Monday, 25 April 2011

K-L part 1: Bombs over Baghdad (nights)...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Team Taylor is back from an EXCELLENT trip to the northern rival capital of Kuala Lumpur, and I must say that I was impressed with the city. We'll just give you 1/2 of the weekend tonight, but let's go ahead and kick it off.
So for starters - the best way to K-L from the Harbourfront office is to go by bus. The bus company, Aeroline, is GREAT, and they depart from RIGHT OUTSIDE THE OFFICE. Seriously - it was about 100 steps from my cube to the Bus Bay.
Once you board, you're chillin' in reclining business class seats, served a meal, and even shown movies on the journey. Unfortunately, the movies selected for us were "Salt," also known as "Female Double Donkey Trash Version of Jason Bourne" and "Step Up Part 3." Seriously - they made enough money on "Step Up" Parts 1 & 2 that it was financially viable to MAKE that P.o.S.? Wow - what happened to the good ole' days of Spaceballs and UHF (mom - that was for you). But seriously - give me Stanley Spudowski's Club House ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over that foolishness.
And on a random note - here's a fun game for all the boys out there. How many of the 12 characters from Street Figher 2: The World Warrior can you name? I need names and countries here - the 8 characters and the 4 bosses. I was a failure and only got 10 of 12, but I am CONVINCED that a geek out there (read: JAY POWELL) can top me on this.
So anyhoo - we did have the usual border crossing foolishness, but NO SEVEN YEAR OLD BESTED ME THIS TIME, baby. But believe me, 1 tried. He didn't ask, "can I go?" - he just simply tried the end around. Well, at first I stepped in front of him. Then, when he tried to push me aside, I BODY CHECKED his 40 pound ass into the wall. And THEN, he tried to THROW HIS PASSPORT to the guard when I was walking up. I was SO CLOSE to catching it, finding a cigarette lighter, and burning it, but I thought that might be going a step too far. Good times.
We arrived at 12:15 AM, catching an overpriced taxi to the hotel. But there was almost disaster when, as we stepped into the car, Jenny asked, "Where's our bag?" see Husband Bear's ONLY JOB was to secure the suitcase that the porter would remove upon stopping the coach. I, however, was only focused on Tiger Beer, and so I forgot my 1 task. Luckily it was still sitting on the sidewalk. However, that would NOT have been a good start to the trip.
The Renaissance was IMMACULATE. Things are pretty cheap in KL, and a true 5 star hotel was only $120 USD a night, complete with a MASSIVE pool, blackout curtains, and a COMFY king size bed. We passed out at 1 AM, ready for a busy day ahead.
On Friday we woke up at 9...and then snoozed until 10. We were out and about by 11, at which point we rocked up to the most famous landmark in Malaysia - the Petronas Towers. These towers, the HQ for the national gas company and the largest twin towers on earth (even before 9/11 this was a true statement) are the 3rd highest buildings on the planet (but were #1 until Taipei 101 was built - Burj Dubai has since eclipsed that one). However, you can't go to the top - only the Skybridge that featured so prominently in the movie "Entrapment." They were VERY impressive, but the tickets were gone for the day when we arrived. You see, you apparently have to be in line at 7 AM to get tickets, as the counter opens at 8:30 and closes QUICK. But since that didn't really fit in with the Team Taylor theme of PACK EVERYTHING IN THE CITY INTO A WEEKEND, we just admired the view from the outside.
I will say that being outside the towers was a VERY cool experience, as we stepped out at 1:14 to look at them, and I said, "The Call to Prayer should be starting soon." Literally THIRTY SECONDS LATER Sting's apprentice burst out, and it was AWESOME - a very cool experience.
We did have lunch at the "Little Penang Cafe," where we had some tasty food and coffee. When then wandered around a park outside the towers before wandering over to the Central Market. This area, the old food market from the colonial days, was cute, and Muffin Puffin was OUT OF CONTROL shopping. Seriously - Christmas came EARLY FOR JENNY. Cotton pants, running shirts, sarongs, scarves - YOU NAME IT. I was simply an accessory, and that accessory was called "the wallet."
After that it was over to Merdeka Square, where Malaysian independence was declared in 1957 and the site of the world's highest free-standing flagpole (seriously - I can't make this shit up). However, the flag pole wasn't NEARLY as impressive as the MASSIVE jumbotron in the square. And what, pray tell, was on the telly? THE BIG 10 NETWORK'S COVERAGE OF THE MEN'S GYMNASTICS CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS. Seriously - how did that happen? Can a brother get a sanity check over here?
After that it was over to Lake Park, where we saw the national monument, a tribute to those who gave their lives in defense against communism. I'm sure there are a lot of smart ass comments being made right about now, including "Sam, didn't it bother you to see your comrades in arms defeated like that," but I will just say that the cool part about the statue was the fact that it was designed by the same fella who did the Iwo Jima memorial in DC (as you no doubt can tell by the pic).
After that we walked through Lake Park but were EXHAUSTED. So we caught the tram (look - it's a 92 acre park - cut us some slack), and the guy let us out at the National Mosque. That, ladies and gentlemen, was GREAT.
First off, this place was only open for another 30 minutes when we arrived. Secondly, EVERYONE HAD TO WEAR A FULL ROBE. And since I had my backpack underneath it, Jenny told me that I looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle walking around the complex. But seriously - look at this photo and tell me that I don't look like something from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. And better yet check out all the cats walking around. I mean, I felt like I was a Jedi walking amongst the Padawans. I just wanted to say: "Fear lead to anger. Anger to hate. Hate to suffering." However, again, I didn't think that would go over all that well.
We then wandered into Chinatown, DESPERATE to find Jenny's Burberry bag. However, it's now SO last season, and so I fear she'll have to deal with the fake Prada for now. Then again, we are going away this weekend...
After Chinatown we did what any expat should do to reward the days exertions - FIND A BEER. Jenny was in TOP form on this one, discovering the Brussels Beer Cafe. Consequently, we popped in for a pint of Leffe which, after all the walking and lack of water, hit us like a ton of BRICKS. We then walked into Little Arabia for dinner, and that was where a first happened.
We were in the mood for Middle Eastern cuisine, and so you can imagine our excitement when we found "Baghdad Nights Cafe." We rolled up, and the server greeted us warmly, allowing us to select whichever table we wanted. He instantly waited on us, and we placed the order for our water and some hummous. Then he casually said, "You from England!" And I said, "Nope, were from the US."
The server asked again: "You from where?" And so I repeated, a little louder for his benefit: "The United States."
The smile was gone. The body language changed. And I knew we had a problem brewing.
He came back and took our order, at which point we reminded him of the water (sitting in a cooler we could see about 5 feet from us). 10 minutes later he came out and said that they were out of everything that we'd ordered (so, hummous, foul (beans), lamb, rice, and chicken - kind of hard to run a Middle Eastern Restaurant without those staples), so we pointed to a few more dishes (and reminded him about the water). 20 minutes later, no water, no food, no nothing (there was only 1 other table with customers in the joint), I could take it no longer. 4 guys and a chef - NONE of them serving us. The folks who'd come in after us, however, were chawin' down. We stood up adn left, and no one said a word. In fact, none of them even MOVED. It was, upon reflection, the first time I've ever been refused service. But the good news? We had some AMAZING Indian just down the way and ate like kings. We then sauntered back to the hotel, where we PASSED OUT.
Incidentally, as blogger continues to crash on me, I'm now noticing diminished picture quality. If it's just my PC, GREAT - but will someone shoot me a note and tell me if they're noticing it as well?
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny


  1. image quality is as good as usual - compared older pics to current. both running just over 200KB and good quality - not fuzzy at all.

  2. Excellent news - thanks a bunch for checking - and with a KB count no less!