Friday, August 22, 2014

Yay for Public Transportation!

...And I should have looked at the map a little more closely before going all the way back by the hostel to the Maharajalela monorail station.  Once I was studying the map at the station to decide which stop I needed to buy a ticket for to get to Merdeka Square, I had the epiphany that the center of Kuala Lumpur really isn't that huge and is pretty walkable--I was already halfway there if I had only kept going from the other end of the market.  Too late now; I've already walked all the way back.  I suppose I'm used to Wuhan or places like Beijing, where one stop on the subway is a thirty minute walk at the least and the city sprawl for miles.  Oh, well, I love subway/monorail/light rail/whatever systems. 

I rather collect subway systems, or I suppose I ought to say commuter rail systems as I'm including monorails and such.  As a list-keeping type of person, somewhere or other I have written down all the subways etc.  that I've ever been on.  I don't know what it is about them, but they make me happy.  The Kuala Lumpur version didn't disappoint; since it's above ground most of the time just riding around is a great way to see the city from all angles, and I thoroughly enjoyed keeping an eye out for a view of the Petronas Towers.  

The system is a bit confusing at times--it isn't really one system, but several (the monorail, the Kommuter Rail thing, the light rail...) that mostly join together but occasionally don't.  I had a typical tourist moment of spinning slowly around with a confused look on my face in a public place at the Masjid Jamek station when coming in from the airport trying to figure out how to get to the other line I knew there was supposed to be a connection to--turns out it was up a stairway at an odd angle with a tiny sign obscured by an ice cream vendor.  I got turned around at the Hang Tuah station today--I forgot that you must go down half a flight of stairs, cross under the tracks, and back up half a flight to get to the main part of the station.  This time, however, a grandmotherly lady heading out with her shopping bag saw me studying the signs and, as she spoke pretty good English, chatted with me about my stay in Kuala Lumpur as she led me down and over and up and across and around the corner and down the big escalator to the other line, where we took trains going in opposite directions.  So far, the Malaysian people have been very friendly and welcoming.  


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