One of the strange things about cities on this trip is that you either get on with them or you don’t. It’s often pretty quick that I make that judgement. So Berlin great, Warsaw eh. St Petersburg fading, Moscow fun. Beijing brilliant, Dehli dull.
One of the other issues I’ve noted is that my tolerance for heat has an upper limit. 20-25 lovely, 25-30 hot, 30-35 bearable, 35-38 very tough, 38+ nope, too damn hot. As you’d imagine, I’ve never had much cause to test this scale in the UK. The other factor that doesn’t come into play at home is humidity. You’re occasionally aware of it for a day or so in the summer just before a thunderstorm, but the numbers aren’t particularly meaningful. It makes a huge difference here, pushing 33 degree temperature up to feeling like 37. And it’s always humid.
You may get the impression from the above two paragraphs that Kuala Lumpur (or KL) wasn’t one of the cities that worked for us. And you’d be right. A combination of the too damn hot problem (not aided by the apartment we were staying at, lovely as it was, not having aircon in our room and thus not really sleeping for three nights) and not being able to walk anywhere (even when you can see where you need to get to and it’s only 100m you often end up having to take a taxi as there’s just no way to cross the roads or walk the highways).
There were a couple of exceptions, we had a trip out to the Batu Caves, limestones karsts with Hindu temples and a ‘dark cave’ wildlife reserve. We also took a day trip down to Melaka (or Malacca) the old capital of Portuguese and Dutch settlements in the region. This was a pleasant excursion and our (not atypically for this trip) casually racist guide gave some detailed history of the country. And some detailed distaste for Malays and muslims.
We also got our first dose of Christmas. Song, trees and tinsel covered every shopping mall. And it’s 35 degrees outside. This is weird. Very, very odd. ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know’. Riiiight. Anyway, we finished up with KL and headed for the overnight train to Singapore.