In transit…..on the set of ‘Entrapment’

1 Feb

So, having worked out that my travel agent has got me on a flight to Singapore, and I need to be in Bangkok… I decided that the easiest way to get there would be to take the train. That might have been a mistake…

Anyway, a late flight dumped me at Changi airport in Singapore.. unable to sleep on any of the available chairs, I sat and worked all night at the coffee shop, and then got the train into Singapore itself first thing in the morning.

Changi Airport (1)Changi Airport (2)

It’s already hot (I remember going for a run before daybreak just to avoid the heat when I first went to Singapore) and the walk to the international train station is a hike. All they have left are first class seats (which isn’t as expensive as it sounds – it cost me around £35) and isn’t as luxurious as it sounds (the seats are starting to look a bit tatty). But a pleasant and uneventful trip up country including the stop for Malaysian immigration got me to Kuala Lumpur. The route is full of window views that sometimes resemble a Birmingham back street, and sometimes equatorial jungle – with the occasional golf course as a surprise..and unlike the Australian train’s leisurely dawdle across country, this one rattles and rocks along, threatening at every curve to leap off the rails.

Singapore to KL (17) - CopySingapore to KL (4)

KL is a crazy city, a combination of old and new. The Times Square mall outside the hostel is simply huge, with a theme park and full size rollercoaster indoors. At the KL Convention Centre Mall it’s like walking into an English city centre mall, with Marks & Spencer, TopShop, La Senza and more..and of course, like Singapore, it uses UK power sockets (causing maximum confusion to my new German friend who has got used to the Australian ones while she’s been in Melbourne)

Times Square (1)Times Square (6)Times Square (5)Times Square (2)

 

But it’s coming up to Chinese New Year, and everything is decorated for the season with lanterns for good luck, giant chinese coins and huge (and vaguely scary) rabbits that remind me of something out of Donnie Darko. (It’s the Year of the Rabbit in 2011).

Walk round KL (4)

After a day sat in (of all places) Krispy Kreme (they had a power outlet) I have an outline of my next book/workshop/product set – and an idea of another one too. Good days work.

Krispy Kreme

So time for a walk round this cybercity full of technology and McDonalds, pirate DVDs and smartphones alongside the street vendors. Chinatown at Petaling St is a huge market full of knock off Gucci and Prada.. in fact, I wouldn’t like to fancy my chances of buying anything that was genuine manufacturer’s original in the entire city. Again, the place is decorated for the Lunar new Year, and shops stock all sorts of decorations and gifts for the festive season.Chinatown (2)Chinatown (5)

There are some wonderful temples too, with incredibly detailed artwork…

Chinatown (1)

…and I spent a wonderful hour lost in thought and meditation in Guan Yin temple – full of cheerful Buddhas, incense and a very out of place LED display for the Buddha’s halo. Effective, but distinctly anachronistic.

Maharaja Leia Temple (7)Maharaja Leia Temple (2)

And the Petronas twin towers are a wonderful blend of modernist and art deco.. although no longer the talles building in the world, they are still the tallest twin towers (pop quiz… what is the tallest mountain in the world?)

Petronas Twin Towers (7)Petronas Twin Towers (6)

Because it’s the Lunar New Year, the trains are really busy – and so are the hostels. But I have managed to book myself onto an overnight sleeper and into a hostel in Georgetown, Penang..

clip_image001

And finally, another wander round the mall… I spend a few minutes visualising my book on the shelves of Borders and check the list of spiritual places to visit in the world – realising that the majority outside of Europe and the Middle East are on the list for this year..

So just time for some food from a street hawker, and onto the train……

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