasn't going to be able to get a ticket for the train which left flying at four times the cost as my other option given that I've sworn off overnight bus journeys on the grounds that being cramped into a seat, depreived of sleep and toilet facilities and winding in in coach stations (never the most salubroius of places) at odd hours in the morning just doesn't do it for me any more. Getting old I guess.

Tempted as I was by the flight, a 40 minute hop, it is, when all is said and done, unecessary and something to be avoided if there is a viable alternative. And, lets face it, there's the romance of sleeper trains you know? Country speeding by, getting lulled to sleep by the rock of the train to arrive at your destination in time for coffee, the English language paper of your choice and a light breakfast before sallying forth to face the day in a new place.

So train it was! After I booked the ticket complications began to arise though. First up, I had to pick up my ticket 2 hours before the train left otherwise the reservation was automatically cancelled. OK, fair enough, but the only way to make sure I made it was to catch a 12 o'clock ferry which allowed my to get a great morning dive in but then left me hanging around Tanah Merah station for about four hours: not the most inspiring of places, a one track station on the edge of a light industrial town with nothing to do except admire the smell of the durians being cut up in the "cafe". Unfortunately it's in Kelantan which is a "dry" state so grabbing a beer was not an option.

No worries, I'd done a book swap for a Dan Brown book, Digital Fortress. To go OT here, if this book is representitive Dan Brown (author of the Da Vinci Code) is a one dimensional hack of a writer displaying a grasp on the world outside of middle class america on a par with 3 year old. Seriously, I was laughing out load at the hackneyed sterotypes and telegraphing of the plot. Punks, fat German tourists, spanish whores, hell, even spanish toilets all got the view from America. Lets just say it passed the time.

The train arrived on time, 19.27, which boded well. It was due to arrive in KL at 8am which was perfect from my perspective, time to get a lesuriely breakfast and find a hotel as the guests are checking out. I drifted off easily enough in my cot with the help of a couple of ear plugs (children, gawd bless 'em), only to be woken at 1am. A train had derailled ahead of us and we were being putting on coahces for the 3 to 4 hour road trip to KL. Fucking fantastic: so I pitched up at KL, nowhere to stay organised at 5.15am after having spent a half sleepless night.

Oh well, managed to find a hostel that had 24 hour reception (sometimes the Lonely Planet does come through for you), grabbed a taxi and at least got a couch to sit on for a bit, being as how they were full. Couple of people checked out a little while ago although I'm waiting for them to clean their room (hint: I don't fucking care, even if they've been eating durians in there). Currently sitting the 24hr internet place downstairs from my hostel, killing some time. USB connector for the camera, and, come to think of it, the camera itself are still upstairs so I won't be posting any photo's this time round but at RM4 an hour I'll get round to it in the next couple of days!


Blogger Tumbleweed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:44 am  
Blogger Tumbleweed said...

Your'e right. Dan Brown is absolute bollox.

12:46 am  
Blogger jonron said...

man Bill thats a cool post and so accurate on the Dan Brown coment.

9:51 pm  

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