It was not hard to leave Burma but it was sad. I wanted to stay longer but my allocated twenty-eight days were up and I had to go. I arrived prematurely early at the airport, determined to have plenty of time to deal with any contingencies. I did not trust this airport; it held stressful memories.
In Singapore I asked the woman at the Tourist Accommodation desk to find me a room for the night. I planned to go on to Kuala Lumpur in the morning. I did not want to go back to the Australian winter just yet and Malaysia was a country I had travelled through several times but had never stopped in long enough to discover. She found me a hotel, but told me that it was in Geylang, the red light district, and I should not go out at night! As if anyone was going to accost me with all the talent likely to be about. When I told her that I was going on to Kuala Lumpur, she said that she had been ‘snatched’ there. She meant her bag, not her, I think.
The airport shuttle took me to the hotel. Walking around the corner from it (in the daylight, just in case), I found a small restaurant where I had a meal. The next morning I boarded a bus to KL.
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The bus was almost empty, with just four of us in a double-deckered deluxe vehicle that came with a personal video screen, an audio player and lunch delivered on a tray. Plantations of oil palms lined almost the entire route to KL, a depressing sight and testimony that the native rainforest and food farmland had been obliterated. Oil palms are extremely detrimental to the environment. Few towns or villages were visible from the elevated highway we rode along and we passed through none. We made one loo stop. I am like the Queen, of whom it is said never passes up the chance for a toilet break.
In KL I took a taxi to the Grocer’s Inn, the guesthouse in Chinatown where I had made a bloging. It had been highly recommended by the guide blog writers, who said that it was ‘old and interesting’. It was old for sure. It was also a dump. That’s the last time I trust them. Have I said this before?