Arrival in Malaysia

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
It was a beautiful autumn morning in Stalybridge as we locked up the house and set out on the first leg of our long journey. We took the train to Manchester Airport and were soon checked in for the 13.30 Emirates flight on one of their new large A380 planes. We could only imagine the luxury that awaited the business and first class passengers on the upper deck but even in economy there was lots of leg room and a state of the art entertainment system. We sat either side of the aisle. Keith was plagued by screaming babies for long periods of time whilst I was disturbed at least once an hour by an octogenarian lady with a weak bladder.

It was a 7 hour flight to Dubai where we had a couple of hours to kill before embarking on another 7 hour leg to Kuala Lumpur . Although heading for Thailand we had found that there was a considerable saving to be made by flying, not to Bangkok, but to Kuala Lumpur and so the itinerary was tweaked to include a few days in Malaysia.   It was a night flight and there were plenty of spare seats to stretch out on but we both found it hard to sleep.

We reached our destination at 3.00pm on Friday. It was a grey day in Kuala Lumpur but we were hit immediately by the humidity. It took the best part of an hour to reach the city centre by taxi. The driver was chatty until he failed to interest us in booking his services for future transfers. He reverted to chatting to his mates on the radio and we struggled to keep awake as we sped along modern motorways through palm oil plantations. Eventually, out of the mist and murk, emerged the skyscrapers of the city and of course the unmistakable outlines of the KL Tower and the Petronas Towers. It was our third visit to the city and we had developed a love affair with the rather plush Crowne Plaza Hotel . It was a little above our budget but we couldn’t resist it and compromised by booking a “Deluxe” instead of our usual “Grand Deluxe” room. It was as luxurious as ever but the room was a lot smaller and there was no view of the Petronas Towers.

After showers, cold beers and a change into shorts and sandals, darkness had fallen and it was time to head for the nearby restaurants and bars. It was Friday night and so very lively. The colourful “food street” known as Jalan Alor had even more restaurants to choose from than we remembered from previous visits, all with tables spilling onto the road and a selection of mouth watering dishes. We ordered a mini feast and tucked in.   Later we made our way to the Ceylon Bar, one of our favourites on previous visits. It was still there but a lot more expensive now and surrounded by dozens of new and trendy eating and drinking establishments. The area had certainly changed over the last few years.

We nevertheless, found a table on their terrace and relaxed with a couple of cold Tiger beers whilst we contemplated our good fortune in being back in South East Asia, enjoying warm tropical breezes in November. Unable to keep our eyes open for long however, we soon had to retire for an early night.

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So Mr Ross, you are Malacca eh !!!!