Putrajaya. Kind of.

Yup, I went to a new city and have no photos for you. But I have an excuse. Basically, Lonely Planet us well wrong as regards the tours of Putrajaya. The one listed in their current edition for Malaysia simply doesn’t exist any more. I asked at Sentral about tickets and got blank looks, so I bought a return to Petrajaya (MR19) and hopped on the next train.

The journey’s around 30 minutes and I located the bus terminus in the huge and empty station. Putrajaya is a new town, one almost built from scratch and into which Malaysia is moving a lot of it’s business and adminstration. There’sa lot of housing and the idea is to make a city that’s also a tourist attraction as well as somewhere to live – it’s easily commutable from Kuala Lumpur after all. Thing is, it’s only partway there as the cavernous station shows. You’d expect to see thousands of people pour through here and it’s built for it… but all the shops are closed and there’s no queue for buses.

So it’s kind of like Milton Keynes, but not ugly and based on roundabouts.

Downstairs, I asked about the tour and was told it no longer runs. There is one, but only on weekends (11:30 and 14:30) and from the large mosque in the city near the lake, not from the train station. However, the helpful staff recommeded that I not waste my trip and instead hop on the 102. It runs a circuit around the city, taking in a lot of the accommodation and main streets. All for 50c. Except it’s exact change only and the smallest I had was MR1. Ah well, that’s still only 15p.

The staffer explained to the driver that I was going to do a circuit and not to worry that I wasn’t getting off, and the bus pulled into what little traffic there was. I did get to see a fair bit – some nice flats and houses, impressive mosque, lovely new architectural styles for the government offices – but as I was on a public bus, the opportunity to take pics just didn’t come up.

I did enjoy listening to the radio, though. The bus was really nice and new, and the driver had a local station on. The news caught my attention. “MalayMalayMalayMalay Kevin Keegan MalayMalayMalayMalayMalayMalayMalayMalayMalay Newcastle United MalayMalayMalay”.

What I can say is that if you can figure out the tours, I can see it being a fun way to spend half a day. A shame I didn’t get any photos, but maybe next time.

The rest of the day was spent playing catch-up and snoozing as I’d barely slept the night before. After staying up late, I found myself being nibbled on all night, and not in a nice way. Maria in the bed next to mine found herself inundated with bugs of some description which were inside her mosquito net. I’m not sure if I was suffering the same, or just mosquitoes, but either way it was a bad night sleepwise.

The staff fumigated the room and Mariah did all her luggage and clothes outside. All her clothing went through the wash, but anything less than a boil won’t kill these things. She could still see them moving inside the plastic bags afterwards. Not nice.

Steff, the Swiss girl we’d been hanging around with in Tanah Rata, arrived in town this evening and we’d arranged to meet up. It seems she’d had even less luck with buses than us, having to change coach twice. Once due to a wheel/steering/axle issue and the second as the air conditioning unit failed. Welcome to Asia!

We picked one of the places near Trekker Lodge for dinner and I scorched my mouth on a spicy chicken dish. The girls went for the buffet and we left, well fed, to stock up on cheap alcohol from a Chinese shop next to Red Palm. There we sat outside and chewed the cud (and drank the beer) until a group of us decided to head off to find a club. So one Brit, a Dane, two Aussies, a German a Swiss and an Italian went walking in the vain hope of finding a club that didn’t cost upwards of MR30 per person to get in.

Not going to happen in Kuala Lumpur. Instead we headed back to Bukit Bintang and chilled out in a streetside bar with some munchies and (for the others) a shisha pipe. And beer from the 7-Eleven over the road.

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