A longer day than was expected. I’d pretty much decided to head back to Kuala Lumpur this morning, especially as overnight the rain poured down loud enough to wake the dead let alone me. The weather by morning was much improved, but I chose to join Maria and Oliver on the early bus to KL. After all, I’d been trying to force myself to move on for about 5 days!
A few buses are available, but the 10:30 and 16:30 services were cheapest at MR17.30. There were a few tickets left and, after grabbing breakfast from the Kang Hotel, we boarded. It turned out to be the exact same bus which had brought me to Tanah Rata in the first place. I recognised the broken seat (which some poor Chinese woman had to endure for the whole journey).
It’s a long, windy trip down the mountain so don’t expect to sleep much. And then we had to deal with an Indian guy in the back row being sick into a clear plastic bag for all the world to see. His hurls were quite quiet, but the HHHAAAAAWWWWWWKKKK as he cleared his throat afterwards was stomach-churning.
Neverthless we survived into the town at the bottom of the hill where we mystifyingly pulled into some yard full of broken buses. Reversing out, we next arrived at a bus station where we had thirty minutes to grab food. I, erm, opted for a KFC. Partly as I knew they’d have clean loos.
Back on the bus, we drove for five minutes and into a second scrapyard where we were ordered off. The two front tyres both had nails stuck in them and needed replaced, so we were delayed around half an hour as this was done. When we re-boarded, Maria ended up sat next to me as the sick Indian guy had decided to occupy both the seats she’d been using to sleep on. I hope I didn’t drool down her shoulder as I slept on the now-flatter part of the journey.
For reasons best known to himself, the driver decided to shut off the aircon as we were around half an hour from the city. Maybe he wanted us to acclimatise. Maybe it broke. Either way, we were stifling by the time we were dropped off. Oliver had another bus to catch to Melaka and Maria and I walked to the Golden Triangle area in search of accommodation.
Steff’s recommendation of the Red Palm looked nice, but was full until next week. We tried their sister hostel which was also full. As was the Trekker’s Lodge I’d used the week before. We ended up in Green Hut, where I stayed back in December 2006. It’s much as I remember, including the lack of wi-fi. At least I have a long network cable so I can still use my laptop.
Food was needed and after a little trek, we found a street cafÃ© opposite the IT Mall. As we were looking through the menu, staff from the other restaurants nearby were screaming “Sir! Miss! Sir! Look first! See here!” and waving menus like demonstrating students. Seriously, it was like a culinary version of the current Thai protests, and reminded me of the seagulls from Finding Nemo (“Mine! Mine! Mine!”).
After Maria failed to find somewhere that would sell her an iPod loaded with music – something that hadn’t been a problem in Bangkok – we walked round to the cinema and picked up tickets for Deception. Not a bad film, and they didn’t censor so much of it to spoil it as with Death Race.
And that was really it for the day. A fruitless search for a spare wi-fi signal saw me using the cable (I need a new one with unbroken clips) and I think I have plans for tomorrow. Still not sure of my next destination, but it’s looking like being Bangkok or Sihanoukville.