Hurry Up And Wait

By Jane Mountain | June 7, 2014

14,937 km so far.

Our plane tickets to Jakarta are booked, though it took some doing.

Before cyclists can book a plane ticket, they have to find out what the requirements are for packing the bike, how much it costs to fly with the bike, and how to get their bikes to the airport.

All of this can easily double the cost of the flight. Fortunately, this particular flight only cost $80 to begin with, so doubling the cost is not that big a deal, financially.

As we’ve said a thousand times before, environmentally speaking, the cost of any flight is huge.

So, now we have a date for departure, which isn’t for another four days.

What are we going to do until then?

Biding Our Time

Kuala Lumpur is not really endearing itself to us so far. It is noisy, busy, dirty, and choked with traffic. The city is broken up into small neighbourhoods where you can find places to eat, shopping, and nightlife, and these neighbourhoods are far apart and difficult to navigate between.

(So it’s a lot like LA then. Ha ha.)

And it is so hot! In the city, the extreme heat just makes everything seem more difficult, more crowded, and far less interesting. The breeze we create when riding our bikes is nowhere to be found on the streets of KL, so the heat seems extra prevalent.

apartment building air conditioning unit

So much air conditioning!

Our favourite thing to do in cities is just walk around, observing the culture, the people, and the architecture. The way KL is set up makes walking an unpleasant and unrewarding experience. When there is a sidewalk it often has scooter driving on it, food stalls set up on it, cars parked on it, or holes in the sewer grates which you really don’t want to fall down.

The cleverly named Kuala Lumpur Tower, in KL.

The cleverly named Kuala Lumpur Tower, in KL.

The streets are no safer, with cars double-parked at all angles meaning you have to walk in the midst of the traffic if you want to get anywhere, all the while watching for the cars on the road, buses driving like buses the world over, cars pulling out, and the scooters coming from anywhere and everywhere.

Christmas Come Early

Still, by noon today, I was so desperate to get out from behind the computer that I suggested we go to a mall. Yup, that was the only thing I could think of to do.

kuala lumpur railway station

Moorish architecture at the ticket booth at KL railway station.

The malls here are ram-packed with people. At the Midvalley Megamall there were so many people it reminded me of the Christmas Eve shopping madness we see in Canadian malls every year. But today was just a typical Saturday.

They have all the same familiar brands here they do back home as well. So, except for the extreme crowds and the colour of people’s skin, we could have been in any old mall anywhere in America.

Almost as soon as we got there, I wanted to leave. We hung out for a little while, enjoying the air con, and then high-tailed it back across the city to our comfortable and welcoming hostel, wishing we’d never ventured out in the first place.  

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