The city where everyone speaks English...
Trip Start Dec 04, 2006
63Trip End Aug 05, 2007
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Our first order of business was getting to the Egyptian embassy to get a visa for our upcoming trip to the Middle East. We were told that this is a must as it won't be possible to obtain one at our port of entry. Oh well. As it turns out, the cost of obatining our visa is much much cheaper here than in Bangkok where we were initially going to get it (like $25CDN in Malaysia versus $100CDN in Bangkok). We'll take the little bonuses when they come. Never mind we had to spend more than that to change our flights to get here earlier - but c'est la vie.
We then spent part of the morning at KL's aviary. Lots of beautiful birds to see. A highlight was having the opportunity to hold some. Now Tara chose a couple of gorgeous Macaus. Concerned that the less-attractive birds would feel left out and jealous, I chose a couple that wouldn't make anyone's top ten. And what did I get for my trouble? one bird (the scary-looking one) began pecking and chewing my ballcap while the little Brown owl took a big shit on my leg. Nice.
Tara here. To be honest, the hornbill was really cool looking - and the owl was really cute - who was to know they would be so hazardous.
Nathan again. Note to others: if you think there's a possiblity that a Brown owl's going to drop a load on you, remember to wear old clothing. I can say first hand that you just can't quickly wash and wear. Thank God for cheap laundry in KL.
Now I know that we've previously stated that customer service doesn't exist in Asia (like in the last blog). Well, we're revising that statement to reflect that it does in Malaysia, or at least at the guesthouse we're staying at in KL. I nearly fell over when I noticed a sign at reception that read "If we don't take care of our customer, somebody else will." True to their word, staff at Trekker's Lodge (www.thetrekkerlodge.com) have been fantastic in terms of providing help and advice on what to do and where to go and how to get there. In fact, they were absolutely instrumental in helping us locate the Egyptian embassy, no small feat let me tell you. Anyway, they're great.
Tara here. Since arriving, we have learned from our various taxi drivers (most of which are of Indian descent) that 15% of the population in Malaysia is Indian, 35% are Chinese, and 50% Malay - or something like that. In our area of town the Indian population is prevalent and we are enjoying their cheap and absolutely delicious eats at lunch and dinner. Another bonus about Malaysia is that EVERYONE speaks English. I am not sure if it is the language they use to speak to each other (Chinese to Malay and to Indian) but no matter, everyone here speaks excellent English. What this means for us is that we can interact with the locals even more - which is nice. From what we have experienced so far Malaysians are friendly and welcoming. KL is an awesome city with excellent public transportation and is a treat to visit.
Nathan here. Other highlights to date include eating in China Town and watching the Petronas towers at night. These were the tallest towers when they were built in 2000 -but have since been outdone by towers in Taiwan and maybe Dubai. But they are still quite the sight. Note, see the photo album for a picture of Tara, elated to be eating Chinese food outside of China (read: good Chinese food).
Tara here. On our second day in KL Nathan decided he should have his right ear checked out by a physician as it had been bugging him for quite some time. Well, what he thought would be a short stop at the doctor for some medication was not. An ultrasound, IV, ear tap and six lots of drugs later he was back at the hostel and prescribed with bed rest for the day. The good news is he decided to visit the US-trained, English-speaking, very competent doctor in KL who told him he had a middle ear infection - the bad news is we'll be making an insurance claim. Other bad news, we'll be taking a mandatory break from diving for at least 2 weeks. Consequently, we spent the afternoon resting in our hostel. Once again, thank goodness for aircon.
Tomorrow we are heading to the Malaysian interior to the Cameron Highlands - which is a greener area of Malaysia meant to be filled with tea plantations, waterfalls and good hiking. It comes highly recommended and we are taking a bus there tomorrow while we await our good friend Cecilia's arrival in Singapore in 5 days. Yeah!
Nathan again. Looking forward to Cecilia's arrival. She's asked that we show her an exciting time in Asia. Well, we have only a week so we've planned her trip to death. Fingers are crossed and hoping everything comes together nicely. Should be a surprise or two for her and, given that we share many of the same friends, we promise to keep everyone up to date as her trip progresses.
Well, we're off to the Higlands and hopefully more temperate weather. Take care and we'll write when we can. N&T.
Where I stayed