Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The good of Malaysia

Now that the bad has been discussed, here's the lighter side.

So it took 5 hours to get there. I told you about all of the immigration lines and such. On the bus we received a meal for lunch. It was rice with gross chicken sausages that are like hot dogs. Then there was a side of fried fish even though the tour operator told us the only meat they ever served was chicken. The chicken sausages are like vienna sausages. Wierd and yucky. Its like eating a finger. We got to watch crappy movies like Freaky Friday and some horrible movie with Mathew Brodericks wife (who I can't remember her name for some reason).

We stopped at a rest stop on the trip and it was like any rest stop- dirty, grimy, and filled with awesome trash souveniers. The food looked a little scary but I ate some on the ride back. It wasn't good. Oh, and the bathrooms....the bathrooms are soooo scary. Everywhere in Malaysia almost. Except the fancy mall and the hotel, most bathrooms were scary places. You have to pay at some of them and a little lady sits there and takes 30 ringit (10 cents) from you. So you pay to step into hell. In Singapore they have all normal toilets and maybe 1 hole in the floor toilet. In Malaysia they have all hole in the floor toilets and sometimes one regular toilet. I used many holes in the floor but its awkward. Its dirty and gross and luckily you don't have to touch anything. But there's a mysterious hose hanging on the wall that I presume is like a bidet but I don;t understand why everyone doesn't have water all over them. Also, how do the ladies in the burka things do it? Their outfits are dragging the floor and they go in THERE and don't get piss all over them? Its perplexing. Also in Malaysia, I saw a lady folding trashboags. Standing in the washroom, folding trashbags. She had what looked to be 500 to do and was on about 50. Then another day, in another washroom, I saw a lady re-rolling toilet paper. She was taking the partial rolls and putting them on the new rolls. She was a restroom attendant so why not let the rolls run out and change it when its almost done? She's in there all day. Anyway, I digress. I was talking about the bus and rest stop. Anyway, the rest stops are as brutal as a central mississippi truckstop with no AC. The scenery on the trip was mostly palm plantations. They are #1 for palm oil export and it was quite lovely. The mountains and hillsides are all stepped and loaded with palm trees.

When we arrived we went to our hotel. It was the Hotel Istana and was really nice. It takes 26 people and 3 hours to check in. But all of the employees were very nice and had awesome outfits. The dudes looked like royalty and the ladies had these asian dresses with slits to the tops of their legs. Very hot. I've never stayed in a hotel with robes to use. Oh, and the water pressure was like turning a fire hose on yourself in the shower. I think I ripped the skin off my back.

The family decided to eat at the hotel for almost every meal. I wanted to be more adventurous but I think the pickpocketing made us a little wary. Anyway, the food wasn;t great. I had something called Wanton mee and it was like hot water with noodles and shrimp dumplings. It was lame. The breakfast bar the next day was odd and while it was stocked full with everyhing under the sun, I really wish I had some bacon. But since its heavily Muslim, almost all food is halal which means safe for muslims to eat.

The first morning there we went to Peronas Towers. Its the picture above. We got there at about 8:25 and you go down one floor and stand in line for tickets. They limit the number of visitors each day so by 9:30 the tickets were all gone. We were in the early batch so we went up quickly. Its quite a view from the skybridge at the 42nd floor. And the elevators are amazing. You can't feel any movement and it took like 30 seconds to go 42 floors. Everything has a mall attached so there was a nice fancy mall at the towers that was like a 6 story Phipps Plaza.

After the tower we went to Outback Steakhouse. It was nice to have some home-ish food but I would have chosen elsewhere. But my chicken fingers were delicious! Everywhere are these open air curry houses and I would have loved to try one but they did look scary. The cleanliness factor is not like the US. Its more like the scary redneck karaoke bar I worked at in college. I can imagine the roaches and rats that scamper everywhere at night. And when I'm not looking. Nothing says great vacation like food poisoning and then a 5 hour bus ride. So all in all I'm glad we ate safe in Malaysia. I had enough bad there.

After lunch we went to Batu Caves. This is pictured above. You arrive and there are booths of people makinf flower garlands to offer to the gods I guess. Then you go in the gaes and see this huge statue. Its sooooo huge. I mean, seriosuly. Then you climb 272 steps to the top. The most awesome thing is that there are macaques everywhere! But daddy monkeys, baby monkeys, poo slinging was awesome! I could have touched one if I had a rabies shot and a deathwish. Some man had some bananas and the monkeys wanted them and he had them in his shirt and was trying to shoo the monkeys away. I thought it was funny. Silly, don't bring bananas to a monkey fight. Once inside the caves its beautiful. There's an opening in the top so its daylit and there are bats sqeaking and flying around. The birds are calling from their nests in the cave walls and there are shrines everywhere. I imagine 20 years ago it was much more fantastic as it is now littered and has big metal barriers to keep the tourists back and cantained away from the statues.
When it was ime to leave we grabbed a cab. They are very easy to get and you can debate your price with them. You do this at the beginning to ensure they don;t ride the meter or rip you off. We were very careful to ask at the hotel what the rates hsould be. 30 ringit from the caves was about 10 bucks. Thats very do-able. I wish we had one more day in Malaysia because the cab driver mentioned the chocolate factory "that is just fruit" and the pewter factory and the leather factory. But we were beat and it was rainy and hot and sticky, and a nap sounded just fine!
That night we ate at one of those Brazilian meat restaurants. It was tons of meat and good night to me! Oh, and we also discovered then that Scott's dad had his credit card compromised and someone in Calgary had a good time with it. Money woes abound but we did fine. Scott, Lenny his brother and I went walking around and enjoying the night markets. It was a totally different scene from the afternoon. It was like Buckhead in dayime and buckhead at night- minus the drunks and sluts. Well, they did have scantily clad girls offering Massage. heh heh.
We went to the KL towers the next day. Its like the skyneedle thing in Seattle. It has a 360 degree viewpoint and at the bottom- MONKEYS! These were different monkeys but still adorable. They had fuzzier heads. We walked around a bit afterwards and then went to catch our bus. This is when Scott decides to look for his passport. We can't find it. We emptied every bag and flipped through books and papers. Then we did it again. The bus arrived, Scott's dad is getting irritated, Scott runs upstairs to check the room again, his brother goes to the concierge and checks to see if it was turned in. I empty the bags again and Scott comes back and finds it immediately. Right where I looked 5 times. But now his brother is missing. The bus is waiting for us and where is Lenny? Finally he's back and the bus takes off. WHEW! I almost had to stay behind with Scott and go to the embassy and get a new passport. But then we would have had to stay and extra night and my credit card was turned off. But it would have been quite an adventure! Luckily we didn't have to do it though. Its nice to be back at home base. Today we go to Arab street and fabric shop!


Diana said...

This is the finest travel blog I have ever read.

Theodore said...

Sarah Jessica Parker

You should apply for a j.o.b. with the Travel Channel

'Cuz I Felt Like It! said...

Holy shit..."Don't bring bananas to a monkey fight"!! I serious;y almost peed.

Anonymous said...

All of that sounds badass!