Top view, top food and Topshop.

Trip Start Jul 24, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For me anyway it felt very strange leaving Vietnam. It was the right time and I was so excited about the next couple of months but also sad to leave behind such lovely friends and a vibrant lifestyle.
Tom and I flew into KL late and it was then that Dorothy realised she and Toto weren't in Kansas anymore. For one there were no motorbikes (shh, listen to the silence!), I nearly fainted when I saw Starbucks at the airport (I'm not proud but the global consumer in me was desperate for some brand nourishment) and it felt a lot calmer. As the past week went on we also realised that some things weren't as easy as they were in 'Nam. Booking trips for one, "what do you mean I have to book 24hrs in advance?" and "So I can't hire a motorbike out, why?" "I need an active motorbike licence and specialist insurance?".The conversation shold have gone as follows.

Tom - I would like to book your fantastic looking motorbike tour for tomorrow?
Man - Certainly valued customer,  hang on.
 (man goes to get paperwork, Tom fiddles with his iphone looking for a wireless connection, man comes back).
Man-  That'll be 300,000MYR and could I see your bike license and insurance details.
(Tom looks at the man in puzzlement. Licence? Insurance? Alien words to this Vietnam biking vet).
Tom - I don't have either.
Man - Oh
Tom - Oh, but I have ridden a bike in Vietnam.
Man -  Oh why didn't you say!! Here are the keys.

Those requirements all makes perfect sense in the western world but considering I haven't been there for 5 months I wasn't used to this level of forethought and organisation! Thank God I haven't gone straight to Australia as I think I would have had a meltdown!
Anyway, in true consumerism we spent the next 3 days in KL and did precisely this. Went to a water park, visited the cinema twice, went to the Petronas Towers shopping centre where there was a Topshop (and breathe), ate burgers made from 2 different meat forms, had a dodgy curry, inquired as to whether the gingerbread latte was a worldwide Starbucks creation or just regional, it was regional :( watched DVD's and bought fake designer stuff (check out Tom's transformer belt!). It was such a cathartic experience after being fully submerged in Vietnam for so long, LOVED IT!!!

Needed to see the city now so one morning we did get up to queue for tickets to go on the sky bridge which is a bridge connected between the two famous Petronas Towers. By 7:40 we were there! The ticket office opens at 8:30 and 9:00 we had them in hand for the 2:30 viewing. Time to kill? Off round the shopping centre we went and stopped for a Starbucks. Then Tom and I came to a cross roads as he realised that he only had a week left of his trip. We had crammed so much into Vietnam that we eased off a little when we came to KL and decided that we needed to speed up the pace otherwise our view of Malaysia, truly Asia would have been seen through a glass elevator or a cinema screen. So Tom was to fly to Borneo tonight and I would stay here and hopefully see Ciara (yeah). Good, decision were made.
The early start was well worth it. When we arrived we had to watch a film first which I was hoping would provide more information about it's construction (which is based on the 5 pillars of Islam) but it was more of a promo for Petronas. Fair play the tickets are free. We wre security checked and usehered into a lift it was then that I noticed 88 floor options! Jesus. We were only going to the 45th which took just under a minute to reach. The pictures show you what an amazing view it was. It was just as stunning from the ground especially at night.

The evenings were spent browsing the stalls in China town where you can get very good fake clothes, bags, watches, DVDs etc.. They were very impressive so much so that Tom simply had to have the Transformers belt. That's a women repeller right there! I did stop him buying the belt with a lighter in though. We also went to the Regae bar which was a travellers bar with walls covered in Bob Marley memoribilia, playing cheesy dance music and with biggest quota of lady boys I had vever seen! Some were very impressive so much so that I started to question my own gender (didn't last long). Others were terrible. No matter how hard you try wearing a blonde curly wig and false eyelashes is not going to hide your wide set jaw. I was impressed and some what puzzled by one wearing very small and very tight denim hot pants. Where oh where has it all gone? It was a good bar but compared to Vietnam and Thailand the drinks were sooo expensive, about 3 quid a pint comared to Vietnam were it was 75p!!

I found KL to be a really interesting city as you can really observe how people of different cultues and religions can live in relative harmony. I was talking to a resident who said there was hardly any trouble at all. We stayed in China Town which had an Indian influence. Only joking it was, surprise surprise, Chinese. There was also a little India and of course Malay areas. The food reflected this as it did the Islamic influence. You could pick up a good stir fry or a spicy dish. I thoroughly enjoyed my halal curry, Tom thought otherwise and vowed never to eat third world meat again! Tom was well and truly on that western wagon.

Our next stop is Borneo where I hope to see the 'man of the jungle'.
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