Last train to Singapore

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
1
53
132
Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slightly sad to leave KL, but at the same time looking forward to returning to Singapore where we have some good memories from our Honeymoon three years ago. Before we left KL though we dropped our bags off in Left Luggage (5 ringgit for the day) at KL Sentral station and made the most of our time.
All the guidebooks suggest the best way to get to the Museum/Planetarium/Gardens area we were headed is by Taxi. This is not the case. By walking through the back of the station and between the Meridian and Hilton hotels, a short walk (2-3 minutes) along the edge of a dual carriageway takes you directly to the National Museum and the entrance to Lake Gardens. Good helpful stuff there. A real travelblog.
We arrived outside the museum at about 11.30am but passed straight by, past some old steam engines on show and over a bridge crossing a motorway. This is Lake Gardens. Boiling hot and a little weak from not taking a proper breakfast - naughty us - we got into the nicely air conditioned planetarium and paid our entrance fee for looking around the exhibits. We couldn't afford to watch any of the shows as we were down to our last 18 quids worth of Ringgit and we had a whole day to survive.
The planetarium is everything you would expect. Childrens facts and ''touch and play' experiments to keep Kate busy and beautifully composed photos of the stars and anything universe to keep me happy. We walked around a photo exhibition celebrating 50 years of man in space (Yuri Gagarin - 1961) and another exhibition demonstrating some of the rooms on a space craft. All jolly and a very cheap thrill. Kept us busy for a while.
Back out into the heat, we wandered down to the Gardens and had a quick drink at a cafe (down to 16 pounds now). We plotted a route around the park to take in a sculpture garden, the national monument and a deer park and set off along our way (All free!). After a couple of hours of wanderings, the heat began to take it's toll a little and we made the decision to drop any further last minute freebies and stroll back to the station where we could spend a few hours wasting time, but sat down. The Gardens were lovely and highly recommended. They are beauitfully landscaped and clearly a hot property. We witnessed about 4 wedding parties having thier official photos taken in the greenery, all vying for position amongst the Orchids. Hopefully the two sweaty tourists in the background won't have ruined their photos too much.
Strangely, on the way back to the station I was approached for what I think is the first time for a posed photo with some locals. A young girl used the old "my friend would like a photo with you" line, and then she stood next to me herself as her friend did in fact take the photo.
I say it's the first time for me, because up till now most people have wanted a photo with Kate, and I have been an add on in shot. This time the girl actually said "your friend can come into the photo too if she likes", which made me smile. I found it odd as nearly everyone just treats us as the norm now. Malaysia is packed with all sorts of cultures, and so a couple of whitey westerners aren't anything special.

And then the fun began. 6 hours of ticking time.
Straight into a KFC to get some sustenance which took our dwindling funds down to about 11 quid. 4 and 3 quarter hours to go. KFC is not as good as at home.
Next stop Starbucks. An expensive haunt but somewhere with free wi-fi to keep me entertained. We strategically bought coffees for the first couple of hours to string out our table time. After a round of coffees, this left us with 3 hours and 2 pound left(they don't use pounds but it makes it easier instead of me translating prices all the time). 20 minutes later I was both thirsty again and now approaching hunger town.
Do we get more money out and pay excessive withdrawl charges for a few pounds of spending cash, or do we starve - or option 3, do we use my debit card and pay starbucks with that! Success, cake and slushy to sustain for longer.

At this point, now nearly caught up with the blog and relaxed and raring to go for Singapore just 2 hours until our train leaves. "Uh...The Trains tommorow night". "Huh....what?" I looked up from my screen with ever squarer eyes. Kate had been rifling through my bag and looking at the paperwork.
"The train tickets, they are booked for the 7th, its the 6th today"
"Wha...? Let me see"
She was right. Booked under my own booking talent, a point 3 weeks earlier I had booked the wrong date and we had left it until 2 hours before the train leaves to check the time. Gigantic balls-up. We had booked the last 2 tickets on that train, but that wasn't until tommorow. We had spent the last 4 hours wasting away time at a station for a train that doesnt leave for another 26 hours. We had nowhere to stay. And we now had no cash left (we had bought snacks for the journey with our last 2 pounds of cash).

Damnit. So how the hell are we not stressed about this?!

And then it hit us. It isn't the first time something like this has happened, and I expect it won't be the last. We would work something out. We could find another hostel for the night, we could tell the next hostel in Singapore we will be late. It will cost but its not the end of the world and there is very little we could do about it now. We slurped up the last of our slushies bar the last scraps- brain freeze - and headed off to the ticket counter for a last throw of the dice.

Two minutes later and we had the last two tickets (as confirmed by the ticket lady) on tonight's train, right next to each other, at no extra cost. We love the ticket lady. She is heroic.

We walked back to Starbucks to continue wi-fi stealing and the remainder of my drink was still on the table.

Slurp.

Nothing could damage our spirits now. I could slurp a drink that looks like its been abandoned by it's owner (which it had) and be stared at by locals who thought I was just drinking up scraps left on tables.
A man on the adjacent table lifted a cheek and tried to squeeze out an SBD. He failed and let out a ripper. Normally, this would irritiate me on the rudeness, however I was in such a relieved joyous mood we just chuckled it off. The guy seemed to have been caught out a little himself by the surprisingly loud noise and berating him for it would have been a little too much probably.

The fact that the train ended up an hour late didn't dampen our spirits either. At 11.30pm, we were in our beds and the train left KL. Excellent travelling day. It had everything.



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