So this blog has fallen by the wayside due to lack of internet, tiredness and distractions, but I’ve been keeping notes in my little book which looks like a Thai passport.
I woke up on day 5 with a headache and the fan in Cyrus’s room makes me feel like I’m inside a washing machine. And it’s hot. I have to sit in the living room and close my eyes. It begins to rain and I can hear it drumming on the tin roofs below.
Cyrus and I deliberate on where to go and settle on the Batu caves, which he has never visited. We don’t get out until 4pm and it’s wet still. The bus we have to get leaves from the centre and immediately it gets stuck in immovable traffic. Later we find out that there is a direct train link there, but it isn’t in the Lonely Planet and it wasn’t there a year a go when I last went there.
This time the enormous 50m statue is cloaked in scaffolding.
Our banana leaf curry at the Indian Veggie restaurant at the foot of the steps going up into the cave temple is cold. Climbing the steps in the rain we are observed by monkeys. Suddenly a scream and I turn round to see a terrified girl retreating from a snarling monkey who has snatched her carrier bag of jasmine flowers intended for a Vishnu statue. He shoots up onto a pillar to eat the flowers.
Inside the cave at the 2 temples it is the time of day for blessings. At the top temple I light a ghee candle and am blessed by a sadu who asks my name then daubs my forehead with a red dot. His friend photographs us. Cyrus is reluctant to enter the temple. At the foot of the hill there are 3 more temples. At one there is a lavish wedding. At the next, which is a new one there stands a towering green statue of the god of health, who is ripping open his hear to show Vishnu and Shiva. In the temple is some kind of informal gathering and eating. A holy man notices me and invites me in to share some food: idli, chick peas, sweet potato, rice. After a bit of persuasion Cyrus joins me to eat. But, we are already full.
Back in KL at the twin towers it is strangely hot at 9pm. We join the throngs of tourists to take some nocturnal illuminated shots of the towers. My camera mists up in the rain and gives some interesting ghostly haloes to the pictures. We have no idea what to do next and walk in circles. Cyrus doesn’t know the city and can’t suggest what we can do. So, we head back to Ampang and spend half an hour at the food court. I’m the only white person there and still have my red dot on my forehead. I have a beer and a lime juice, which turns out to be slices of lemon in iced hot water.