Kuala Lumpur White Trash

Trip Start Feb 02, 2009
1
31
47
Trip End Dec 24, 2009


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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Friday, July 24, 2009


Hello again!


As you all should know I pride myself, above all else, on quality. Well perhaps pride is too strong a word but certainly quality is amongst the list of properties I hope is included in my writings... my column if you will..., editorial, pronunciations, documents, publication... I'm just trying to not use the B word. For it is not a word that I like. It cheapens both what I do and, as a result, what you are doing whilst reading it. Anyway, I digress, where was I? ... quality... it is normally quite significant but as I'm about to visit four countries in a little over a week things must change. Travelpod only shows you as having visited a country if you have submitted a – as much as I hate to say it – blog from there. This being the case and me being a completest and wanting Around the World In Eighty Hats to display the accurate number of visited countries I am going to subject you to an article from each. Quantity, quantity, quantity. I would usually just round them up and submit from the Philippines and Australia, for instance, but I am keen for the record to actually show how many countries I have visited. So I'm gonna double the output and you can enjoy stops in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Australia. As a result you may feel the tiniest hint of padding along the way. But I would be very surprised...


When last you left me I was living like Howard Hughes without the money in a hotel in Krabi. I hardly ever went out except to eat a luxurious morning breakfast with the largest fruit plate known to man. I rather took to Krabi as it's cheap, friendly and really easy to get around without getting lost. Also the cricket was on and England were doing rather well. Its been four years since England were doing rather well so I was excited by this development. Krabi is normally the kind of place you use as a stepping stone to more interesting places so no one stays for longer than a day or two at the most. As I ended up staying for five days I felt rather like the Major in Fawlty Towers. All the staff new me and I felt very much like a valued resident. When they did inquire as to how much longer I was staying – obviously not because they were bored of my continued presence – I had to answer – quite honestly – that it all depended on how England were getting on and more specifically on how well Freddy Flintoff's knee kept up. This confused them a great deal but the truth will often be a bitter pill to swallow. Or something like that. You can already tell I'm dragging this out a little can't you?


When I finally got off my bottom to go to Kuala Lumpur I decided that I'd have nothing but the best. So I booked a V.I.P coach to make the nineteen hour trip and waited for it outside my hotel as I said my goodbyes to the staff. What turned up wasn't exactly V.I.P however. If you've seen Little Miss Sunshine you'll know exactly what I mean. It was a camper van basically. The sort of thing illegal immigrants sneak over the Mexican border to get to America in. This was not going to be a fun nineteen hours. I was the only foreigner on board as well and the other passengers eyed me suspiciously. I couldn't blame them. I would also eye me suspiciously if I were them. But the gods were shining on me on this occasion and - after the first three hours and a stop-off at a border town – I was relocated onto a bone fide V.I.P bus with three really nice fellow travellers: Olly, Becks and Katie. They were all very young, very beautiful and very entertaining (I tried not to let the side down too heavily by being old, dog-eared and dull) and we jabbered about different places in South East Asia until we all fell asleep on our posh bus. At 2.20 am we awoke to find ourselves in Kuala Lumpur. Or K.L if you're super cool. I simply call it K. Even at such an ungodly hour it was impressive. But we were far more interested in getting some proper sleep so jumped into the first hostel that would have us and got some rest.


Kuala Lumpur really is very nice. It's unassuming, clean, warm, there's no beeping, it's industrious but not overly hectic like Saigon or Bangalore and the people are all really nice. Well, I say all. As soon as I woke up the next day I set off for the two massive landmarks of the city – and I do mean massive – the KL communications Tower and the Petronas Towers. I do like really big buildings for some reason. It might be the majesty of seeing the greatest architects of our time trying to recreate the Tower of Babel and touch the face of God or it might just be they look really cool. Anyway, on my way into the heart of the city to find these buildings or, more likely from past experiences, get lost, I was approached by a sort of Indian Shaman type character. My suspicions were first aroused when he introduced himself as an Indian Shaman. Being the people-person I am and this being the first resident of the new city – nay – new country that I'd encountered I decided to hear him out. This proved to be a foolish decision. It transpired that – far from needing my money – this chap earns thousands of Malaysian Ringgits a day – he merely wanted to show me his mystical powers and then – if I was a truthful and spiritual human being – he would let me buy him his lunch. To help prove his supernatural skills he pulled one of the oldest confidence tricks in the book, and he didn't do it too well neither.


You may well have seen this trick on bad magic shows. The 'magician' gives you a piece of paper onto which he has already predicted the answers to three questions as yet unasked. You are told to hold onto this tight. He then asks you your favourite colour, animal and key to future happiness or some-such. A really good magician will have you think the answers in your head and then, hey presto!, when you look at the paper the answers are all there and correct. My man told me to give my answers out loud whilst he furiously wrote them down on another piece of paper whilst trying to look like he wasn't. He then asked for my piece of paper.


"Why do you need this back? I haven't even looked at what it says yet."

“I need to press it against my forehead to complete some dubious spiritual connection.”

“But your just going to swap it with the piece of paper I just watched you write my answers down on!”

“You should have more faith.” (said whilst fumblingly swapping the two pieces of paper.)


Needless to say I told him I wasn't that amazed when his 'predictions' came true and that he wasn't going to get a free lunch. He didn't like this turn of events and, no word of a lie, told me to “go and jump in the sea, you bad man!” Now, my geography isn't white hot or anything but I figured KL was a fair old distance from the sea. Maybe that was part of my punishment. Walk for three days to the coast then launch yourself into the surf. Either way I wasn't going to do it and my first interaction with a local – even if he wasn't very local at all – hadn't gone swimmingly. If you'll be good enough to pardon the pun.


After my exciting exchange I headed to the KL Tower – the fourth highest telecommunications tower in the world at 421 meters fact fans! - and it really is impressive. You get to go up to a viewing platform that is actually higher than the one at the Petronas Towers even though the Petronas are higher overall. It wasn't until the next day that I got to go up that one though (the fifth largest building in the world at 452 metres tall in case you were wondering.) You need to queue up for tickets to the Petronas Towers viewing bridge and they stop handing these out at around eleven in the morning so I'd missed the boat on my first day. I had a restless night that first night as my hostel room was directly above a dance club and they didn't stop their pumping bets until six in the morning. Needless to say I had a little difficulty waking up. Once I did I ran to the towers only to be told that they had run out of tickets. This was not good. I was flying to Manila the next day so it was now or never! Using all my not inconsiderable charm I tried to impress upon the lady behind the counter the urgency of my situation. The charm and the urgent plea fell on deaf ears. If charm can indeed fall anywhere. Fortunately for yours truly luck was on my side. A family from Perth, Australia, had been given an extra ticket by accident and were happy to let me have it. Bless those beautiful people! I paid them back by rattling off a few amusing anecdotes from my trip on our way up to the Viewing Deck. It is pretty impressive – as my photos will attest – and the park around the building itself is really nice to sit in and a stark contrast to the steel and glass monsters surrounding it.


On my way out I passed the designated smoking area for the towers. Now, ten thousand people work for the gas and oil company in the towers and of them I'd say... eight thousand five hundred of them are outside having a fag break at any one time. It was like a street protest or one of those home-made videos from Iran after the elections. The air was thick with smoke like a forest fire. The cigarette industry need fear for nothing. Malaysia has your back! Bearing in mind how long it would take to get down to the smoking area with the sheer size of the place you could probably take up half your eight hour working day tabbing it up. No wonder the crowds were so large outside. It really pays to smoke there. And it paid for me to visit the coffin nail chuffers as one of them was wearing a rather dashing hat and I nabbed it for my collection. Bosh!


And that pretty much wraps up my very short time in Malaysia. Other than the occasion I, after hearing his accent, asking a guy at my hostel if he was American only for him to tell me he was Canadian. It was about the fortieth time on my trip I'd made this mistake. “Oh, I'm terribly sorry” I said, fearing his annoyance, “No problem mate, I'm not offended!” he jovially replied back. “Bloody hell I would be.” I said. “It'd be like someone thinking I was Welsh!” He had no idea what I was talking about.


Next time; I visit my Father in deepest, darkest Philippines. It promises to be a sight-seeing, well-eating, comfy-sleeping roller coaster of a ride! Until then,


Lots of Love,

Dan. x.








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