Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 6 2011 Kuala Lumpur

First of all, my apologies. I didn't bring the right plug for my camera, so I have no way to transfer my pictures to my blog until I get home. I decided I didn't want to wait a month to create blog posts, however, so I'll post as I go, and add pictures later.

Boston to Frankfort to Singapore to KL. All in all it's safe to say that was almost 2 days of traveling. I left Boston on the afternoon of the 3rd, and finally arrived in KL the morning of the 5th. But flying business class, it's really not that bad. Just having a roomy seat that lies down makes all the difference in the world. It was kind of fun flying two different airlines. I flew Lufthansa from Boston to Frankfort, and Sing Air the rest of the way. Both had comfortable seats, decent food, clean, quiet lounges. I took a shower in the lounge in Frankfort, and that helped. I have to say the food on the Sing Air flight was really good, just like I heard.

My luggage arrived in KL, which was a good sign. My phone worked right away, so I was able to call Lee and let him know I had arrived safely. And Balan, our driver, met me when I came out of customs, waving a sign with my name on it and shouting "Nill!"

It's a long drive from the KL airport to Mont Kiara, the suburb where Lee's apartment is. I soaked up the jungle vegetation, the clusters of high rise apartments, the left side driving traffic.

Lee's apartment is very nice. I unpack, eat leftover meatloaf for lunch (I've missed my husband's cooking!), and decide I should do a little exploring.

First I check out the exercise room. Two treadmills, an elliptical, weight machines and free weights; it will do for rainy days, weight-training, and times when the heat drives me indoors. I turn to leave, and realize I have no idea how to open the doors! The building doors are secured by an electronic pass, which let's me in to various area, but then how do I get out? Fortunately there was a man on one of the treadmills, or I might be there still. He showed me how to press the large black button to make my exit. Thanks goodness!

Then I check out the pool. It's huge, beautiful, and deserted. Ancient plastic lounge chairs disfigured by the remains of black mold, sit here and there in the grass. The water looks cool and inviting. I sit down in the shade of an umbrella and open my book. Ow! I slap away what I think is a biting fly and continue reading. Ow! yikes, ow again! Finally I look down and find myself being attacked by mosquitos! Well this won't do! Next thing I know I'll have dengue fever! Don't they spray around here?

So now what to do? Sitting around the apartment until Lee gets home is not a good idea. I need sunshine and activity to help myself stay awake and fight jet lag. Lee has left me directions on how to walk to a nearby mall, so that's what I decide to do.

It's warm and sunny out, but not overly humid. if I stay in the shade while walking as much as possible it's not too bad. The is a lot of construction going on, and a lot of traffic too. The streets are tree lined and hospitable, however, with plenty of foot traffic. I stop at a coffee shop for an iced latte. I wander around a large courtyard lined with restaurants. Children shriek and play in a fountain. I peek into the mall, but decide that I will save it for another day. Lee will be getting home soon and it is time to go back.

While taking a shower I hear Lee enter the apartment. It is so nice to see my husband! We chatter about things companionably. I take a short nap, and soon it's time to go to dinner and do a little exploring.

We choose a Vietnamese restaurant close to the city center. The traffic is terrible, as everyone is rushing home to break the Ramadan fast. Lee explains the vagaries of KL taxis. The blue taxis are regulated strictly, with newer vehicles and standardized meter fares. They are the most expensive, approximately Hong Kong taxi fares. The red taxis are more fly-by-night. The vehicles are older. They have meters but they may try to scam you, so Lee says always ask a red taxi if they use the meter before you get in, and be sure that you have small bills, because one of their favorite tricks is to say they can't make change. They cost half as much as the blue taxis, but you have to be careful.

We take a red taxi to the restaurant and it's fine. He takes the back roads and avoids the worst of the traffic, but it's still pretty bad. KL traffic is worse than Hong Kong, better than Bangkok, maybe.

The restaurant is in a western expat area, with lots of guest houses, foot massage parlors, and cafes. As the sun sets, we eat spring rolls, beef noodle salad, caramel chicken, and drink beer. The restaurant is good, but it's not Nha Trang, or even Pho 88 in Lowell.

We take a blue taxi back, and he regales us with tales of police corruption in Malaysia. We pass a night market, teaming with food stalls and crowds of people. I want to go there! We pass stages where pop singers blare. Trees are strung with tiny strands of drooping blue and white lights. It's very pretty, and looks a bit like Hannukah decorations, but don't tell the Malaysians I said that!

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