Friday, May 28, 1999

Will I ever make it to Kuala Lumpur?

Johor Bahru, Malaysia
It's 1:11 am Thursday morning. It's quite late and the same people have been sitting around since I got to the bus station. Some guys were playing takraw, a game that's like hackey-sack with a wicker ball. Just as I'm about to write more about how time is passing, the bus comes and everyone jumps into line. The bus number is the license plate. It's Super-VIP seating, which is to say sleeper chairs. Once the bus starts moving, I'm going to me out like a light.

The guys waiting for their bus are still playing takraw. I almost tried to join, but was just too tired. My ticket was taken at 1:24 am. A girl's family asked me to switch seats with her, and my new seat partner asked if I was comfortable. It's quite air-conditioned on board. There's some soothing Arabian
sounding music on the radio.

Regaining consciousness at 6:45 am, I watch as we pass by the Kuala Lumpur Airport. Moments later I was in the bus station securing my ticket to Malacca tomorrow morning. Walked up to the KL City Center, which I believe is touted as being the tallest building in the world. Apparently, one of the twin towers was build by a Japanese firm, the other by a Korean firm. From there, it's down Jalan Sultan Ismail, past the Hard Rock Café. Just like the one in Bangkok, I arrived before the hours of operation. It's 8:38 am, I'm sitting in the Delifrance eating a continental breakfast and listening to "Only You". I went back to the Hard Rock to get something for my friend Sandia. I walked back to the Central KL area, with a rest stop in Mendaka Square.







I was proceeding to walk to the Central Market when a guy approached me, we talked about the USA over some Coca-cola, then he asked if I would talk to his uncle about the US. The uncle is a casino guy that is supposedly going to Las Vegas to work. Anyways, we got in a cab, went out into the suburban area, talked some more (the old man offered to take me to the casino and show me how to win every hand. I declined--he seemed shocked that I wasn't interested in a sure thing.) Very shortly after that, they called a cab and took me back to where I started. I walked over to the Backpacker's Travellers Lodge and bought a room for the night. Went back up to the Central Market around 1:30 pm and found a wooden horse carving for my trinket collection. They didn't have any monkeys that looked good enough to display with my other carvings, and since the region was once a warring nation, I figured a horse, while not native, was culturally significant.

From the market, I made my way over to the Post Office, dropped off some postcards and headed south. The train station had that oh-so-cool Moorish look. Walked over to the Lake Gardens, where I watched about 5 kids be afraid of the park ranger's horse. It's a very scenic park. I kept walking until I found myself (if only it were that easy) back at the Central Market. Lunch was biryani at Restoran Yusoof. On my way back down Petaling, I saw a pirated Phantom Menace VCD (The movie was released in the States May 19th, 1999). So I watched it at 9pm at the hotel with a bunch of Irishmen. It wasn't a bad copy, but the ET's were cut out of the "Vote of No Confidence" scene. I went to bed around midnight.

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