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Stolen is the unguarded banana.

Summer Vacation 2008 - Dodging monkeys and eating Indian food.

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View Summer vacation 2008 - The return to Malaysia on agc_cwm's travel map.

Day 3, I woke up and felt kind of hungover, which was odd because I've had nothing to drink on vacation. I blame it on the durian. I heard that there is a protein or enzyme in them that actually causes you to warm up as you eat them. Most people recommend drinking a certain type of tea while you eat them.

Moving on. We pulled ourselves together, albeit slowly made our way down for breakfast and then headed off to the Batu Caves. It was a whole lot easier to get out there after we scouted our root yesterday. We got to to the closest train station and decided to brave a cab again. We found a guy who'd use his meter and he took us to the caves. It cost MYR6.50 to get out to the caves. We gave the cabbie a 10, he grabbed it said thank you and basically kicked us out of the cab. He got a nice 50% tip! We haven't had good luck with the cabs so far.

The Batu Caves were discovered in the 1800's and are now an important Hindu religious site. As you look around the caves you can see a lot of Hindu carvings, shrines and paintings. It's easy to tell the Hindu relics apart from the Islamic ones: Hinduism doesn't have a problem depicting the forms from nature.

Last night when we told Weijin we were going to the caves he asked us what we knew about them. We told him we knew there were a lot of stairs and monkeys. Weijin agreed that, indeed, there are lots of steps and monkeys. We knew going in that there were a lot of steps, but I didn't expect as many as there were. 272 steps in total. We discussed afterwards how much it would have sucked to have been the first person to find the cave: there were no stairs then.

The giant statue in front of the caves was completed with in the last year or so. I'm not sure if it fits into the aesthetics of the site or not; the thing is ginormous.

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We poked around and watched the monkeys, scoping out the big alpha male. That way, we'd know which one to avoid.

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Then we started to the climb up the stairs.

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It actually wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. We did stop a few times, to make sure the monkeys were keeping their distance. They kept their distance from us, but some people decided that it'd be a good idea to feed the monkeys. Ugh. What a bad idea. Some people had peanuts, some people had bananas. Some people should know that feeding wildlife is not a good idea.

We completed our climb and stepped into a giant cave. It was huge. The pictures don't do it any justice. In the caves there were a few more Hindu shrines and a few guys making a few bucks taking pictures with snakes. While they were taking one picture with one snake, the guys weren't watching the other snake as it slowly tried to sneak out of the cage. Luckily they noticed the snake before it escaped.

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The monkeys were also very smart and knew that they should go to the area with the most people. This would increase the chances that someone would feed them. This means there were a lot of monkeys in the cave. We watched them for a bit, then noticed they were heading further into the cave.

There was another flight of stairs and more shrines up top. We decided to make our way up there as well. We headed up and found another shrine, more people, and more monkeys. There was one guy up there with a big stick whose job was to try to keep the monkeys away from the people. Court and I figure he must get sooo frustrated with the foolish tourists who keep feeding the monkeys. We poked around here for a while too. And watched a British family try really hard to make sure that their little girl didn't feed or go near the monkeys. At least they had some sense! The top of this cave also opened up outside which provided some nice light in here.

At this point we decided to head back down the stairs.

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As we were walking down we saw a female monkey walking around with a little baby monkey holding on to her.

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We were trying to take some pictures of the two monkeys as it started to head back up the stairs. While the monkey was heading back up the stairs there was a poor tourist heading down the stairs. When BAM! The monkey
grabbed the tourists bag from him, opened it up, grabbed the banana and escaped up over the railing away from the tourist. The monkey took its sweet time eating the banana with a sly grin.

At this point we decided to make our way back to the train station. We talked to the first cabby and he said it was MYR25 back to the station we came from. We mentioned it was too expensive, but he gave us some story about why it was a good deal. We moved on. We went and grabbed another cab. He didn't want to use the meter and he told us something about a coupon. We decided to get out of this cab too. We went out to the main road and hailed a cab. He said he'd use the meter and take us to the correct station. But, I suspect he “forgot” where we wanted to go. He took us the long route and then tried to drop us off somewhere we didn't want to go. It was a little fishy. We told him to take us the monorail. He dropped us off not by the station we originally wanted, but a station further down the line. This station was actually better for us to get back in the city, so it worked out alright in the end.

We got the train back to into the city, swung by the hotel and then headed out for lunch. Court found a restaurant with an antipasto buffet and she really wanted to go there. It was near our hotel so we set off with our map from LP. But we got confused at the intersection just up the street. We wandered down one street, but the restaurant wasn't there. Then we went down a different street, but still no restaurant. We finally found to restaurant on the third try.

We had a lovely buffet lunch. Then we went back to the hotel to do some internetting and rest for a bit.
The only problem is the short rest became a longer rest after I fell asleep for an hour. I woke up then Court fell asleep. It's not vacation until you take a nap. When we both got up we headed down to Starbucks and did some more internetting. We hung out there for a while. Then went off to meet Emily again.

We met up with Emily near her office and she took us down to Little India. She showed us a few shops that sold sari materials, jewelry, and lots of other traditional Indian clothing. We wandered through another little market and headed to an Indian restaurant that Emily usually goes to. She ordered us a bunch of different dishes, thankfully avoiding the spicy ones, and we sat down to eat Indian-style. Using our hands. But, not your left one. That one's for a different purpose.

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There is something kind of refreshing about using your hands to eat. We got a few different Indian desserts and had some masala tea. I forget the names of a lot of the food, but it was great. One of the desserts was basically a ball of milk powder held together with ghee (clarified butter), but mostly what you tasted was the butter. Delightful.

After we ate, we wandered down by the courthouses, around Merdeka Square, and past a crazy pitcher-plant fountain. Then made our way back to the train station. We said our goodbyes and left came back to our hotel to pack it in for the night. We have to get ready for our trip to Brunei tomorrow.

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Posted by agc_cwm 07:00 Archived in Malaysia

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