our second day in kuala lumpur started out just like the first — with another train ride to the city, only this time, into Genting, although it wasn’t exactly a train ride all the way to there because we hit a couple of stops. my sister and i wanted to drop by Batu Caves, another tourist spot along the way, but then it was already time-consuming on our part, what with waiting for the bus or haggling with the teksi driver.
so we ended up directly at Genting, malaysia’s highland, instead, squeezed in a teksi cab with three other malaysian girls because i didn’t want to waste precious time waiting for the 12:30 bus when it was still 10:00 in the morning. my sister wanted to wait. i didn’t. mainly because i was hungry and i sure as hell didn’t wanna miss the buffet that was part of the Genting package.
i didn’t expect the drive to be that long. what i thought was a mere 30-minute ride turned out to be a 1-hour one. but it was smooth, of course. i especially admired their public highway. the roads were wide, with one-way direction of the traffic to avoid head-on collision. and we’re talking three or four lanes here. one way. that impressed the probinsyana in me. hehe.
Genting was cold. like 22 degrees censius cold inside the hotel (how much more outside?!) and there i was dressed for the tropics. the only thing lacking in my get-up was a flower tucked behind my ear and a coconut drink with a straw and a little umbrella. i swear, if it weren’t for the shawl (courtesy of my sister’s malaysian “friend-friend”) i brought along, i would’ve turned into a popsicle.
while waiting for the restaurant to open, my sis and i toured around the place a little. it wasn’t really all that big (or maybe it was) but it was confusing, nonetheless. the hotels were built next to each other and one hotel’s entrance is another hotel’s exit. or maybe i hallucinated that. i don’t know. all i know was that it sure felt like that movie T2 where you feel like you’re going in circles. only, derek ramsey wasn’t my husband and he wasn’t there to look for me so i can sign the divorce papers already.
Genting highlands, like every other awesome business empire, was the product of one man’s dream and ambition. i forgot the name of the guy but if there’s one thing i learned from the rise of Genting as a business capital, make sure people remember your name when your skyrocket takes off! but of course, i’m sure everyone in malaysia knows the guy. i’m the one having all these memory problems here. but that quote (below) hit me right in my rib cage. it’s true, though, that quote. i just wish i’m that woman people venerate for having found the short cut to success.
lunch was served buffet-style in a posh restaurant whose name i can no longer remember, considering it was weeks ago and i’m writing this blog rather belatedly for my own personal consumption should i develop alzheimers when i’m 80 years old and still looking as gorgeous as i am now (haha!). the restaurant featured several cuisines — japanese, western, chinese, etc — and people were free to try every dish they want. (they didn’t have italian, though. that broke my heart.) because the place was big, you wouldn’t really get all too self-conscious of the fact that you virtually stacked all the sushis on your plate because everyone basically minded their own business.
being a very boring person, i didn’t go on a food adventure like my sister did, who saw this guy in the next table eating what looked like brown noodles to me. she quickly declared she was having some and walked over to the chef to have those noodles cooked for her. she came back smiling, apparently eager to try the seemingly delicious strips of carbos which she attacked using her chopsticks. needless to say, the look of disgust on her face was priceless. lol. better safe than sorry, ayt?
i did, however, try the famous kachang, reputed to hold the wonderful flavors of singapore and malaysia in a bowl of colorful beans. it was great, except that i don’t really like beans. the tiny legumes i painstakingly weed out of my halo-halo are the crucial ingredients in kachang i simply could not weed out lest i weed everything out. there were beans of every kind. i chewed and gulped water alternately. i still think our halo-halo is the best no matter what!
the tour around Genting proved that it was more of a theme park than anything else. it’s the perfect place for friends to get high (altitude-high, geddit?! haha). they had all these rides for both the boring and the adventurous alike. if only my other boring friends were there — we sure would have enjoyed the ultra-slow carousel as much as the little kids would enjoy the roller coaster. haha. speaking of which, if you’d notice, the highest point of the roller coaster is already enveloped with fog. common sense would suggest that it can get really cold. if the heart attack and the terror won’t kill you, the cold will. or at the very least, a frostbite.
we left Genting by way of a cable ride, the longest and highest in southeast asia, according to my sister. apparently, it was very safe but for fifteen minutes or so, all i could imagine was the image of me falling down into the thick forest below. i was scared to move, afraid that the slightest movement would rock the cable car and send us crashing. i was even afraid to breathe. gawd, i am such a worry freak. but i’ll definitely bungee-jump someday. definitely. even if it would smack the lights out of me.
there’s nothing special about the view while you’re up there in the cable car, really. you look down and there’s the forest. look up and there’s the cable car’s ceiling. or the blue sky, which ought to make you suspicious because i doubt if those cable cars are convertibles. anyhow, that part of malaysia boasts of its rich flora and fauna, natural resources that are better viewed from above rather than risk getting lost in a maze of trees and, um, more trees in the jungle below. the air definitely felt fresh and cool and clean. my lungs basically went into shock considering they’re accustomed to pollution. but i was able to breathe normally once the shock levelled off. my next problem then was my hearing. i heard silence. and yes, something is very wrong with your hearing faculty if you can actually hear nothing. and more weird is the fact that the nothing associated with silence sure sounded like an infinite buzz.
KLCC, with the Petronas Towers as the backdrop, is gorgeous at night. and the view of the sunset from the train made me sentimental too, as much as the view of the train tracks made me sentimental, as well as the stones and pebbles in those tracks. hell, everything was making me sentimental! haha. kidding. but it sure felt good to see the sun then. i love sunsets. period. that’s the only rational explanation for the emotions i was going through at the sight of the sun casting different colors on the clouds surrounding it. like it was bidding the world goodbye. and then it’s gone. and the sky turns black and you wonder where the sun goes after it has left… so you see, such pattern of thought can really make one sentimental! and i”m being shamelessly defensive. haha.
the city at night, as we saw it, was crowded with people of all walks of life — some foreigners, lots of locals, a couple of drunk teens, etc. they had this night market similar to chinatown. and a chinese lartian, with sidewalk stores selling food and people camping out on tables and chairs in the street. if only we discovered that place before seating ourselves in an expensive sidewalk chinese restaurant where we ended up paying more than we would have liked to. (oh, well.) walked around the place a bit. window-shopped a little too. it was our last night there. i wanted to feel the city. linger around for a few moments. try to feel some sort of goodbye. kind of like that sunset.
we left kuala lumpur at 3am later that morning. made some friends at the hotel — Mr. Andrew, who had been working for 35 years in the heritage station hotel, and who was kind enough to knock on our door to give us our room key which was hanging on our door knob long after we were already inside our room and ready to go to sleep. and then we were on the bus going to the airport. and on the plane going back to singapore, where i slept soundly throughout the flight.
all in all, Malaysia was a wonderful experience. there’s so much to see and learn. i’m definitely going back there, if given the opportunity. and i’ll always miss the train rides. and of course, that little hotel by the train station.