What a genius idea

Trip Start Jun 17, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2011

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Where I stayed
Anjung KL Guesthouse Kuala Lumpur
Read my review - 1/5 stars
What I did
Hop on, hop off bus tour

Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Friday, September 9, 2011

Finally!! My detox is over and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I'm so excited!! I track down the driver that was supposed to come pick me up; and I ask him to wait for me as I need to pull some money from the ATM. Yep, the ATM that swallowed my card. That one.

I can't believe it! The BANK OF ISLAM ATM at the KL International Airport does not accept foreign cards and just eats them. Just like that. "Oh, yes, didn't you see the notice?" You mean the tiny, pink piece of paper that is casually posted NEXT to the ATM and not ON the ATM? No, I didn't. I just got of a plane, I'm tired and hungry. "Well, you might get your card back on Monday." It's Friday night, I have no local money, I have no friends/family here and I'm leaving next Tuesday early AM. You've got to be kidding me. I call my bank, in London, who was, as always, not helpful at all. Barclays, this is the last drop, I am changing banks. "Oh, by the way, they will probably destroy the card. That's what they always do". "And yes, this has happened to other people before. I think this has happened about 200 times now." So the airport manager doesn't think it's a STUPID idea to have only one ATM at the airport, that's located right outside international arrivals, that doesn't accept any foreign cards and just eats them instead? May I have this person's phone number please? I got him on the phone, I'm not sure what he was about to say as tatatataaaa.... along came Carol. Carol was a stranger, and she saved me. She called Bank of Islam, yelled at them, set them straight, talked to numerous customer service people, made sure we found the correct police station to file a report, paid me a Starbucks frappuccino, and she bought me some food and water when I thought I was going to faint (I had just finished my detox and they hadn't properly fed me on the plane). She even tipped the driver as he had waited for me for hours and Carol would refuse to accept any money from me. OK, I didn't really have any money to give; however I had some USD. The last Bank of Islam customer service guy told us that Safeguard would drop by the airport to empty the machine. For security reasons he couldn't tell me at what time they would get there. So I decided to sit it out and just wait. On our way back, from the police station, to the airport, Carol said "I think you're going to get your card back soon". When we arrived at the airport, Safeguard was at the monster machine. I handed over a copy of my passport, a copy of the police report, and after 4 hours of waiting, pleading and yelling, I got my card back. Thank you Carol, thank you Muny! You are rock stars!! I will pass on the good karma. Manager of the KL airport: The ATM? NOT a genius idea, OK? Got it?

Kuala Lumpur is a pretty fantastic city. The Petronas Twin Towers are very impressive, facilities are very modern and they have Starbucks! And Sushi King! So I indulged. I watched the Rugby World Cup at the local Irish Pub (South Africa vs Wales). And I decided that rugby players are pretty attractive. I did the 'hop-on-hop-off bus tour and had a wonderful time at the butterfly park. I made a new friend, named Sibili III. It was a small, cute butterfly and it sat on my head while I strolled through the park.

My last day turned out to be a little different than planned. There was this guy at the entrance of one of the malls. He was begging and had an open flesh wound on his leg. It looked so bad, it creeped me out. So I decided to pass on that good karma. And I called a taxi and took him to the hospital where they treated the wound (it was a bit late as he had been running around like that for a very, very long time) and took X-rays. The specialist told me that the best thing for this man was to amputate the lower part of his leg. I kind of knew that already. The poor guy refused so all I could do was order a taxi to wherever it is that he lives. I never learned his name, we didn't exchange any words as he did not speak English. But I hope that I comforted him a bit by just being there by his side (and paying for his hospital visit). I wish him well... There are hardly any social support systems in place in KL. If you're old, or sick or just poor and you have no relatives or friends who are willing to take care of you, you are f*cked. No homeless shelters. How bad is that??

This experience made me think of starting a charity. As I could help other people/animals along the way; while traveling or whenever. But where to start? I've got some investigating to do.

Exit Kuala Lumpur, enter Singapore!  


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