Today’s rearranged programme proved overambitious, with a great deal more walking in the heat of the day than was envisaged (IEHADHRP), leaving us both footsore and weary. The problems were compounded by Eric’s first choice of visit which won the jackpot in terms of Joyce’s bete noires, ie steps, caves, temples and monkeys. So Eric dragged Joyce off to the Batu caves, a series of caverns used as the centre of Hindu worship, hence containing multiple temples and because of the availability of food in the form of offerings an irresistible attraction to the local longtailed macaques. They were easily reached in 25 minutes via the Kmuter line’s KL station which is across the river from Pasar Seni. We both visited the first cave, Ramayana, which was extravagantly adorned with shrines and friezes representing the Hindu gods, fitted into the natural architecture of the cavern. A short stroll led to the main cave whose daunting 272 step ascent was not to Joyce’s taste so Eric went solo.
On the return we stopped at Bank Negara and walked to the historical heart of old KL in the form of Merdeka square. Here we visited St Mary’s cathedral and the City Art gallery and admired the restored facades of buildings such as the Sultan Samad building and the National Textile Museum.
By this time the heat had really built up but we pressed on towards the botanic gardens in the hope of a quiet afternoon stroll in the shade of exotic vegetation. Unfortunately attempts to reach our goal were frustrated by poor maps and signage and the afternoon turned into a route march, much to Joyce’s disgust. We found the Butterfly Park which proved a boon for refreshments and facilities as well as passing an enthralling hour surrounded by beautiful Lepidoptera. Frustrated by the failure to find an easy access point to the gardens we finally reached, with the help of other visitors, the hibiscus, fern and orchid section but were again frustrated by lack of access to the rest of the gardens as we found ourselves back outside on the road. Further exploration led to the deer park and the lake, with its exotic topiary work, and we finally exited the southern gate into building works. Thoroughly exhausted, with no sign of a taxi, despite there being so many at other points around the gardens, we struggled to KL Sentral where we acquired one from the rank to take us to China town, where we revisited Thursday’s restaurant. From there a short walk returned us to the comfort of our hotel room.