It is hard to believe, but last Tuesday marked the end of my first month here in KL. It was a holiday too, the celebration Ian and I call Little Eid, or Eid Al Fitr after our years in the Middle East but the Malaysians call Hari Raya. A national bank holiday such as this meant the roads were uncharacteristically quiet and so Ian and I were unanimous that it was time to do another open top bus tour.
We’d last taken this trip back in May when we had stayed here for a few days on our way back to Holland from our three-month sojourn in Brunei. That time had been a bit of a recce trip because we thought Ian might get a job here. Back then, the map made no sense and we could not picture how the different parts of town might fit together. It was either boiling hot or raining, but we are top-deck stalwarts and so both extremes had to be endured. Most of the time it was not much fun and we looked at the city through the spots on the glass screen in front of us.
To be honest, we found the trip a bit slow too. The traffic was abysmal and we seemed to wait for ten minutes or more at every stop when frankly, the view of a block of flats can get old rather quickly. This time, the weather was perfect. There was a lovely breeze ‘up top’ and no rainclouds were in sight. It was a little hazy so I didn’t need to wear a hat either. So, like I said, it was perfect, as was our timing.
This time everything made sense. We didn’t need to wrestle with those stupid headphones that are incapable of staying in my ears, so I am forced to hold them in with both hands. We knew the names of the landmarks anyway.
“Oh, that’s where we went for dinner that time,” I’d say. Or, “I see, we’re at ‘Impossible-to-cross-Road,” or “that’s where you took your laundry to the dhobi.”
“Look at those lovely red rooves!” exclaimed Ian, marvelling at how green the landscape was surrounding the place where we have started the paperwork for an apartment. “I’d like to live there. Do you think we can?”
This time we didn’t even bother to pause at some bus stops because no one wanted to get on or off. This time we were amazed by how lush it was, whereas back in May I’d been dismayed to see how grey everything seemed. This time we felt like locals as we put the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. Last time it had all been a bit of a blur.
And so, to conclude, bus tours are much better the second time around. If you come to KL we advise that you do yours on a national holiday every time.