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Malaysia

Motorcycle Grand Prix


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large_5550_12566402589280.jpgThey zoom past really quickly ... and they buzz like flies (high pitched) because they have tiny motors.
We had a late night departure tonight from Kuala Lumpur [Kuala-Lumpur-travel-guide-1096867] to Perth ... just before midnight in fact. It was going to be another day of lazy gluttony when Kim found out that the Motorcycle Grand Prix was on at nearby Sepang racetrack. Wow! Just the sheer chance of that ... and the fact that we got our hotel room at a steal despite the event!

I opted to stay behind ... the thought of watching lots of glorified scooters go round the track in the hot humid weather didn't appeal ... yes they are glorified scooters, all very low cc, with the highest at 500cc I think.

Even the thought of some god of a racer with the name of a fashion designer, Valentino Rossi didn't appeal. Same with Casey Storer ...

The 5 hour flight to Perth was good ... the very new Air Asia X Airbus A330 was a bit cramped carrying nearly 400 people but I won't complain because it was so ridiculously cheap. It was an amazingly quiet flight where we were seated ... in full climb it was quieter than in a similar seat in a B747 with just the ventilation running (and engines off)!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Finding a Kiwi icon in a day of indulgence


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large_5550_12564470489055.jpgPetronas Twin Towers, home to Suria KLCC mall.
Day of Indulgence

We have a full day or indulgence in KL. This is great city of eating ... the relative affluence means that you can enjoy all the traditional flavours without sacrificing quality ... unlike rural Indonesia, chickens aren’t the size of a quail!

After the disappointment of exploring new malls this May, we opted for well-trodden path ... first to the Twin Towers (officially, Suria KLCC) then Pavilion. Both had amazing food halls but the shopping was a bit high-brow for us ... so we had a detour to Bukit Bintang [Bukit-Bintang-travel-guide-1358163] and Sungei Wang in between where you can get the usual bootleg DVD and blind massage without breaking the bank.

Meeting the former PM

At Pavilion, we ran in former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, surrounded by some fans! He is responsible for putting the country on the world map and bringing many parts of the country into pseudo first world standards.large_5550_12564470482904.jpgPetronas Twin Towers, home to Suria KLCC mall.He has his critics of course ... there have been some mega projects with variable degrees of success ... and he doesn’t hold his punches with his criticism of Western hypocrisy.

A former Kiwi icon turned Malaysian

At the superposh Pavilion mall, we saw a very elegant chinaware (crockery) shop called Crown Lynn. That is a very familiar name for Kiwis ... it was the default crockery for Kiwis during the period where there were import restrictions for these products. Yes, the dark days when people had to buy expensive locally made products ... but people had jobs.

A quick search on Google revealed that Crown Lynn was purchased by a Malaysian ceramic company called Goh Ban Huat. I guess it gave them access to a nice name for their high end tableware products. The world doesn’t need to know that Crown Lynn products were relatively industrial in feel ... thick cups and saucers for Kiwis homes and the Railways!

Crown Lynn suffered a different fate from eg. Royal Doulton or Noritake ... who have moved production to Thailand and Sri Lanka. Instead of adapting to world realities like the others, it faced a demise in all ways but its name.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Back to the big smoke!


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We flew back to KL for a couple of days stay before our journey home. During the flight, I was standing in the front of the cabin waiting for the loo ... so I looked back and saw two of the flight attendants doing the sale of merchandise (t-shirts, caps, toys etc).

One crew member was helping a passenger interested in an umbrella ... presumably the passenger wanted to have a closer look so she opened the umbrella inflight. The other crew member had that "Oh no! We're all going to die look". It's bad luck to open an umbrella indoors right?

Upon arrival, being such a short stay, it made sense to stay at the airport ... at the ridiculously cheap Tune Hotel again. As it turned out the Motorcycle Grand Prix was on at the nearby Sepang track, so it turned out to be the perfect choice!

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Nightstop or not


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When I booked my tickets 7 months ago ... it would be an early morning departure from Kuala Lumpur [Kuala-Lumpur-travel-guide-1096867] to Manado tomorrow and there's no "connecting" flights from Kuching [Kuching-travel-guide-1096915] to Kuala Lumpur at that time. So fortunately, there's Tune Hotels ... a sister company to Air Asia. I couldn't get their cheapest rate but it is still cheap and handy ... right opposite the airport terminal.

The room comes at prices as low as a few cents ... you pay fair prices for options like air-conditioning (a few bucks for the night) and towels. Comfy nicely-sheeted King-Coil beds and luxurious rain-shower are all included.

As it turned out a few weeks after booking, tomorrow's morning flight was rescheduled till the afteroon. As it would only be a minor inconvenience, we didn't rejig our arrangements to trade our nightstop for a same-day connection.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Kim does a Linda Blair


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It is 3am. Kim is rather sick from both ends ... it is like Revenge of the Pharoah meets Linda Blair from Exoricist.

We went to the doctor just to satisfy ourselves that the dehydration isn't too severe that it would affect his kidneys (which were recently impacted by another event).

We don't think it was food-related as we had eaten off the same plate of food for all meals in the last 36 hours ... and it isn't the kind of food, eg. pizza where a fly may have settled on one piece but not another. It seems to be more like what had been going round his family in the last week :-(

To look on the bright side, he has a comfy home to be sick in ... imagine if this had happened yesterday on the plane and in airports.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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