October 24, 2008

The Eastern and Oriental Express

-Silhouettes of Hindu gods.-

Originally, we had booked our flights to Singapore in hope that we would be able to get some passport work done at the Canadian embassy. Upon visiting the embassy and discovering that they could do nothing to help us (as usual), we decided to hop on an overnight train to Kuala Lumpur. We'd always heard of travelling by train in Asia but living land-locked in Korea we'd never really had the chance. And so, we bought tickets for The Eastern and Oriental Express.

-The 42 meter statue of the Hindu god, Murugan accompanied by 272 steps which take you up to the mouth of the caves. -

The train left the station at exactly 10pm and we were in for a long, noisy night aboard this Eastern and Oriental Express. Despite the fact that we'd booked sleepers, we slept very little. The little beds provided seems cozy enough. Yet, the night was long and the train was no where near as smooth as our boat to Komodo had been. Even the choppy seas seemed to somehow rock you to sleep amidst their shattering swells. The jerks of the connecting tracks and the shrill squeeling of the iron wheels on the time-worn track were far from soothing.

-With its 100 meter ceiling, this cavern was spectacular.-

We chugged out of the jungles and into the city at the sleepy hour of 6am. We jumped in a taxi and arrived at our hotel just in time for breakfast and then to head back out on the road again, battling the public transit system to reach the amazing Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.

-A kind hearted man lighting candles for his faith.-

We spent a few hours enjoying the caves, the monkeys and the sprawling views of the valley and Kuala Lumpur far below. Many around us had made a pilgrimage from India to worship at this shrine. Apparently, no less than 1.5 million people make the journey up these stairs every year to worship, making it one of the largest religious gatherings in history.

-Looking up, past a temple roof, to the top of the caves.-

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