The drama is over, but the travels are not. We had our delayed short flight, Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh. And caught our new long flight with extra legroom (I’m nearly as excited about the legroom as the destination). And now we just have a short hop to reach somewhere Aimi has wanted to go for a VERY long time…
Our original plan was to go:
- Koh Phangan
- Koh Tao
- Kuala Lumpur
The plan made a nice sweep down through Asia, but we just found we were having to try really hard to find things we wanted to do in Malaysia. It seemed the majority of things to do were centered around KL. And all those things were shopping or tower block based, which is interesting for a while but very insulating from real life. The only real interaction we had with people in KL was in the food market and that was still as a customer. We didn’t get or find any real opportunity to talk with locals. Also, we had wanted to get into the Malaysian highlands to do some hiking, but it was so unbearably hot, that was just unthinkable. It was hot like opening your oven and sticking your head inside hot, like going for a walk in a sauna hot. Anymore than a few steps and you were just dripping. One of the main reasons for going there was to see the Boh tea plantations, but I tried some and it’s not great. All these things combined to us not feeling excited about travelling any more of Malaysia, when there was a country that had been on Aimi’s list for years, just £140 and 7 hours away.
So we had flown:
- Kuala Lumpur – Ho Chi Minh
- Ho Chi Minh – Osaka
- Osaka – Tokyo
A big lesson we did learn from KL was that in this day and age, you need internet connectivity. So we walked like zombies thru the airport to where Aimi could collect her pre ordered SIM card.
This collection of connections has taken since about 7pm yesterday and it’s now 2pm today. We haven’t really slept any more than a couple of uncomfortable hours on the long plane achieving just a few of the grandma approved 40 winks. All of this on our 1st month-aversary of our wedding. But we didnt fall out and we made it, which is a win!
I think because she was so excited, Aimi was in good form, running on adrenalin. I was really suffering and dopey from lack of sleep and felt a little light headed and wobbly. I suspect it’s repeatedly jumping to 27,000ft and back to sea level. Therefore I allowed her to take control of our transport (ow!… she just punched me reading that)
We got on a fast train into town and again enjoyed and commiserated how much better every other countries train system is than the UK. Here they have barriers to stop you falling into the tracks, they have a tune which counts you down till the doors close, the trains display the times till it reaches the next stations and the air conditioning is exceptional, all while being eat-off-the-floor clean.
We had a bit of a challenge finding our connecting train. We were looking for the Blue “KL” line and the only place to find tickets was a green “JR” ticket counter. We found a tourist information kiosk with a very enthusiastic chap who told us that MOST of the over ground trains are “JR” company but just have different line names… obviously. And then there are the subway lines which are different again. But sensibly, you just buy a ticket based on how far you want to travel, and then go. Once we got that sorted, we found our platform and got to the right station near where we are staying.
There was a lady here with a stall selling sticks of colourful… stuff. It looked interesting so I got one wrapped in seaweed, which gave me a chance to practice some rudimentary Japanese. It was like a sweet chewy paste. No idea what it was made of. But we ate it and then started to walk through a park next to a river.
But it wasn’t just a scabby shopping trolley and needle filled city river like in the UK. This was a water park for kids, lined with rocks and cobblestones and steps into and out of it. It’s dry and closed right now but, there are wooden walkways and channels and even small sluice gates and a water wheel. It is all surrounded in nice traditional looking lanterns with wooden fences and wooden bridges crossing over hidden from the buildings by lots of big trees giving shade. There are even water fountains and when asked, a local indicated you could drink it! We aren’t in the centre of town either. This isnt a tourist spot or some sort of attraction. This is literally down a side street from a random train station which means either we are incredibly lucky to stumble across it, or it’s typical of public amenity in the city. I guess we will find out, but so far it’s brilliant!
When looking at the map we thought we would have a long walk to our apartment. But now we’ve arrived we can see that all the buildings are absolutely tiny so its actually just a few hundred metres. And when I say the houses are tiny… we have what you might call a studio house.
There is a single square of floor space, about two metres by two metres. As you come in, on the left wall you have a washing machine, fridge and microwave, a sink and a stove. In front of you are too doors and a small shelf. One door leeds to a small bathroom and the other is your wardrobe and all the storage in the place. And on the right is a small double bed that is built into three sides of the room. Lastly and most interestingly directly in front of you as you enter is a ladder that rises to a mezzanine. I’m not sure what the space is meant to be used for. Perhaps is actually a two bedroom studio flat? Or maybe this is a chill out zone away from the main, and only, area. In any case the whole house can be fit into about a 5 metre cube.
Its in a good location too. Just down the alley (its hard to call it a road, being so small) there is a 7Eleven, a laundry and a public bathhouse. We had very little energy left and were really tired but in a effort to avoid jetlag I stayed up and took some clothes to the laundry. This took some working out, and some change. So I popped next door and got a bottle of cold oolong tea and a hot spring roll for the change. Then worked out the instructions and powder vending machine. Sat around writing this blog.
Got some microwave noodle meals from 7Eleven.