May 1- Dec 29 2017!!
Today the weather looks pretty good and we walked down to “Chinatown” KL and then up to the main Merdeka Square. On the way to the square we came across a Hindu and Buddhist temple and a church before we came to the Merdeka Mosque. Malaysia is such an interesting melting pot of cultures and religions.
It was getting sunny and very hot and so we decided to hop on the metro to the KLCC or city center for our 1 pm ticket time for the Petronas towers visit. We took advantage of the viewing platform for the towers in the KLCC park.
The first stop inside is the 41 st floor and the sky bridge. It is 170 m above the ground and is floating between the two towers. While we were here it was suddenly pouring, but when we arrived to the observation deck on level 86 the sun was back out.
From here Faizal drove us to Low Yat Plaza for lunch at the “famous” Nasi Ayam Chee Meng restaurant for Malaysian “chicken and rice”and then some electronic shopping in the 8 story Low Yat. This is the first place we could find reasonably priced and legitimate items we needed to replace like memory cards, external back up memory, and camera batteries.
We spent all evening sorting out all our gear and cleaning everything to ensure it passes thru inspection for New Zealand. There can be no visible dirt, bugs or sand.
Today we were slow getting out of the hotel and we slept in bit and then had an issue getting out of the parking garage until after 945. We had paid a paid ticket from the hotel, but when we got down 4 levels they wanted 2 tickets. We also got stuck in some traffic, but still managed to get the bikes and luggage washed and get 22 km across town to the mechanic only 5 minutes late at just after 11.
Faizal has arranged for our service at his mechanic Motowerks. We have ordered all the parts we need here (chains/sprockets….). We will also have valve check, oil and filter change, wheel and steering head bearing change, spark plugs, properly fix the rock hole in the oil pan on the 650 that we bodged with quick steel in Peru in 2014, and new Beemer buddies. We have had a bit of an issue with warm starts and think the valves are too tight especially onto 650. We have not been able to get the oil filter off the 650 since Tblisi where the mechanic “helper” used a torque wrench to put it on when we were not looking.
We also had the suits to deal with today, but dumped the very smelly bags onto Faizal! The bikes will also be detailed here for inspection quality cleaning.
Now we had to drive 61 km south to the Cargo terminal to discuss the shipping with Faizal’s agent. We have found out that the first estimate for Andy’s bike is it will cost 2000 Euros to Munich!! OUCH. We are really hoping for 1500 USD per bike to Auckland. The agent took our info and we had measured the bikes….within 30 minutes he called us to say it would be 900$ US each!! (or not) The best part this is not crated and no pallet, but roll on roll off as is on Malysian Airlines! (ahhh maybe) That means we can just ride away from the Airport on arrival. We are flying 16 days from now on Dec 29 and the bikes ship Dec 31. This means we can pick them up Jan 2 with no storage penalty. (or so we thought). More good news also is the latest estimate for Andy it is down to 1500 E. Dealing with shipping the bike is stressful, confusing, constantly changing, and expensive.
On the way back to the city we stopped in the administrative capital of the country Putrajaya to have lunch and visit the massive mosque here. Tourists must put on cover robes and the women must wear the hood.
Nearby is the Presidential Palace
We are waiting so long to go to NZ because the flight price for us is half if we go after Christmas. The money we “ saved” we will use to fly to Boracay Philippines to the kite surfing Mecca!
On our day off we decided to visit the Batu caves 25 km north of the city. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. This is pretty easy to access as you can walk 600m to the metro station and take the train 2 stops to KL Sentral from here you take the commuter train 25 min to the end of the line. The caves are all in a limestone formation just across the parking lot from the station. The first cave you access from nearest the station is Ramayana Cave. There are certainly a lot of monkeys here despite the ‘do not feed the monkeys” signs.
“No cave at Batu is more spectacularly embellished than the Ramayana Cave, which boasts psychedelic dioramas of the Indian epic Ramayana.”
You keep walking another 100m and you will see the huge golden statue of Lord Murugan and the 272 steps to the cave. There are more aggressive and larger monkeys here on the stairs that prey on unsuspecting tourists struggling up and down the steep steps. Never carry a plastic bag near a monkey they will steal it to see if there is food in it. You also might be asked to carry a bucket of cement or a few bricks up the stairs to aid the workers in the construction of a new temple in the large cathedral cave.
Tonight our friend Trevor arrives and to celebrate the end of our journey together we are booked at Jake’s Charbroil Steak house!
Then it was to Martini’s on 57 for a night cap with a view of the twin towers!
The trip to Boracay is a bit of a jaunt.
We left the hotel at 730 and walked 600m to the subway, took this 2 stops to KL “Sentral” station, and then boarded the KLIA express train for the 30 min ride to KLIA 2. Here you have to walk 15 min to the gates, but first you must exit Malaysian immigration and go thru customs X-ray inspection. The real security screening is just before the gate area.
Our flight was 45 min late and very turbulent for most of the 4 hours to Kalibo Philippines on Panay island. Here you clear immigration and then customs after filling out all the appropriate forms. Next you exit the airport and are inundated with touts, which is why we had the hotel prearrange our transfer.
We went to the west coast taxi desk and were given our tickets and taken to a very new luxury bus for the 2 hour/68 km drive (big bus, narrow road, lots of traffic, slow moving moto- taxis) to the ferry dock at Caticlan Jetty Port (mad house of traffic and confusion), then the 1.8 km high speed boat ride to the Cagban Jetty Port and finally the 4.5 km mini van ride to the apartment we had rented for the 12 days here.
There is a typhoon expected here in 2 days time, but that left at least one day for some great kiting. The island is only 800 m wide here and it is windy with kiting on one side and calm with a beautiful white sand beach on the other.
We were pretty house bound for the next 2 days with the Typhoon, but though the rain was heavy the winds were not too bad. This gave us some really needed down time . And then it was gone!
What a difference a day makes as we woke up to blue skies and sunshine! We walked across the island again and then all along the coast to the north west tip.
We had 10 days of sun and cloud, but great wind for kiting.
They had quite a big Christmas celebration!
We have to head back to KL and it is an all day affair and we left the hotel at 1030 am. First we are driven in a mini van to the ferry dock and we enter the secure ferry dock building and wait for our boat. The fast ferry holds about 30 people and takes about 15 min to cross the channel. The bus stop is just outside the ferry terminal and it is a very hot and humid 45 min to wait. The air-conditioned bus ride is just about 2 hours to the Kalibo airport. Our plane is late, which is apparently the norm for this flight and is now an hour late. It is chaos at the airport as there are 3 flights to China leaving at the same time. You have to line up to pay the tourist exit fee of 15 USD per person and then line up in a massive crowd that is not cueing, but funneling to get your fee ticket checked and then enter a roped off line to get your passport stamp. Last of course is a line for security. We had a pretty turbulent 4 hour flight and arrived back to KL and to the airport hotel just after 2130.