We left Kuala Lumpur on board of an overnight KTM train to Alor Star (Alor Setar). Heads up for anyone looking for sleeping cart: buy the tickets well in advance. You can do it here online.
Another of my dreams came true. Not trans Siberian, but still exciting. I have to say it was more comfortable than I expected. We got tickets for the last compartment on top benches opposite to each other. We didn’t even get a chance to settle in when we saw a small service cart approaching. A girl and a guy were pushing it towards our beds, then stopped foe 20 seconds and started to walk back again. Without a word. This is your service so if you want to buy something to eat or drink here’s your chance.
I woke up before sunrise. Lying on my bed I was considering what the weather will be like and trying to figure out the route of rain during rainy season. Having no idea what so ever about meteorology I made up theories of where it should be raining and where not. I went to the toilet which was thankfully cleaned. Breakfast – terribly sweet cookies and mango juice. God, save us all from forced sweet breakfasts. A. had potato bun which tasted like bread plait. Better option.
Just 20 minutes before our stop steward told us there is a restaurant compartment and we could have coffee!
When we got off that train the only thing we could think of was coffee! Outside the station just behind all the taxis there was a plastic canvas spread above small table and portable kitchen. We sat down among the locals and asked for “kopi susu” which means coffee with milk. This caused a lot of joy and undeserved suspicion that we know how to speak Malay.
Our taxi driver on the way to the ferry (MR25) turned out to be really friendly and talkative. He had never heard of Poland. Has 4 children with Thai wife, 2 studying at the University – one Arabic law and the other Arabic language. They are married over 32 years and his oldest child is 23 years old. The main plantations around Alor Star are rice (not brown), palm trees and rubber. The brown rice is grown in Borneo and tends to be really expensive.
He believes Borneo is really beautiful even though he only saw it on TV, never travelled. He used to be a fisherman but driving a taxi is more profitable. He asked us if there is anyone famous from Poland. “Walesa?” “No” “Dudek?” “No” “John Paul II?” … embarrassing silence; A. “Not everyone likes him…” Blond moment what can I say…
The ferry cost MR23 and the remedy against mosquitoes MR23.80 and it turned out this was this natural substance that doesn’t work. We got on the boat. It looked dirty and old. Nobody wanted to sit next to us. This might have been the whole day and night without shower. It took us 1,5 hours to get to the island. We watched Malay movie about a woman who runs away from her husband with their child co he hits her. The passage was rough and the boat was kind of falling apart. The pillars meant to hold the roof above our heads were loose and didn’t help a bit. Just before we got to the island it started to rain and it rained all the time this day and throughout the evening. I was tired, quite hungry and discouraged. But we made it.
We managed to find cheap place to stay and food but more about it in my next post.