Kuala Lumpur (2009.07.26)

We landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport Low-Cost carrier Terminal (KLIA LCCT). First we found where we can leave our luggage, and where to exchange money (they also same as in China did not accept Kazahstan tenges here). It was raining outside, so most of us did not want walk around city center. Therefore we decided to eat some breakfast. After that (time was ~6 o’clock) rain was getting lighter and we took a “Skybus” to the city.

First sightseeing object on our plan was Petronas Twin Towers. They are the second largest buildings in the world. On our way we also saw the nice white Old railway station. When we got out of subway we found out that we were already inside Twin Towers. It was still raining a little outside. Though the view to the buildings was impressive.  After that we went to Masjid Jamek mosque. That is one of oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. Women were not allowed to go inside without a scarf on the head. Also short pants were not permitted. Though at the entrance you could get cloak to cover yourself. Sultan Abdul Samad Building at Merdeka Square was few blocks away and we went there by foot.  There were no other tourists around, because it has only just now stopped to rain, and it was still only 10 o’clock. After taking some photos and resting legs we went back to subway.

The last object in our plan was Kuala Lumpur Tower which is 5th tallest tower in the world. On streets in lot of places in the city were escalators for pedestrian crossing over street. Very nice feature. At first we though they are not working because the escalators were not moving. But as soon as you got onto one, it automatically started to move. The entrance of KL Tower was on a small hill, and there was a free minibus which took us from the bottom to the top of the hill. Ticket cost 38 RM, and also included a pass to 3 more attractions. A very fast elevator took us to sightseeing level of tower. We walked around it and could see the whole city from top. Lot of buildings had pools on their top. After that we went to use our free attraction tickets. First was F1 simulator. But it was nothing impressive – just some normal PC game with a steering wheel and pedals inside a formula case. The pony ride had a weight limit – only less than 55 kg allowed, so Everita was the only one of us who got to ride the pony. Third attraction was a small zoo. Majority of animals there were all kind of reptiles – lots of snakes, some tortoises.

Petronas towers Mosque Merdeka square View from Kuala Lumpur tower

After that our excursion in Kuala Lumpura has ended. We took monorail back to the bus, which took us to the airport.  Unfortunately the seats were not close to each other. Me and Emīls got places in middle of plane, rest of us together at the tail of plane. This Air-Asia plane was much bigger that previous one. It was scheduled to fly for 14 hours to London. Fortunately seats in this plane was much better. They had more space for legs, back of seats were also higher. Though no display at the back of the chair. I don’t remember much from the flight – I was asleep for most of the time. I even did not notice when they were giving out meal to eat. I woke up only when Emīls woke me up saying that we are landing.

Hangzhou (2009.07.25)

We planned to wake up early so that we would have more time later in Hangzhou before our airplane. But it didn’t work out so well. We arrived in Shanghai South railway station only 7 minutes before the train and missed it. Later we were told that the train also left earlier.  It takes lot of time to get to a train – the station is huge. Luckily we were able to change the tickets for another train that leaves about an hour later. They even gave back 14Yuans as the new tickets were cheaper because of not so good/fast train. In the waiting hall by a complete accident we met a person from Latvia (again). She was working in Shanghai as teacher and also was going by the same train to Hangzhou. The train was pretty comfortable (more or less similar to the train Xian-Beijing) and the ride was very smooth and fast. After an hour (or two) we arrived in Hangzhou.

Our plan was first to leave all our heavy bags in the hostel Anders had reserved for him as he was staying in Hangzhou for the next night.  There was a big line of people waiting for the taxi next to the train station. Taxi cars were coming and going quickly, so it didn’t take much to get two cars for ourselves. We had only address of the hostel written in English, and in Hangzhou only few people understood English, so we pronounced carefully the street name and luckily driver understood where to take us.

Some of us wanted to go for more shopping, but me with Agnese and Anders went to West Lake – Hangzhou most famous scenic sight. The lake was very large. Also there were lots of other tourists walking around, some boats were floating on lake. We decided to walk along the coast for some two hours in the direction of less attractions, south, as the less attractions, the less tourists.  Right at the beginning Agnese scared the hell out of me, by faking pushing me into lake when I was watching water at the edge of lake. Anders commented this as “it never gets old” :).

The path was not only on the ground, but in some places build like bridge over the water, going parallel to the coast of lake. In some places there was a statue of a famous man or an important ruler of Hangzhou.  At one point a Chinese guy approached me and asked something (in Chinese). As I didn’t understood, he showed with gestures that I am tall, and he is short, therefore he wanted to take a photo with me. We stopped a bit near a small pound with lot of colorful fishes (same as in Shanghai) and Agnese fed them with cookies she had with her.

From the lake we went back along a street full of souvenir shops. In one alley we went into what seemed a traditional medicine shop. They were selling lots of weird stuff – all kind of roots, grains, and also some dead snakes. In other alley there were lot of food stands. You could buy lot of different types of food, including crayfish that Agnese wanted to eat. There were also some boiled snails which we didn’t try.

When we got back to hostel, Mārtiņš K. and Emīls were asleep and the little room without windows seemed overcrowded of people and bags. Then we said goodbyes to Anders and went to Hangzhou railway station for airport shuttle. We were told that bus leaves from the front of railway station. But it took some time to find out that bus stop was on other side of building that was in front of the railway station.

Our Air-Asia flight was scheduled at 23.20. In the airport people were getting in a line. When the line was for about 40 meters long we decided it is time for us to get in the line also. At check-in they informed us that our printed-out boarding passes were not valid in this airport (because it is small?). So we got almost last places which were left in airplane close to each other – at the very tail of the plane. The seats had a small display at back of them where the information about the flight was shown. You could also rent movies to watch, or order food with them. Though the sitting was not very comfortable for me – there was not much space for legs and it was very hard to get some sleep. Although this was my first flying ever, and I was before told by others that plane will shake very much and everything will be bad, it was not true. Flying was very smooth. During the flight we were given customs cards to fill, where we found out that bringing drugs is punishable with death penalty by Malaysian law. Fortunately none of us uses them.

We landed in Kuala Lumpur around 4:30 am.