I took the most expensive room in the Grocer’s Inn they said it had a bathroom. They forgot to mention that the bathroom had no hot water or anything much else for that matter. The room was horrible, the solitary light was dismal and there was no window! It was like being entombed. There was just a bed and a broken old dressing table, the drawers of which contained the detritus of the last hundred or so inmates. With no space to put anything on the floor, I had to sleep with my bag on the other half of the bed.
I got out of this squalid flophouse as fast as I could, largely unwashed, the next morning. The previous evening I had scouted the street for better digs. Chinatown has many small hotels, some of which are brothels. I enquired at one that didn’t appear to be one of those, and it was such a relief to find something decent so I grabbed it. It cost only four dollars more than the dingy hovel I was currently in, where they had even made me pay an extra dollar for a towel. And forget the soap. They certainly had.
I moved my bag across the street and into the Hotel Yeang Ying. This street was Jalan Sultan, which intersects Jalan Petaling, the night market street. It was an interesting place to stay even though the taxi driver, an Indian, had warned me, ‘It’s full of Chinese. Do not to go out at night’. Funny that Chinatown is full of Chinese and it’s not a good idea to go to a night market at night!
Burma Map Detailed Photo Gallery
I found a cafe two doors from the hotel for breakfast and in front of it I saw a stop for the Ho Ho a hop on, hop off tourist bus. I bought a ticket and hopped on. A twenty-four hour ticket only cost twelve dollars Australian. The bus took a long time to go around its twenty-three stops so it was a good way to observe the town and its life.
After Burma, Malaysia was strikingly clean. And another blessing was that there were no dogs, although I did see the odd cat. I read a letter to the paper from an Asian tourist in which he complained that he had seen two dogs shot in the street by police and then dragged away, leaving blood and mess in their wake. Muslims generally don’t like dogs and consider them, like pigs, an unclean animal.
KL is full of beautiful old buildings, mosques and markets, but it only dates from 1857 when a town grew up from what was originally a tin miners’ camp. The British established themselves here in the 19th century but the Japanese invasion during WWII ended British occupation. By 1963 independence had been achieved and Kuala Lumpur became the capital of what was to become Malaysia.