Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and back again

Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
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Trip End Nov 10, 2005


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Friday, November 19, 2004

What a hectic few days is has been. We spent a few days exploring KL on foot mainly - escaping into cool shopping centres when the heat gets too much. There is lots of interesting places to visit in KL and it would probably take me all night to cover all the things we saw so I will give you a taste of some of the highlights.

Batu Caves

What was going to be a quick trip out to the Batu Caves just north of KL turned into a day of adventure complete with Indian Radionics Master tour guide! We caught the local bus out to the caves after eventually finding the bus stop and as we weren't too sure where to go when it arrived we started to follow an Indian man who seemed to be showing a tourist the way. Turns out he was taking him to his 'traditional malay home' first and he invited us and another fellow along too. Our first taste of a 'traditional' home isn't what we expected (I think our hostel is probably closer to the mark), perhaps because the guy was Indian. He had written lots of Indian (I think) mantras on his walls and had lots of strange symbols (I think to do with his radionics practice) painted everywhere. He also had a 60+ cm television! He then took us across to the caves which we learnt were discovered around 100 years ago and now host an Indian shrine dedicated to an Indian deity of knowledge. In January over 1 million Indians make a pilgrimage here to pray tribute to the deity. The caves were filled with statues, monkeys and the odd hawker van selling cold drinks after the 271 steps you climbed to reach the top. Hopefully the photos give you some indication of what it was like - very impressive. Our self-appointed guide for the day was a wonderful man who we learnt often takes tourists he meets on the bus up to the caves. He taught us a lot about Indian beliefs and often gave comparisons to the Christian religion. After a hot climb back down from the main cave and a tour of the smaller caves filled with statues of Indian gods we went to lunch with our guide and the other 2 travellers and enjoyed our fist real Indian meal out of Australian - banana leaf pilled with a variety of vegetable dishes and eaten by hand (the right one of course). After a brief history in radionics (I won't go into it as you might switch off) we finally made it back to the bus. It was certainly an experience we wont forget.

Melaka

We headed a few hour south of KL to the old historic town of Melaka yesterday for a night. It was pretty interesting, (although Michael didn't enjoy it as much as Kate) and we had our first rickshaw ride (our new photo on our web page) which was pretty cool and informative. A lot of the rickshaws pumped modern indian, chinese or western music out of them which coupled with some very tacky decorations made a great sight. After a boat ride down the river we headed back to KL.

There's so much to see, taste and enjoy that we are pretty much on the go all the time. Now we've done our first real backpacking bit we feel pretty comfortable with it - as long as you ignore the beads of sweat and some of the smells!
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