"Do you study here?"
It would be the persistent question of the day, and if I hear it one more time, I'd puke. Seriously!
I decided earlier in the morning that I wanted to check out Cyberjaya, this new city (which opened in 1997) designed as Malaysia's multimedia. It is located in the district of Sepang, Selangor, some 50 kilometers from KL. It aspires to be the Silicon Valley of Malaysia, but for the most part, the idea hasn't exactly soared. But it has developed into a university city boasting of 30,000 students, 19% of whom come from 80 countries.
WHERE'S THE BUS?
After brunch, I took KLIA Express (9.50 ringgit) to Putrajaya Sentral. I had to wait for the commuter Rapid KL bus that would take me to Cyberjaya (2 ringgit). As frequent as there were buses plying the streets of Putrajaya, those plying Cyberjaya are few and far between. I reached Putrajaya Sentral after 1:30PM so I can only guess that I must have missed the bus by a couple of minutes or so. The wait would take me 30 minutes, or increments of half an hour per departure.
Its 37,000 day population seemed like an over estimation, and its 10,000 residents were probably holed inside offices - or maybe sleeping. The people in the bus with me looked foreign alright: strong middle eastern features, thick bushy brows, hairy arms; there were African guys and some Chinese students. These same populace of students would eventually take the same bus with me later in the afternoon. I was actually surprised to find them get right back to Putrajaya Sentral. I wouldn't be caught dead staying in Cyberjaya in between classes if I were a student. But maybe it is conducive to learning. Otherwise, why were there student accommodations scattered around the Multimedia University compound?
CLUELESS IN CYBERJAYA
My destination: Cyberjaya Lake Gardens - better known as Taman Tasik Cyberjaya, which my bus driver didn't have an idea of. Even when I used Taman Tasik, he had this funny look, and I couldn't really pester him off for too long as he was driving. And I didn't want to look like the bothersome twerp in front of foreign students. I was as clueless as our driver was and there's really not enough literature about Cyberjaya.
It was eerie. The sidewalk was immaculately spruced up with hedges, and the grass were impeccably manicured. Whoever conceptualized this new city was a great mind, even the flora is well planned. Despite its ghostly prescience, this place would be populated in the next 10 years of so. Build it, and they will come, I was sure of that. Formet PM Mahathir is such a visionary, I am gradually turning into a fan!
I saw familiar faces from the bus. The food stalls were mostly African and Middle Eastern food which can be had at 8 to 9 ringgit per plate. I spotted a Chinese shop called "Hee Soon" where food on display looked tasty - and cheap - at 4.50 ringgit, with free cold tea drink. Who could resist that, really? I ordered Stir Fried Spring Chicken Onion with Chicken Rice which was delicious, it reminded me of food from Penang!
THE HOLY GRAIL
I navigated through a tree lined boulevard in the uneven terrain up this hill until I spotted the guard house (which looked like an office). It was a room, with glass panels as walls. The guard would stop everyone passing through. I had to carefully crawl down the "hill" as there were no steps at all. The guard warmly shook my hand when he learned I was Filipino. "You study here then," he muttered. I just smiled, then went walked 3 to 4 blocks further to where he said I'd find the lake. I crossed the highway, until I finally saw the Lake Gardens!
That was such a relief as, I swear, I was about to give up. It was like finding the Holy Grail while the sun was bearing down its harsh heat. My shirt was drenched with sweat, and i was already mechanically walking towards the waters to "get this done and over with".
WIND CHIME ISLAND
The rest of the place has a Lookout Tower, a Ginger Garden, a Children's Playground, a Fitness Area, and a romantic lake in the center of everything! It was beautiful - and no one to see them but me. I was glad to finally get there.
This is the Eye in the Sky!