You'll Never Walk Awone!

Trip Start Jan 16, 2011
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Trip End Jul 30, 2011


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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Saturday, July 16, 2011

So, we had booked ahead months ago for my real birthday present which was to happen when we were in Kuala Lumpur. We got tickets to see the Liverpool vs Malaysia XI pre-season match at the Bukit Jalil national stadium. We were lucky that the match was held when we were planning to be in Kuala Lumpur, however it was at the end of our stay so I'll talk about it later.

We figured as always that we'd just find a place to stay when we got to the airport and grab a bus into the city. Sadly once we arrived we realised that it was high season in Malaysia and that a lot of places were booked (and expensive!) Luckily we found a funky hostel that wasn't too pricey and headed out to unpack and explore the city.

We were both struck by how diverse Kuala Lumpur is. It's population is a really interesting mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese, where each group has a really strong presence. Along one street you get food stalls selling Indian Roti, Malay Nasi Lemak and Chinese Fried Noodles within a few steps. Its such an interesting mix and makes the place so easy to lose yourself in just by wandering around. We headed to the tourist centre in the city centre to pick up a decent map and start exploring.

We visited the iconic Petronas towers a couple of times, including the first night. Lit up, these become extremely impressive to look at and dominate the skyline (making it easy to find your way back if you get lost!)

The next few days we wandered extensively around the KLCC, (the shopping centre at the bottom of the towers -  which had a great art gallery!) Little India and Chinatown, which were full of markets and shops. The food was great, just snacking at different places as we went around.

On Thursday, a couple of days before the match, we figured we'd go and get our tickets from the stadium (always nice to actually have the tickets just incase of a mess up) and were very happy to find out that we were just in time (through complete luck) for the training session which we had no idea about. Grabbed a couple of scarves to blend in and went inside.

The session was a great bonus. We got to see Ian Rush, Phil Thompson and Kenny do a lap, as well as all the players doing a practice game. Someone gave Thompson a mic to interview Rushie and Kenny which was completely pointless as the crowd were making too much noise and their accents were too strong for anyone to understand. 30,000 people turned up just for the training, which helped Gem get an idea about how the match was going to be (a complete sellout)

Match day we headed over pretty early (I wanted to see if they would upgrade the ticket - obviously they said no) so we could get a decent seat (free seating in our ticket block) and get into the spirit of things. The stalls outside went on for miles and everyone was going crazy (first time ever for Liverpool in Malaysia so everyone was making the most of it!) There were giant queues 5 hours before kick-off.

The match was great, especially for Gem at her first ever game. We were kitted out with tops and scarves (Gem also got temp tattoos and binoculars just in case) and got seats as early as we could, right above the halway line, perfect!

First half was tight, finishing 1-1, but did include Charlie Adam's first Liverpool goal. Second half was really great with 7 goals, including 2 each from Ngog and Maxi, and one from Gem's favourite Dirk. Aquilani was easily man of the match and looked amazing for anyone wondering about Liverpool next season. Really hope we keep and use him as he looked sharp. Cole and Poulsen should be left in Malaysia, not worth the plane fare.

Anyway the atmosphere was great (everyone was both a Liverpool and Malaysia fan) and the crowd cheered everything. 80,000 singing I'll Never Walk Alone in strong Malaysian accents was funny. The flares and madness at the end gave the match a really good send off.

Needless to say I loved it! Gem had a great time at her first game. We both really enjoyed KL and will give ourselves a couple more days there just before we fly home; to shop properly and enjoy the wonderful food one last time. Off to Penang, then Singapore. Not long now!
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