Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Travelogue: Kuala Lumpur July 07

Day 1: arrival
The bus ride was relatively quick. A meal was served though it was shrimp something or other so I wasn't eating. We had individual TV screens that played films. Some were OK, but not interesting enough. I slept.

Arrival in KL was fine except for trying to figure out where we were and how to get where we wanted to go. The taxis waiting were wanting to overcharge. I knew I was close to the neighborhood I wanted to be, just not exactly sure of our position.

We started walking. It was hot. I found a taxi that took us to the hostel. It was 9 Ringit, but probably too much cause we were much closer than I thought. We checked in, but since I didn't have any Malaysian Ringit we had to go out to change some money to pay for the hostel.

The guy let us in to the room, but it was not ready. It looked as if someone had just left with the dirty sheets and towels still strewn about. So, back down the stairs and out until the room was readied.

We walked out to find the money changer. Not far up the road and the first one I went into. It was a bit like walking into the men's bathroom. It was full of smelly Indian men staring. I even heard the stray "beautiful" said in an skin-crawling, dirty old man way. I got my money and we got out of the there. The exchange rate was fair, so that was a good thing.

Both of us were hungry so we went back to a Thai cafe for some fuel. It was OK, nothing fantastic, but well-received nonetheless. Da decided he needed to find new sandals since his were making his feet hurt and that made it very difficult for him to walk. We went to the big shopping centers nearby, but struck out. It was either not what he wanted or too expensive.

By the time we were ready to go back to the hostel it had started raining. So we went back into the shopping center and to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that I like so much and ordered Chai lattes. I ended up drinking both since he didn't like the smell. It must have been the foam on the top. Frothy milk can be a bit unpleasant to smell.

Day 2: business in Chinatown
Today would be our only day for visiting tour agents, but we had to figure out where they were. Thankfully during our breakfast of toast and tea (not excited about that) we got some help from the gal who was working that day. She was extra friendly, even going so far as to calling the office to get directions for us.

We would take the public bus to Chinatown and wander around for awhile before finding the office location. Da went in first, then I followed shortly after to sit and wait for him. It was a long meeting made longer by the freezing air conditioning I had to suffer. I was tired and bored and should have brought a book to read. One nice thing is that a woman from the office appeared with a box of soy milk for me. How sweet!

After the successful meeting we decided to walk over to check out Petaling street to see what it had to offer. That's where we ended up finding the deal on sandals. There were nicely made and only 62 Ringit. I bought some of the sugared coconut that I like and then later some BBQ pork. We also had lunch at a little stall that was OK, but I was hungry later.

By then we were both ready to go back, so we wandered back to find the bus to go back. It took some walking back and forth but I found one that would take us to Times Square, the location of the next agencies. Along the way, however, he changed his mind and by the time we got off we had a huge walk back to the hostel.

We rested before heading back out for dinner. We settled on Outback Steakhouse. I knew it would be a splurge, but a delicious one for sure. We even got a free appetizer and soup cause the appetizer was late. I got chicken fried chicken. He got lamb chops (4 of them!). We were so stuffed after that. I barely felt like walking, but we did to check out some hi-tech shops.

Day 3: departure separation
This was an even earlier morning as we had to be on the road by 7:00am. There was no breakfast at that time. We took the monorail to KL Sentral where we could then get the airport bus to the airport. The guy at the hostel gave us incorrect directions and we ended up having to walk across the street and up the wrong side of the monorail. He was a real dud of a guy who barely spoke anything unless you clubbed it out of him.

We made it to the airport and got Da checked-in for his 10:00 flight. I, however, had six hours to wait. NO fun. I staked out a table in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a couple of hours while I had a Chai latte and a muffin, the caught up in my journal. Later I got a piece of carrot cake that was too dry. I should have gone for the cheesecake.

I decided to move to another area just to have different scenery and found a cluster of chairs as a waiting area. For such a busy airport, it has a lack of decent seating areas. I read, slept, then got up to pick up something to eat from McD's (desperation). I ate it and read some more until I could check in for my flight.

The guy at check-in was a bit of a jerk when it came to my extra booking. He told me I could have canceled it 48 hours ahead of time. Duh! I tried online, but no such luck. Ahh, it can't be done online, but you can do it 48 hours ahead of time. Yes, I would have if I could have, but that was not an option, dude.

More waiting. The flight was slightly late. More problems with Air Asia personnel. You see I figured since I booked two tickets I could expect to take two seats. Ah, but I wasn't anticipating a huge Arab family boarding the plane at the last minute trying to find seats together. I got pushed in and stuck with a couple of the kids. Later the child turned into a teenage girl who was overly excited about her first trip to Bangkok. She painted her nails, showed off her sculpture of her hand in someone else's, and drank coffee. Wow! So grown up.

Travelogue: Singapore July 07

Old shop house from the back
Old shop house from the back originally uploaded by .Nikkster

Day 1: arrival and free shopping day
With only 3 days in this modern Asian city, there was little time for a lot of sightseeing. However, as I have already been here a couple of times, there wasn't much left for me to do.

We arrived in the morning, and got free transport to the hotel by a family member of my school director who happened to be on the same flight with her family. What a bonus! Since check-in wasn't until 2:00pm we had time to kill which meant walking around looking for a money changer.

That was tiring and after changing money we made our way back to the hotel. It was a nice enough room, though the door entry was at an angle so entering was awkward cause you had to swing it completely open to walk in clearly.

We decided to hit Orchard Road for some shopping. I was looking for my favorite store. Alas, I never found it. Later I discovered it had been turned into something else.

Day 2: business plans
Today was the first day of doing business which meant visiting tour agencies. But since the "yahoo" forgot to bring his business cards, we spent the first few hours getting quickie ones made in an hour.

Lunch was at Burger King. I try to avoid the M-place, but am fond of BK. Once cards in hand and lunch down the hatch it was off to the first destination. There was lots of walking and MRT riding, even a taxi thrown in.

The main stop was to the partner's office. It was a quick stop relatively, then we were ready to head back to the hotel. I was tired.

Later in the evening was a meeting with the partner rep, and to my surprise and pleasure a night out with him and his wife and the hotel's GM. We had "hot pot", or porridge as it's called in Singapore. This is more or less a soup pot in the middle of the table where you boil the things you order such as meats and vegies. There was plenty ordered and we were stuffed by the end. Conversation was lively. We even had a dish which was called fried porridge. It was the rice porridge but darker and thicker with some unknowns in it. Delicious!

Day 3: nothingness
I spent today waiting and waiting. I had no idea my partner would be out until 1:00am and I had received no messages of his whereabouts. In fact the hotel reception neglected to give me the two messages he left for me. I was so worried that I nearly felt like calling the police since I had no idea what had happened to him. In the end, he appeared with no explanation. But I wasn't in the mood for an explanation, just happy he was alive.

Day 4: bus to KL
It was an early morning with departure from the bus station at 8:30 for KL. We had to be at the station by 8:00. There were some hot drinks available in an instant beverage machine where you push a button of your choice of drink: Teh Tehrik, Milo, Nescafe with milk, Nescafe without milk, and so on

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SWM Seeks Loving Home

AGE: 2-3 months
EYES: bright blue
HAIR: white with grey around eyes and tail

I’m adorable and well-mannered, clever and a quick learner. I love adventures and exploring new places. A slight limp doesn’t keep me from running or climbing. I’d love a small family or other friends to stay with permanently.