A day later..only one day and so much has happened. Thinking back to yesterday, feels like days ago. But all is well, I arrived safe and sound and I now find myself sitting in a hostel, smack bang in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, in the area most commonly known to the westerners as tourist central. It's called Bukit Bintang, and it's also near where I stayed 2 whole years ago, when I first visited Malaysia.
Yesterday was so cool though.. Why? Because I was suddenly apart of the real traveling world again. I was meeting people from the word "go" and was, and still am, loving every minute. When we finally got flying, as the flight was delayed by an hour and it then turned-out to be an 8 hour journey..instead of the 6 hours I thought it was going to be (silly me forgot to take the 3 hour time-difference into account), I didn't want the flight to end. Yes, of course I was excited to get to Malaysia but I was so comfortable on that flight that the thoughts of having to "throw" myself out into this big city and figure out how to get to the hostel and sort out my money and arrange my mobile phone and be on-the-ball and alert at all times.. all felt like so much effort, as I sat on the plane totally chilled and relaxed and reading my book.. But then when we landed, I just went with the flow, as I didn't have much choice..haha, and soon everything started happening.
I stepped off the plane the air was so hot and sticky. It was like walking into a room where the heating had been on forever and that hadn't had the slightest breeze or chilly wind..ever. Muggy is the word, and with that muggyness, there was rain. It was beautiful! I was instantly heated and refreshed by the rain, all at the same time! Most people would probably hate that kind of muggyness, but the aircon on the plane had felt really awful and cold, and seeing as though I feel the cold so easily, this heat was so very welcome. Being at the airport, which was tiny by the way, and chaotic, turned-out to be nothing but stress-free. Even though I hadn't a clue how to get to the city centre and I didn't know where my hostel was (that was a little booboo on my part.. I thought I had the directions from the airport to the hostel, but in my haste, as I was booking the hostel online back in Adelaide, I printed the wrong ones..oops!!). It was all pretty straight forward and the Malaysians hanging around the airport, offering to sell bustickets or taxirides, made it so easy.. They were the registered taxi's and coachservices ofcourse!! I hoped on a bus and sat and waited to get going. The only westerner on the coach, but I was feeling so confident and at ease. It felt so normal being here, that I wasn't even worried about what I was going to do once I got to the Central Station in KL. It was an hour and a half on the bus and I actually slept most of the way.. That's how at ease I felt, in this crazy and insane city.
Arriving at the station, the first thing that happens when you get off the coach: you are bombarded by taxi drivers wanting to offer you a ride. But I shrugged them all off and had stubborn thoughts of trying to find this hostel all by myself. But those thoughts soon went out the window, or were washed away by the rain, as I set foot outside the station and didn't have a clue in what direction I was heading (I thought I might have been able to recognize some streets or something from my last visit..but KL being KL.. every street name sounds the same and every street looks the same and it was dark too, which didn't make matters easier!). So I jumped in a taxi, gave him the address, paid all of 3 dollars, and 15in later I was the Pujangga Homestay!!
I was where I had set out to be!! It took next to no effort at all and the hostel was so nice!! Within 5 minutes I had even made myself a wee Irish friend, Aine, who had just arrived that day too in KL, after having been in Cambodia for a month. We hit it off instantly.. and have been hanging out ever since (sounds like we've been friends for ages..haha). It was nearly midnight by this stage, but on my normal bodyclock, it was 03.30 am, I had been awake nearly 24 hours and feeling so tired. I went out about for a very short spell, to try and make some phonecalls, and I felt amazing, even though I was wrecked. I didn't phase walking around the streets of KL at night on my own. I didn't know exactly where I was, so I didn't venture very far, for fear of getting lost, which happens so easily in this place. But everything about this place, made me feel so great. There was no culture shock.. Nothing of the kind. It felt natural, normal and like I almost belonged here, for now. The hostel felt instantly familiar, as did the people.. I didn't get to sleep until around 1am, because I was back sleeping in a dorm with 6 others and there was lots of activity.. But not to worry..
So today I was out and about, hanging out with some girls from the hostel, a thai girl named Nana, and Aine. I was loving it.. The weather, the muggyness, the streets with all there mini stalls, full of food and yummiesness and a hype of activity everywhere I looked, it was so cool! The stares and the remarks from the locals was something I had expected, so I ignored them all. The smells on the street, some of them pretty stomach-turning, brought back so many memories from when I was here last. I had a little bit of a run-in with some not so nice people the last time I was here, which made me want to get out of this city asap, but today as I was walking down the same street where my little bit of misfortune had come my way, 2 years ago, all the memories came back, but it wasn't bad.. It was all good and I was glad to have returned.
I spent the day exploring China town, the markets, some temples, until I was so tired that I hopped on the monorail (which is a train the rides the same route back and forth, above the city, giving a great picture of everything-all the temples, mosques, highrise buildings alongside the dirty "slums" almost and derelict "houses". I sat as it the monorail rode back and forth, the same route, for a while, resting the legs and watching the Malaysian people going about their daily lives.. How much fun was I having!
All in the space of 24 hours.. So, now I sit in the hostel, and will be going out to the Chinese stalls, just around the corner for some Malaysian yumminess and maybe a beer.. huummm..