Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (21st - 25th August 2007)

Tuesday, 21st August 2007: Mum and I got up at 5am this morning to catch the 6am taxi to Kuala Lumpur (better known as KL). Took about 3.5 hours to get to Ah-Yi's house in Sri Hartamas (residential suburban neighborhood in KL) where we were staying for 3 nights.

KL is the capital city of Malaysia, the largest city in the country located in the state of Selangor. It is home to some of the tallest buildings in the world and still mushrooming with many skyscrapers and office towers. Lots to see and do in this busy city!

Met up with long-time family friend, Auntie Pat, for lunch. It was lovely to catch up with her for I've not seen her for some time :) She had to pick up her daughter so we decided to continue our chit-chat another day.

Some of my highschool classmates who were living in KL managed to organise a quick get-together after work - was so nice to see them! We spent a short few hours getting everyone up to speed on what's been happening in our lives but it wasn't enough. Wished we could spend more time together. We need to get-together again, girls, and keep in touch! Photo taken together (top: Cindy and me; bottom: Pih Fen, Tsuey Yi, Siaw Kim and Wei Yee):

Wednesday, 22nd August 2007: Went out with Mum for breakfast nearby Ah-Yi's place. One of my favourite Malaysian food for breakfast is roti canai (flatbread served with spiced gravy made from chick peas). Yum, yum! You could order it cooked with different fillings, such as buttered, sardine, onion, egg, banana or just plain. And it's cheap - cost about 50 cents per roti with gravy (in NZ, it costs NZD5.50 for 2 pieces and gravy!).

We headed back to Ah-Yi's place to wait for 1st-ku to pick us up to KL Tower (officially known as Menara Kuala Lumpur). We left home around 10.45am but only got to the tower an hour later due to traffic congestion. It felt rather stressful being in the car and seeing so many people and cars outside!

Majestically poised at a breathtaking height of 421 metres, standing boldly atop Bukit Nanas, Menara Kuala Lumpur is the 4th tallest telecommunication tower in the world, after CN Tower in Toronto, Canada (553 metres), Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia (540 metres) and Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China (468 metres). Normally it would cost visitors RM20 to go to the observation deck but if you show your Malaysian identity card, you would only pay RM10. Hmm...is that fair??

The lifts are sealed i.e. you couldn't see through the lift (if you've been to the Auckland Sky Tower, you will understand what I mean). The view from the top was very clear and you could see many tall buildings from the viewing deck, including the Petronas Twin Towers.

We had lunch at one of 1st-ku's regular food places, ABC Food Corner in Desa Petaling and later went shopping at Mid Valley Megamall. I was looking for a large backpack that comes with wheels and a retractable handle. We did find a smaller one - my eyes nearly popped out when I saw the price. RM1119 - insanely expensive!!

Thanks 1st-ku for taking us out and keeping us company for the day! Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157602418268224/detail/

Thursday, 23rd August 2007: Met up with Auntie Pat again today for the afternoon. Her daughter, Su Wen, and niece, were with me, Mum and Ah-Yi for the day shopping at 1 Utama Shopping Centre. We went to Dragon-i Restaurant for lunch - you've to try their 'xiao long bao', little steamed meat dumplings with soup. You have to nibble a bit at the bottom of the dumpling to drink the soup - quite a strange way to eat it but you do so because the soup is still hot inside. Photo of us at the restaurant:

Thanks for taking us out, Auntie Pat, and for your lovely gift! Do keep in touch and let me know if you plan to come visit NZ!! And it's always nice to see lovely Su Wen - her cute smile that shows her dimples are most unforgettable :)

Tonight was the last night at Ah-Yi's house and Ah-Yi and her husband, Uncle Richard, took us out for dinner. I had hoped to catch up with Janelle (my cousin sister) but she was still in Melbourne when I stayed with her parents. Ah-Yi and Uncle Ricards, thanks for having us put up with you during our trip to KL!

Friday, 24th August 2007: Jan (Mum's friend who travelled together in Perth) came to pick us up this morning. She had organised a small gathering of former classmates and a few of us were staying with her for the weekend, including Jenny (who was also with us in Perth) and Cindy who came in from Singapore.

Everyone gathered at Jan's house in Bangsar and I got to know a few more of Mum's former highschool classmates over lunch. It was nice to be in the company of Mum and her friends - like I've mentioned in my Perth postings, they do not behave like proper adults but laugh like teenagers when together. 'Gila-gila' is the local expression (literal translation meaning 'crazy-crazy') used to describe their behaviour :)

Jenny, Cindy, Mum and I followed Jan back home after lunch for more food! Yep, afternoon tea was served not long after we dropped off our bags. Oh, and did I mention that Jan is one hot dancing mama? Oh yeah, that woman can groove! Jan, you are in for trouble now that I know you like dancing as much as I do - I'll be looking you up when I come to KL!! Hehe...I got to know Jan's daughter, Marissa, who had just returned from the United States and starting work in Malaysia. We had so much to share and talk about - it was great! Photos taken this afternoon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157602419837668/detail/

Us guests joined Jan and family to a buffet dinner with their friends at Bossa Nova Brazilian Grill at Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur - a churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse). Finally, a taste of feijoada (stew of beans with various beef and pork products, which is the national dish of Brazil) I've missed this winter being away from Wellington! Rose, my Brazilian girlfriend in Wellington, cooks a real mean feijoada in the winter season - it's so nice to have it when the weather is cold and I miss her cooking so much! Rose, can I get you to make me some when I get back, please, please, please?

The food was fantastic but you have to be a meat lover to be in a place like this. Everyone has a plastic coin that is red on one side and green on the other. When the passadors (meat waiters) come to your table with knives and skewers of various kinds of meat or any other sort of local cut of meat, and sees the green side of the coin, he'll serve you. Oh, Marissa and I tried so many things and ate too much!

A live band played while we had our meal and once the dinner service was over, the band finished up and the tables were cleared for salsa dancing. One of the local salsa dance schools (also Jan's dance school) was having a social salsa on-2 night there. The dance looked so confusing to me since I didn't dance on-2! I managed to find a few Cuban salsa leaders and had most fun dancing with Shiva (company director of a local dance studio in KL). Probably shocked Mum a little too for she's never seen me dancing salsa before and neither has she seen me walk up to random guys and ask them for a dance...haha...Photos of the night: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157602420981172/detail/

Saturday, 25th August 2007: Mum and I had to say goodbye to the girls as we were heading home today. Jenny and Cindy stayed on till Sunday. Photos taken with them at breakfast:

Mum and I had a ball with Jan and friends and I would love to join them again in future gatherings - they are a fun lot! Jan, thanks for being such a great host when we were in KL. Do keep in touch and we'll need to burn the dance floor together again soon! Marissa, email me when you can - would love to keep in contact and do come visit NZ when work's not so busy!


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