Travel Talk

Bus to Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today, I had the pleasure of taking the local bus to the Batu Caves, just outside of Kuala Lumpur. Wow, what a place?!? It’s a very famous temple, it has monkeys crawling all over the place, cheap eats nearby and one of the most prolific koi ponds I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. I’ll have you know, when I eventually “settle down” I’ll build a koi pond so large, so deep, it will be magnificent.

I digress.

Alright, so you want to go to the Batu Caves? Good. Being the “let’s go loco style” kinda guy that I am. I decided to take the public bus to the Batu Caves. I caught the Bus on Jalan Tun HS Lee, right across from the “Bank of Bangkok”, smack in the middle of Kuala Lumpur and conveniently a ~8 minute walk from my hotel. The bus you want is #11, it comes every ~20-30 minutes and it costs 2.5R or ~ near 1$US. The bus took forever and was packed. The gentlemen near me left, this older gentlemen took the seat. I’ll get to him later, he was awesome.

Finally arrive, the temple is free and it is 272 stairs to the top. I *thought* I made an amazing video but guess I forgot to hit “record”, I have others but much to my chagrin, the “piece de resistance” is not there.

First thing you notice is a massive statue, you can’t miss it. Along there stairs there are a multitude of monkey’s, well, being monkey’s. I love monkeys, they are kinda like humans but forever teenagers or even kids, they just do their thing and don’t give a d@mn what you think. If you do not wish to be hassled by them, don’t bring food, it’s that simple.

I climbed to the top and once you get there, wow, what a place. it’s truly spectacular and big “thanks” to Hannah for recommending it to me. Once you are done looking at the main event, to the side there are the “dark caves”, I had to get some money changed so didn’t have 35R kicking around, if not probably would of taken it. I thought *I* was out of shape but I did those 272 stairs like it was nobodies business, didn’t even break a sweat, seriously. Saw some people pausing and asked if they were smokers, they said “no”, so I said “get to it!” and they ran the rest of the way.

At the bottom there is a massive Koi pond, anyone who knows me well knows I love koi ponds, they are so tranquil, so, I dunno, I just get mesmerized by the fish doing their thing, I will have one in my estate one day, mark my words. The pond leads to somewhere that charges money, I wasn’t in a spending money type mood so I spent nothing and just hung out near the entrance, luckily someone fed them and well look at the photo below, it was a “feeding frenzy”.

After that when you leave, say “no thanks” to all the cab drivers and when you leave the main gates, take a right. Keep walking until you get to a newspaper stand, past a bunch of floweresque (sic) type shops. (The awesome old guy told me this before we parted ways) I was lucky, the moment I got there the bus came. Talk about timing. Before I left, they had someone “hummmmming” on the microphone, I just stared at the statue in a total meditative state, it was enlightening. I am so glad I went, it was one of the coolest places I have been yet.

So yeah, round trip to Batu Caves cost me ~5R or less than $2. I also had some good vegetarian food for 5R, big plate, delicious.

Back to the older gentlemen, he sat next to me. I believe if you are “on the right path” in life, people come into your life and offer you wisdom if you’re open to it. We talked and chatted about many things. He was very wise and I learned much from him. I feel like on this trip, every once and a while when I’m not sure of things a “random sage” appears and fills me in, answers my questions and gives me answers and insights to future questions I may have but don’t realize it yet. Similar to when I got to Bangkok, the first guys name was lets say “Green Bay” and the second ones name was even “Sage”.

Before getting on the bus, I ran into this girl from Germany, she is paying 11R a night for a room. I said “yeah, but it’s some grimy hostel / dorm room right”, she got offended and quipped back, “it’s so awesome, it’s so great”, then she said she “lost” her camera and was going to the police station or something to see if anyone found it… hmmmmm. I told the older man I was paying 50R and he said that is quite reasonable and I bet 100X safer than the dump for 11R. Makes sense? He also said, think about it, if there was a way to aggregate the data, how much more likely are you to have your things stolen in a dorm for 11R a night or your own room with many amenities for 50R. That made me think… I remember the 150baht a night dorms in Bangkok, they are a hot bed for bed bugs, seriously. Also people traveling on tiny budgets and scrounging to make ends meet aren’t the people I wish to associate with. I’ve come on this trip to grow, see the world, stop having a boring life, meet new contacts, future associates and the like.

If you just wanted cheap accommodations, why even bother living in a nice part of town, why not just live in the ghetto? You don’t do that back home, do you? So why do it on the road? Also, if you are going to run into “down and out” people who need to steal to finance their trip, makes more sense for them to hang in the “low end” to pick the “low hanging fruit”, yes? If they paid 50R a night, they would have 1 night to “snag something”, at the 11R a night, they have 5 nights worth of stays to get same result. Sales men live by ABC – always be closing, travelers must live by ABT – always be thinking.

Either way, the gentleman was great, he said I should pay no more than 4-5R for lunch or dinner. He also said places without set prices tend to”jack the price” for foreigners, that makes sense to me.

On the way back I sat alone, then said “screw it” and went to talk to the 2 guys I saw at the temple, now at the back of the bus. They were Swiss, cool guys. There was a mildly creepy guy in front of us, when we started discussing where we were saying we switched to French and continued that for most of the conversation there after. Having a secret language is key when discussing “details” in strange places. We hit up the market in China town. For 1R you can get half a pineapple, for 1R you can get a 1/4 watermelon, I bought both. Also picked up a big bag of cashew nuts for 2R and a bag of dried ginger for 1R, ginger is my new “fight sickness fast” cure. I’m starting to “figure this place out”, I’m starting to really love it here.

I highly recommend you visit the Batu Caves regardless of your religious beliefs, it’s truly a spectacular sight and something I will remember forever. You also will never know who you’ll meet if you never go… You’ll never know unless you go.

It’s Monday morning where I’m from, I’m watching how hard so many people work here. The guy who works in my lobby works 24/7, the other night at 3AM, I was going to have a late dinner. I saw him sleeping and knew I’d have to “buzz in” to get back in… I said forget it and went to bed.  I have much to say on the topic of work ethic and how it varies from continent to continent but that is for another time, another day. I will say they are inspiring though, imagine sky diving with no backup parachute, imagine living where there is no welfare, if you don’t bank coin, you’re on the street… That’s life in MOST of the world.

Good day,

P.S For dinner, checked out this alley diner, was sure they have rats so put it off several times, but hey, everywhere has rats around here, anything from the street especially and this place is cheap. The dinner was delicious (7R), a rat scurried by my foot while waiting(knew it!), some guy came in selling tiger claws, wish I had my camera. On that note, I’d rather have the odd rat scurry past my leg than be trapped in the rat race, yes? Finally, gold is reaching new highs(subject to change at any moment of course), those stocks I bought after the bar were FSLR and my moustache (sic) is riding a massive grin.

Have a good week.

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