Day 64: Bad First Impressions of KL
Trip Start May 20, 2008
77Trip End Aug 19, 2008
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Kuala Lumpur was like any other big cosmopolitan city around the globe: traffic snarled, mega malls everywhere, KFC-infected, glimmering skyscrapers abound including the Petronas Towers, the 2nd tallest building in the world at the moment and the tallest until Taipei 101 was finished a few years back. The towers were my only sightseeing stop for the night and induced vertigo every time I looked up at them. In the towers was a massive air-conditioned mall, which I hung around for a while simply because of its air conditioning. In the basement of this mall I struck a jackpot: a supermarket! The first one I'd encountered on this entire trip! As I remembered from the Eurotrip, the cheapest local food by far was to be found here. Despite this I bought only some soymilk, grapefruit juice, and a bakery concoction. Malaysia was more expensive than Indonesia, but still cheap enough to make eating at budget restaurants and hawker centers a viable activity, no need for me to cook my own food
On the monorail ride back to Bukit Bintang, the nightlife filled neighborhood that housed my hotel, I very, very slightly dented my ticket. It was a minor barely noticeable blemish, a simple dog-ear if that. Despite this, the exit gate refused the ticket and directed me to the ticket office. The ticket lady sighed, barked at me that "This is Electronic! Ticket! If damaged you pay again!" (despite there being no such warning on the ticket itself, either in English or Malaysian) It wasn't even damaged, it was a tinsy little crease, I swear. Very frustrated for what reason I couldn't guess, she marched out of the ticket booth and proceeded to swipe the ticket again and again through the gate until at long last it worked. As I passed through the gate, she continued to practically yell at me about how the ticket shouldn't be bent, it's electronic, yadda yadda, to which I thought to myself: "Yes lady, I know how a magnetic strip works, it's called the NYC Subway and unlike yer backwards arse system the machines there can actually read the fraking ticket." Sigh. Did I mention how much I hate hate hate the Kuala Lumpur rail system? It's expansive and will get you where you need to go, but along the way there are so many little annoying quirks that send the blood pressure boiling
Other annoying quirks include the lack of easy transferring between lines. There will sometimes be entire blocks separating the rail lines, and a ticket is only good for one entry. To transfer, you must exit the system, find the other nearby station (without proper signage), wait in line again (the ticket machines never work), buy a new ticket, and hop on the next train. The ticket must be purchased from a booth on the correct platform too. In one instance, there were four cashiers on the wrong platform, and only one working the platform I needed. An embarrassingly long line had built up around my platform as a result
Rant aside, I grabbed one of the best and cheapest dinners of the trip and called of the night.