Thursday, April 12, 2012

Malaysian Adventures: Part 1

So the Malaysian adventure has been and gone now, sigh, and it's back to life, back to reality. I had a great time, sickness excluded, one pushing the envelope experience, and found a lovely city that I'd love to visit again. If you're not interested in travel story's, stop reading now.

It's been over 20 years since my last visit, and much much more since I lived there. It is a stunning city, but very quickly came to feel like just a generic international city. I was hugely impressed with the metro. So clean, so efficient, and the masses and masses of stainless steel, granite and glass an indication of the affluence of this country. The no litter policy is so ingrained in the national psyche that there are no litter bins in the stations, because there is no litter. If you purchase a one trip ticket, you then take it back to a machine and get a $1.00 refund, very cool. 

We spent the first day wandering around Chinatown and visiting an old shopping mall from my youth, then, after the first in a continuing series of massages, we headed down towards the CBD for a wander. 

That night we ended up in Little India, where we had the first of another series, this time yukky food. The only saving grace was these, which I got quite fond of over the journey.

The next day after lunch with old friends and a bit more wandering round we decided to go to Orchard Road. I had been avoiding it, but the German Goddess was interested in finding a particular pair of D & G jeans, so off we went to visit the mecca of consumerism.

The metro drops you at level B4. After more than an hour of navigating a strangely laid out weirdly shaped shopping complex, we finally saw daylight and had found street level. By this stage we were tiring of the masses so decided to ignore the temples of consumerism and just wander and find a place to have a drink. It started to rain as we walked, so we did enter a mall to find a bar. Fortunately I looked at the prices before ordering. We had been paying $5 for a 640ml beer, this Orchard Road bar wanted $12 for a 330 ml. I said sod that, so we jumped back on the metro, popped up at Peoples Park again and consumed our usuals shown above. We also purchased three pairs of shoes while there, a very good beer stop!

The next day we checked out and started the Borneo adventure.

Miri is a moderate size town in northern Sarawak, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo.  We ended up there as an access point to Mulu National Park. Miri has a very large number of foot reflexology and massage shops. That is about all it has. It was interesting though to experience the contrast between highly sanitised Singapore and this town, and I did have an enjoyable feast of crabs the first night. We also had foot massages which was a first. 

After wandering around the "downtown" area we decided to visit a park we'd seen on the drive in so caught a bus out there, a slight contrast the shiny stainless steel of Singapore.

We got to the park to find we were the only people there, it was Very Odd. We wandered around briefly, but after walking the swing bridge there was not a lot to see or do, so it was off to find a bus back to town. I think the entire park visit lasted seven minutes.

The next place we wanted to see was Taman Selara, a beach where the Rough Guide had said was a "nice place to watch the sunset, have a beer and sample hawker food". Maybe we should have read the travel wiki instead where it says Miri beaches are nothing to shout about. Agreed. It was so ick that the only pictures I took were of crab patterns in the sand. 

That night we had another in the series of awful food, so the day ended up as the visiting the park that wasn't, and the beach that wasn't, followed by the dinner that wasn't. Sigh

The next morning we packed up and headed off to go visit the critters and caves in the rainforest, which will be coming up in part two.


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