The Earth Shook on the 11th

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Mar 11, 2008

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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prior to visiting a very large city during the summer, it is very practical to book a room before arriving. Even if tourist guides insist that it is easy to find hotels in Kuala Lumpur, it was a nightmare for us.  We arrived on the weekend when this large city was hosting an International Tattoo, a national military exercise, the anniversary of the country's 50th year of Independence and some other form of national traveling event.  Needless to say that in Kuala Lumpur, there were "no rooms at the inn" EXCEPT for one in a dingy hotel in a seedy part of town.  We did get somewhat concerned when the taxi driver who dropped us off in front of the Brisdale Hotel (cockroach hotel) warned us by saying:  "Make sure you don't walk out here at night!"  I really don't need to punctuate this experience anymore as it makes my skin crawl.  Thank goodness once again for our silk sleeping sheets.

"Welcome" to Kuala Lumpur - the capital of Malaysia; a big city with big city problems.  Our first exposure to KL was not pleasant.  Unfortunately for the tourists here, it is very difficult to get around as the taxi drivers are notorious for deciding how to take more of our money.  Many refuse to use their meters and offer flat rates.  Bad idea!!! If you travel in large cities in Asia, always ask for the meters as it costs a lot less.  Flats rates are inflated prices and drivers pocket the money.  By simply opening the door to a taxi or bringing in luggage increases the total fair.  Many taxis refused to let us enter their vehicle because we asked them to use their meter.  We often stood on street corners to wait for the fifth or sixth taxi driver to actually accept to drive us.  We walked a lot but certainly not at night (unsafe), public transportation is not well organized except for the sky tram but it had its limits.  This truly influenced the length of our stay in KL and we left much sooner than anticipated. It is unfortunate because Kuala Lumpur has an international flair; it has every possible known designer store, interesting centres, museums but we quickly lost interest.
Good stuff:
The twin towers at KLCC (The Petronas Towers) are magnificent especially at night when they are illuminated; they are laced in silver.  Oddly enough, we visited them on Sept. 11th which was also on the first day of a series of earth quakes.
We also visited a couple from the Australian Embassy whom we met in Vietnam.  We had a fantastic home cooked meal/ BBQ at their home, sat on their top story porch and witnessed the best thunderstorm of this season, not yet to rival to the ones at Lac Beauclair. 
The day after the earth shook, we left KL for Cherating Beach.  Good choice as the earth rocked the capital a few times again after our departure.  Our plan had been to go to Sumatra which of course was canceled due to their quakes and Tsunami warnings.
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