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Kuala Lumpur was one of the most unique cities I’d ever visited. It had everything I could want in a city. Culture, great food, unique museums, and a pool in the hotel for when I wanted to relax. It also had one of the funniest bathroom signs I’d ever seen.
Next to my hotel was a travel agency. During my first day, I made friends with all the travel agents there and booked a couple of tours.
One day, I booked a tour to see some of the landmarks outside of the city. Caves, deer, and elephants? It sounded like a beautiful day appreciating Malaysian nature! So I booked a tour of some gorgeous places and got ready for the day.
Mornings are evil. Even if I’m on vacation, and I booked a tour for early in the morning, they’re still evil. My driver picked me up from the hotel, and we went to the Batu Caves.
The pictures do not do the site justice. There is a golden statue of a god at the foot of the stairs. Next to the stairs is a Hindu temple. In Kuala Lumpur, when you visit a Hindu temple, there is a strict no shoes rule. You can’t even wear socks. The temple, itself, was one of the most colorful places I’d ever seen. The only thing that looked slightly white was the floor. Every column, every wall, even the statues had color.
Then I went up the stairs to the cave. The stairs were steeper than I expected for such a humid day, but I kept going. I wasn’t going to stop. I had to see what was in that cave.
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Another beautiful temple and gorgeous cave scenery. The cave was a nice break from the heat and humidity. It wasn’t even 10 A.M. yet, and I was already sweating off the bindi I was blessed with at the temple outside. Monkeys were hopping around trying to steal people’s bags of snacks. I don’t know why I didn’t expect to see monkeys hanging out, but I didn’t. They were probably trying to cool off too.
Before I went to the Elephant Sanctuary, we stopped at a Deer Park. It was essentially a zoo. There were more than deer at the park. And they had some beautiful habitats. However, the deer weren’t in the best place.
I was saddened when I saw the deer. I walked into a clearing where the deer were in a pen. You were given a bowl of french fries to feed the deer. Once they saw you had food, giant crowds followed you around until you ran out. But you need to be careful! They could accidentally bite your fingers off!
The Elephant Sanctuary
At this point, the day was so hot, sweat was falling down my face. I looked like I just walked out of the shower. The bindi on my face looked like I was bleeding from my head. I was regretting not wearing a more breathable fabric for a shirt.
Before you could enter the Elephant Sanctuary, you had to register saying that yes, you were there. Then, you had to watch a movie about Malaysia’s efforts to save the elephant population there. It was a pretty interesting movie.
After the video, the staff lead you to a field where you could buy sugar cane and feed the elephants. They would wrap your trunks around the sugar cane and take it out of your hands. Some of the elephants looked young.
Later, some of the trainers came out with more elephants and gave a mini presentation with some tricks they taught the elephants. The elephants that we fed and took pictures of were never going to go back into the wild. These elephants were going to be trained to be worker elephants to help new ones get used to the sanctuary.
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Any elephants that were going to go back to the wild stayed hidden away from people. These ones couldn’t be around people for one reason or another. Not every elephant that came to this place was meant to stay there. Especially if they were more aggressive. Those ones would get rehabilitated and released away from people.
After the presentation, you could go to the river and help bathe the elephants. I didn’t get to go in the river. I got a surprise period, so I had to stay out of the water this time. One day, I will go back.
During the day, I wasn’t thinking about getting water in my system. I got so excited about the new sites that water slipped my mind. I had lunch at the Elephant Sanctuary, and had a pop instead of a water.
When we got back to the hotel, I felt a headache coming on. I thought maybe I needed to eat something and grabbed a snack and went to my room. I watched a couple videos online to relax, then laid down and fell asleep.
In the middle of the night, I woke up shivering. My head was pounding at this point. It was like falling asleep outside in the middle of a snowstorm. My teeth were chattering, and I was still sweating. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and it looked like I got hit by a bus. My hair was all over the place, and my face was cooked-lobster-red. I knew I needed to do something. Even if it was just get a bottle of water and pain killers.
There was a 24 hour convenience store right next to the hotel. I staggered in and bought some Tylenol and a lot of water. I found cooling pads that I could stick on my head and sleep with too. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had a fever that night. When I got back to my room, I took the medicine and drank all the water I bought and went back to sleep.
What did we learn?
No matter how much you want to drink that pop, drink water. Sure, it’s pretty cool to see Vanilla Pepsi breathing new life in Malaysia. And seeing how much they use Stevia in their Cokes. But no matter how tempting it is, water is the best thing you can have there.
Malaysia is a super hot and humid country. If you’re a pop addict, like I am, that can get in your way of staying hydrated. It can be hard sticking to water. I messed up a couple times when I was there and drank pop. But water is the best thing to drink there. Stay hydrated!