GOOD MORNING VIETNAM
En-route, we arrive late at night in KL went smoothly, except for an hour delay in leaving Auckland, met and taken to hotel, nice place in the shopping centre precinct of this 2.5 mil city. Would you believe, 8 separate massive shopping centres surround this hotel like a “see if you can escape with your wallet boundary” around us. Late
start next morning and into a cab to the Petronas Twin Towers. Anne recalls our experience when we called in
here on a cruise about 10 years ago.
You can’t just rock up, buy a ticket and go on up. Oh, no, they seem to
always be sold out, yet there are few people around and nothing seems to be happing, so we buy one for 2 days
out and head off on foot. Find our way to the KL Tower. As we stare at the daunting climb a man on the other
side of road calls us over offering a free ride to top. Seems legit, there’s some form uniformed guard there too.
So we jump in the slightly depilated van. Its airconned, oh the bliss. Taken to the top, the tower turns out to be just one of the attractions at the tower, there’s pony rides, an aquarium,
F1 car display and a small zoo thing that uses its stock of 2 headed turtles to sell itself. Grotesque.
We decide to jump in the van again and head down.
At the bottom we approach a cabbie, get a price to take us to Little India. Get taken around the corner to an area with Indian street stalls only to find later we were conned on the cost and the destination.
Turns out the real Little India was in the opposite direction. Later that night trying to get back to our hotel, we are quoted 20,000 ringit to be taken there, jump in and basically get taken round the corner and up the road, bingo we are there. Other trips taking 4-5 times as long have been costing 10,000 ringit. Some of these buggers see you coming.
Gotta say that these 2 experiences aside the cabbies have been brilliant.
Thursday we’ve booked Raja and his trusty old Proton to take us a 1hour ride to Port Klang so we can get a ferry to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island). Clanging along the motorway Raja going like the clappers, as we get close he says Hey Boss, just going to get some directions. Hell we think don’t tell us our new mate Raja is lost. Anyway we get there, he helps us buy the tickets for the ferry. Shortly an interesting tub that looks like a cross between a river narrow boat an extended fizz boat. Typically Asian, something of a beat up,repaired, patched up on water people mover. 45 mins later we arrive at Crab Island. What a place. Really a mudflat in the middle of the ocean that became a fishing village some 500 years ago. A real sad place in some ways. All the town’s homes, temples, public square, shops etc are on concrete platforms on piles all over the sea. At low tide the whole place is above water, the mudflat is covered with rubbish and trash of all sorts. We had lunch, steamed crabs of ourse, at a local restaurant. What a mess. Spent some time talking to owner. She was born and spent her whole life on the island. Now married has 2 kids at school there. Population living on this platform is about 6,000. Back to the pier, into the tub and back to Port Klang where our driver Raja waits. Ok Boss, into car and a million miles
an hour along the motorway ducking and diving across lanes, between cars, trucks, motorbikes etc to KL. So that’s pretty much KL for us, but before we leave , we have to return to Twin Towers for the tour we booked a couple of days ago. Didn’t mention you often have to write you age down around here.
Turns out senior citizens get discounts usually 50%.
We got that for the TTs and for a buffet lunch just to mention a couple.
Picked up the next morning by same driver we had on arrival. On way to airport got talking. This poor bugger claims he had built up a transport business, some 200 buses, trucks and taxis only to have the government confiscate the lot 6 years ago. Lost all, including family, now getting going again, driving and a couple of little enterprises on the side. A real entrepreneur.
We board for Saigon.