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Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Perak and Langkawi
Part 2

29-30.11: Munich -> KL
01.12: KL
02.12: KL
03.12: KL
04.12: KL -> Melaka
05.12: Melaka -> KL
06.12: KL -> Teluk Intan
07.12: Teluk Intan
08.12: Teluk Intan -> KL
09.12: KL -> Langkawi
10.12: Langkawi
11.12: Langkawi
12.12: Langkawi -> KL
13.12: KL
14.12: KL
29.12: Yangon -> KL
30.12: KL
A map of Malaysia

Continued from Part 1
04.12.02: KL -> Melaka
Hotel Chong Hoe, Melaka, 39 RM/night
Weather: sunny with clouds in the morning, clouds keep growing, some rain (1h) at 2pm; strong rain on the motorway for half an hour at about 4pm; dry sunny evening with some clouds

We wake up at 10am and I feel better than yesterday. After changing the booking of my Langkawi flight and a brief lunch (chicken rice and a fresh starfruit juice for about 7 RM) I take a taxi to the Puduraya bus station. My bus is at 1:30pm. In the bus I notice that I forgot the camera in the hotel room, so I get a new bus ticket to Melaka and go back to the hotel to fetch the camera. This new bus is even cheaper at 7.90 RM. 
Getting to Melaka takes three hours, mainly due to the high traffic on the motorway (Friday is Hari Raya, so I guess it must be Malaysians who are driving back home). I arrive in Melaka shortly before six and move into the Chong Hoe Hotel (room with bath and A/C for 39 RM). I do some photo shooting in the evening and spend about one hour in an Internet cafe (4 RM per hour). Two of the three tourist restaurants near the Christ church which were open three years ago have now closed. Melaka itself hasn't changed.

05.12.02: Melaka -> KL
Hotel Season's View, KL, 88 RM/night
Weather: sunny with clouds in the morning, rain for five minutes at noon, then sunny the whole day; in KL it rains in the afternoon

I wake up at 10am and leave the hotel at about 11am. Again some photo shooting, mainly to get the tourist sights with the (late) morning sun. I have an icecream for lunch then continue walking around Melaka taking pictures. At 1pm I stop for 45 min. in an Internet cafe near the Chong Hoe hotel, mainly because the sun is so strong and it is getting unbearably hot. After some lunch in the tourist restaurant near the Christ church I shoot again some photos. At 3pm I catch a taxi (10 RM - expensive for such a short trip) back to the bus station. The bus to KL leaves at 3:30pm. 
Shirley calls me to tell me that she can't make it in time to the Myanmar embassy because of a traffic jam in KL. I'll have to go to Langkawi without my passport. Tomorrow by the way is a public holiday (Hari Raya) and the banks are closed. I won't be able to get the money I need to give to Shirley's mom to "buy" her daughter.
On the motorway it rains for about one hour at 5pm. The bus finally arrives in KL's Puduraya bus station shortly after 6pm. It is almost impossible to get a metered taxi in Puduraya as all drivers refuse to use the meter and charge a multiple of what they should charge. The trip to the hotel is only 3RM by meter, but the taxi drivers ask for 15 RM. Even in a radius of 100 meters from the bus station the taxi drivers will refuse to use the meter (you might be somebody who just arrived by bus). It's an unofficial coupon system. Anyway, since the distance to the hotel is short and the air is relatively cool (it just rained) I simply walk to the hotel. 
In the evening I go to the Sungei Wang shopping complex. On the third floor there is an IT section. There are many notebooks priced around 5000 RM (1300 Euro or $), even several for less than that. There are even notebooks for 2000 RM (526 Euro or $). It's a line called 'desknote' made by the Taiwanese Elitegroup, and they are meant to be used as a replacement for desktop computers. Consequently they have no battery (though you can buy an external one), but have a very good TFT LCD screen and lots of interface options (weight is 2.5 Kg). The 2000 RM unit comes with a 10GB HDD and a 533 MHz Transmeta crusoe processor. For 100 RM more you get a unit with a 1GHz Celeron. If offered in Germany at this price, these things would probably sell as hotcakes.
Tomorrow I'm driving with Shirley, her sister Sarah, Lisa (the wife of Shirley's brother) and Lisa's mom to Teluk Intan - five people with luggage in a Proton Saga. 100% sure that there is not enough place for  the luggage of five people in a Proton Saga (he he he... somebody will have to take the bus).

06.12.02: KL -> Teluk Intan  (Hari Raya - end of the Ramadan period)
Hotel G-City, Teluk Intan, 50 RM/night
Weather: spotless sunny blue sky early in the morning, clouds building up; it starts raining heavily at 2:30pm and rains for about one hour; sunny evening in Teluk Intan

We wake up at 10am and check out of the hotel at 1:30pm. Today we are driving to Shirley's hometown, Teluk Intan, a small town 180 Km to the north of KL. While driving Shaun, Shirley's brother, tells me that with Air Asia (www.airasia.com) I could fly much cheaper to Langkawi - less than 200 RM return if I understood him properly. It's a discounter airline and they accept bookings through the phone (maybe also through the website). You get the ticket at the airport.
Tomorrow we will have the Chinese wedding ceremony, which will take place in the house of Shirley's parents. It is the so called tea ceremony. Basically Shirley and I will give a small cup of tea to all married relatives of Shirley, starting from Shirley's parents. In exchange the relatives will give us an ang pao - usually some cash in a red decorated paper envelope. With this exchange of gifts the relatives signal that they acknowledge that Shirley and I are getting married and that they agree with our marriage. After this ceremony, in which no monk or priest is involved, we are married for the Chinese. Right now, even if we already got legally married, we are still not married in the eyes of the Chinese.
Sarah picks us up and brings us first to Shirley's home in Subang Jaya. Then she drives to the airport to fetch Lisa and her mother. They are Taiwanese and left Taipei for KL in the morning to attend our marriage. In the end we drive with two cars to Teluk Intan, arriving around 7pm. 
In the evening we have a common dinner in a restaurant (the two of us, Shirley's brother Shaun, Shirley's parents, Lisa and her mom). Lisa's mom as well as Shirley's parents don't speak English (apparently only the younger generation in Taiwan speaks English), so I try to speak some Mandarin. I've started with a Chinese language course in September and am only able to say some simple things, but with Shirley's help I manage to have some very basic conversation. More important, I start to catch up with what people are saying - this evening they all speak Mandarin, as Lisa and her mother don't speak Cantonese (otherwise I'd be out of luck). 
Shirley tells me that this evening I, the groom, am supposed to pay for the dinner. Now, the fact is that when Chinese meet for dinner, they will share the food and there will always be one person, only one person, who pays for everybody. Usually everybody will offer to pay for the dinner and there will be a competition for the privilege to pay for the dinner. People will even have an argument to be able to pay the bill. 
This summer (2002) for instance, my Chinese relatives came to Europe for the German wedding and we went on a brief trip to Austria. We spent one night in a hotel and to simplify things the next morning I decided to pay the bill for the three rooms. While I was in the lobby asking for it, Chris, Shirley's brother in law, spotted me and quickly rushed to the lobby desk, pushed me away and greedily grabbed the bill and payed for the three rooms. In such a situation usually I'm out of luck, as I'm too shy or embarassed to start an argument to be able to pay for the bill. And this evening Shaun was faster than me and grabbed the bill for himself. I offered to pay for it (at 150 RM actually a relatively very small bill for a dinner for eight people), but Shaun stubbornly insisted to pay for it.

07.12.02:  Teluk Intan (Wedding day)
Hotel G-City, Teluk Intan, 50 RM/night
Weather: sunny with some clouds, hot; it rains in the evening at 8pm for one hour and again shortly at 10:30pm

Today I'm having the wedding ... In the morning we have breakfast in a restaurant where the humidity is so high that when I take out the camera to take a picture, a layer of water forms on the lens. After breakfast we do some shopping in a nearby market. Then we drive to Shirley's parents home. The ceremony is supposed to start at 2pm. Since many guests haven't arrived by 2:30pm the ceremony is postponed to 5:30pm. In the meantime it starts smelling like cow shit. But it's not cow shit, it's a truck full of palm oil parking outside. Apparently palm oil smells like cow shit.
We go back to the hotel, where I take a rest while Shirley goes to the hairdresser. At about 5pm we are back at Shirley's parents place and at 5:30pm the tea ceremony starts. 
We begin by offering tea to the ancestors in front of the home shrine (three times, bowing three times each time). Then we offer tea to Shirley's parents, after that to all other married relatives. It's actually a very nice ceremony and it gives me an opportunity to introduce myself to Shirley's relatives. 
After the ceremony we give ang paos (small envelopes with cash) to the unmarried children. Then we more or less rush to the restaurant, as it's already late. In the restaurant we are on the first floor where we occupy about one third or a very large room. We have nine tables with each ten seats (90 guests). In the other part of the restaurant other people are having dinner. 
About half an hour after our dinner has started, a wedding music starts and a guy shouts into a microphone something like "... and now let's welcome the wonderful wedding couple..". And in fact, surprise surprise a wedding couple walks up the stairs and moves towards a table. A bit funny indeed - two wedding parties in the same room in the same restaurant competing for attention. The dinner by the way is quite good (10 course). When we leave the restaurant at 10pm we notice that there is a third wedding dinner taking place in the ground floor of the restaurant. Interesting, three wedding dinners in the same restaurant at the same time.

08.12.02:  Teluk Intan -> KL
Hotel Concorde, KL, 143 RM/night, double with A/C and bath, four star hotel
Weather: sunny and hot with some clouds; it starts raining while we are on the motorway at 5:15pm for about one hour

We sleep long and wake up at 11am. We don't do much, briefly go into town where I shoot some pictures of the leaning tower of Teluk Intan, have lunch in a restaurant and then go to the home of the inlaws. Lot of chatting with the relatives (the ones who came from Singapore and Johor Bharu already left in the morning). At about 4:30pm Shaun drives us back to KL. There is a huge traffic jam, as lots of Malaysians are driving back home after the Hari Raya weekend. At 5:15pm it starts raining heavily for one hour and we arrive in KL after 8:30pm. 
After a brief dinner Shaun drives us to the Hotel Concorde (thanks Shaun for driving us so much around). The Concorde is the most luxurious place in Malaysia where we have been so far. The rooms are ok, but it's quite obvious that the Concorde has been built some time ago, as the furniture is quite old. In any case the room is fine (the toilet has a good shower and even a hair drier). My stomach is upset, so I decide to see a specialist tomorrow morning and fly to Langkawi with the 4:55pm flight. I call the MAS hotline and change the booking. The telephone line works and I use to check my emails and my site. At 11:30pm we walk to the nearby Citibank to get some cash. We sleep at 1:30am.

09.12.02: KL -> Langkawi
Cenang Beach Resort (Motel), Langkawi, 60 RM 
Weather: sunny with some clouds in KL, rain at KLIA at 4:40pm for about 20 minutes, bright sunny day in Langkawi with a nice sunset

In the morning we have a common breakfast with Lisa and her mother (who also stay in the Concorde). After that I visit a doctor in the Tung Shin hospital and have lunch with Shirley. At about 1:50pm I'm back in the hotel where I pack my bags. I'm flying to Langkawi for a few days, while Shirley will continue her shopping and friends-meeting tour in KL.
At 2:10pm I fetch a taxi to KL Sentral station (KL central railway station) where I will get the KLIA express to KLIA airport. It's a new high speed train which has been operational since April this year. The ticket costs 35 RM. If you hold a Malaysian Airlines (MAS) ticket you can check in your luggage in KL Sentral - quite convenient, as this allows you to arrive later to KLIA. I have to rebook my ticket at the MAS counter and there is a 50 RM cancellation fee. I take the 2:45pm skytrain and arrive in KLIA 28 minutes later. Quite fast, considering that KLIA is about 60 Km from KL. Then it's one and a half hours in the freezing airport (A/C is very cold there). The plane arrives to Langkawi 15 minutes late. 
I take a room in the Cenang Beach Resort, a place recommended in the Lonely Planet. It's basically a big restaurant with some A/C huts. 'Huts' is the right term, because the accomodation is quite basic. There is a bed, a cupboard, an A/C unit, some electrical sockets (useful to recharge the batteries) and... the toilet. This consists of a squat toilet and a pipe which can be used to take a shower. Never mind, the owner promises to move me to a better place tomorrow and the other places I called either had changed telephone number or were fully booked. And the huts are on the beach - so I stay. The beach is full of Malay tourists - my guess is that they used the Hari Raya weekend to take an extended leave. Probably tomorrow they will start getting back to work. 
The Pantai Cenang beach, well, is so-so. It was nothing special three years ago and didn't improve. What can I say, there is no white coral sand and the water is more or less dirty. But it's very long and it should be pleasant walking along it.
When I check the available tours, there are a number of options. One is the Three islands half-day tour for 35 RM (leaving twice a day at 9:30 am and 2:30pm) which I did three years ago, where they basically bring you by boat to three islands, one with a fresh water lake, one with a nature reserve and one with a nice beach. This tour is quite nice. The other option is to take an eagle feeding tour (90 RM), which includes visits to mangroves, a cave and a fish farm. Then there is a snorkelling/diving tour to a marine park nearby.
You can also do a tour around Langkawi with a taxi (four hours, 60RM) which is probably what I will do tomorrow. I'll have a look at the various beaches. Probably I'll then do the three islands tour on Wednesday.
There are many Internet cafes along the Cenang beach. The going rate is 6 RM/hour, with one place at 5 RM/hour. 

10.12.02: Langkawi
Cenang Beach Resort (Motel), Langkawi, 60 RM
Weather: sunny the whole day with just a few clouds; no rain

I wake up at 10am and process my email. Then I walk to the Cenang beach. It's completely deserted - there is almost nobody around (perhaps the Malaysians don't go the beach at noon). The sea water today is surprisingly clean. After some photos and the lunch I decide to do a round trip of the island with a taxi.  The trip starts at 2pm (cost will be 20 RM/hour, the car is a minivan). We agree to visit all beaches, see a couple of waterfalls and visit Kuah. 
The first stop is at the Pantai Kok beach. This is supposed to be a better beach, and in fact it's more or less ok, although not too great. You can walk for a while along the beach (couple of Km) and every now and then there are some rocks and some resorts. These are upmarket resorts but the bungalows are not too impressive. Near Pantai Kok beach they are building a harbour for yachts,
We then drive to the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls. The car stops at a parking (lots of shops there) and I walk up a trail for about 10 minutes. Many monkeys (macaques) along the trail. The waterfalls are very nice and there are many people bathing in the ponds. A welcome break from the tropical heat. Easy to spend the whole afternoon there, but I have no time. Maybe I'll return tomorrow. 
Next stop is the cablecar line whose base station is a few minutes by car from the waterfalls. Here it becomes for the first time very obvious that Langkawi has undergone a lot of development over the past years. A lot of capital has been invested. There is a something called 'Oriental village' - actually a very nice collection of buildings with many shops and restaurants recently built. A bit Disneyland-like, but still nice. There is no fee to enter this village. In the village there is the cablecar station. Would you believe it, they built an Austrian-style cablecar, one of those usually found in the Alps to carry the skiers to the pists, in a tropical island. The cablecar brings you on top of a mountain (Gunung Macincang, 706 m) where you enjoy a great panorama of Langkawi. Very cool feeling going up the mountain in this cablecar - gliding over the jungle. The return ticket is 10 RM. Great views on top of the mountain - you can even see nearby Koh Tarutao in Thailand. After some photos I go down and we drive to the beaches on the northern coast, starting with the western ones. 
We first stop at the Pasir Tengkorak beach - a not too big but nice beach, in a bay surrounded by the jungle. The sea water here is cleaner than on the west coast of Langkawi. Then we continue our trip, this time heading to the Datai beach at the end of the road. This beach is quite far away. We first pass by a golf club (the Datai bay golf club). Langkawi has a total of three golf clubs. Very nice golf club in a tropical forest setting. Then we continue. There are two very expensive resorts here, the Andaman and the Datai. The Datai resort basically reserves the Datai beach for itself and doesn't allow other non-hotel visitors. We continue until the end of the road, spotting several black monkeys along the road. Then we take a narrow jungle trail and after five minutes of very steep climbing the driver shows me a beach - a deserted beach to the west of Datai beach. The beach is somehow nice and the water is clean. We then walk to the rocks at the eastern end and from there you can see the Datai bay with the beach and the resort. The beach doesn't look too impressive from this point. Then we walk up again back to the car. It is now 5:30pm and we have to rush a bit, as the sun sets at 7pm. On the way back we stop and I try to photograph the black monkeys, but these are afraid of humans and run away.
It's a long drive to the Black Sand beach (Pantai Pasir Hitam). It is supposed to be a black sand beach, but in reality there are simply streaks of black sand caused by a spring that deposits mineral oxides. It looks as if the beach were polluted. In any case not impressing at all.
At 6:35pm we finally reach the last beach, Tanjung Rhu. Impressive beach, the best beach of Langkawi. Very long and broad, with almost white sand. The water is however very shallow. There is just one resort, the Tanjung Rhu resort where the cheapest room costs 400 RM (the most expensive 1400 RM). Now, if this were Thai Baht... The Lonely Planet of 1999 reports that there are two hotels, the Mutiara with rooms starting at 150 RM and the Radisson with rooms starting at 600 RM, but the driver tells me that these two hotels have merged into the Tanjung Rhu. 
Since it's almost 7pm we decide to skip Kuah and drive directly back to Pantai Cenang beach. 
My conclusion is that Langkawi has some nice beaches, but not great beaches as in Perhentian and the water is not as crystal clear as there. The main reason to go to Langkawi are not its beaches, instead it's the interesting interior with the jungle, the mountains and waterfalls as well as the wide range of activities offered (golfing, shopping etc.). Langkawi is being developed into a prime upmarket vacation resort.

11.12.02: Langkawi
Cenang Beach Resort (Motel), Langkawi, 60 RM
Weather: sunny the whole day with just a few clouds; no rain

I wake up and process the images I took yesterday. At 12pm I leave the room - the Chenang beach is empty. Now wonder, considering the extremely strong sun and the heat. Most people are somewhere in a shadowy place. I have lunch and then book the Three islands tour. I go back to the room and continue processing the images until 2:20pm. Then I go to the meeting place and wait for the tour car. At about 2:45pm the car arrives and brings me to the Teluk Baru jetty, in the southwestern tip of Langkawi. There the boat is already waiting for me and we leave at 3pm. On this tour there are a group of young Malays from KL (who are on an extended Hary Raya vacation), two Singaporean ladies and me.
The boat rides very fast across the waves (lots of bumps and sea water on the face). We first head to the Dayang Bunting island where there is a huge freshwater lake. We spend one hour on the island swimming in the lake, lying in the sun and playing with the catfish. In the lake there is a colony of catfish who wait for food and are not afraid of humans. I put my feet into the water and the catfish massage starts. Dozens of catfish come to check if my feet are something eatable (no they don't bite, just check with their sensor hairs). An incredible experience. I even put my hand into the water and play with the catfish (touch, caress, hold in the hand and so on).
Then we leave for the nearby Pulau Singa Besar (big Singa island), where there is a wildlife reserve. But we just see two peacocks and two horses. There is a nice white coral sand beach and the sea water is clear. 
Half an hour later we go by boat to the next island, Pulau Beras Basah, opposite Pulau Singa Besar. We stop on a nice white coral sand beach for about one hour. The water here however is not clear, actually a bit dirty. Possibly this is due to the current which flows against the beach and carries dirt particles. At 5:50pm we leave and at 6:20pm I'm back in the hotel. 
In the evening I do the usual things. Copy the photos from the memory card to the computer, have dinner (this evening there is a nice barbecue on the beach) and check my messages and my site in an Internet cafe. 
By the way, the Internet access in the shop opposite the Chenang Beach Resort (opposite and 10 meters to the south) has just one computer, but a very fast connection. In the same shop they also rent motorbikes for 35 RM. By contrast, the Internet cafe 100m or 200m south of the Chenang beach resort has many computers but a very slow speed.

12.12.02: Langkawi -> KL
Hotel Concorde, KL, 143 RM
Weather: sunny with some clouds, more clouds after 3pm, rain for 20 minutes at 3:30pm; clouds in KL

After checking out at 12pm and having lunch I take a taxi at 1pm to the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls (20 RM one way). This time I manage to reach the top of the waterfall (just follow the trail which leads up). Apparently the taxi driver directed me to the bottom of the waterfall two days ago. At the top of the waterfall there is an area with many wells where people can swim (actually jacuzzi-style ponds where the strong waterflow massages your body). I end up staying there until 3pm then go down to the bottom of the waterfall. Around 3:30pm I'm on the way back when it starts raining. I manage to reach the parking with all the shops and wait there until the rain ends (20 minutes). Then I try to catch a taxi. Well, there are no taxis there. I ask a guy how to find a taxi and he offers to bring me back for 20RM. He tells me that in the low season hotel room prices drop substantially. Right now we have a period of high season (the Hari Raya weeks when many Malaysians take a short vacation). 
We reach the hotel and I get my things and another taxi to the airport (driver charges 12 RM for the trip). The flight leaves more or less on time and we arrive in KL at 7 something pm. After getting my luggage I manage to catch the next KLIA express (35 RM) at 8:15pm arriving in KL Sentral at 8:43pm. The taxis there use a coupon system and I pay 9 RM to get back to the hotel. After taking a shower I catch a taxi to Bukit Bintang street where I have a dinner and use an Internet cafe for one hour. 
On the street one guy gives me a business card with the address of an escort service and another one offers me a lady. When walking back to the hotel along Jalan Sultan Ismail at 11pm I run into several prostitutes waiting for customers.

13.12.02: KL
Hotel Concorde, KL, 143 RM
Weather: sunny with some clouds, more clouds in the afternoon, rain for a few minutes

At 11am I go to the Citibank, get 4000 RM from the ATM and change it into US $ (will need the money for Myanmar). I'll carry $1200 cash to Myanmar. Should be enough for the two of us for two weeks. If not, I'll use the credit card. Shirley found a Myanmar Handbook from 1997. A bit old, but it is the only travel guide about Myanmar which we could find in KL.
Today is the wedding photo day. Traditionally in the Chinese marriage the couple does several wedding shots with different dresses. At about 1pm I reach the photographer's studio in Jalan Ipoh. Shirley is already there and is been made up by a visagist (she looks like a geisha). The photo session goes on until almost 8pm and over the course of the afternoon we wear several dresses, suits, jackets etc. We even wear a traditional Japanese wedding dress (I look like a samurai, Shirley wears a kimono) and the traditional Chinese wedding dress. Shirley says it looks nice on me, because I'm tall. We will choose the photos to print on Dec. 29th, when we are back from Myanmar. (Photo albums are very expensive by the way - 700 RM for an album with 21 A4 size photos - that's how the photographer makes money). 
In the evening we don't do much.

14.12.02: KL
Hotel Summit, Subang Jaya (KL), 168 RM
Weather: sunny with some clouds in the morning, very clouded in the afternoon, very little rain

We check out in the morning from the Concorde and check in at 2pm in the Summit hotel in Subang Jaya. It's a four or five stars place next to the Summit shopping complex. International class, rooms are nice, but the A/C is stuck at maximum power, so the room is quite cold. After we have lunch with a friend until 4pm,  do some shopping, then at 7pm we have the wedding dinner with Shirley's friends in a Vietnamese restaurant in Subang Jaya. 
At the wedding dinner (most guests are Malaysian Chinese friends of Shirley) I'm told that I don't look like a typical German, because I'm not fat. Hmmm, do all Germans who visit Malaysia have a beer belly? After we pack our things as tomorrow we are flying to Myanmar.
The Summit Hotel is not good value. The shower is not good (not enough water, either too hot or too cold), room is freezing due to the A/C stuck to maximum power and a breakfast is not included. Plus the location is bad (Subang Jaya and not KL).

This travelogue continues with the Myanmar 2002 travelogue.

29.12.02: Yangon -> KL (flight)
Hotel Concorde, KL, 168RM
Weather: sunny, no rain in Yangon; sunny with clouds in KL, hot and humid

We wake up at 5:15am (in Yangon, Myanmar) and leave the hotel at 6:10am reaching the airport (a bit out of town to the north) at 6:25am - only a 15 minutes drive on the almost empty roads of this very early Sunday morning. Normal drive time is approx. 30 minutes according to our driver. At the airport we give $250 for the second part of trip payment to the driver and go through immigration and check-in. We have to pay an additional $10 each airport tax (travel agency in KL told us the airport tax was already included). We have a cup of tea in the cafe above the departure lounge. The 8am MAI (Myanmar Airways International) flight takes off at 8am sharp. I've never experienced a flight which would take off sharp on the planned time - but it's probably no big accomplishment considering the situation: ever seen an international airport with just two or three planes in it ?
We arrive on time at 12pm local time in KLIA and are in the Hotel Concorde at 1:30pm (taking the KLIA express). I download my emails and messages. Shirley goes out and meets her sister Sara for shopping. I finish browsing through the messages, then take a taxi to BB Plaza, have a brief lunch at a KFC and have a haircut at Kimarie (55 RM). Then I buy some groceries and have a look at the IT section. There is a Sotec subnotebook with a DVD/CDRW combodrive for just 4200RM. Then I spend some time in an Internet cafe. I eat something again at the Esquire Kitchen, then head back to the hotel. In the evening I try to recover without success the photos from Inle lake.

30.12.02: KL -> Munich
Hotel Concorde, KL, 168RM
Weather: overcast sky in the morning; sun shines in the afternoon; no rain

After breakfast we take a taxi to the Citibank where I get cash with my VISA card. It's a Citibank VISA card and I'm taking the money from a Citibank ATM. Since in Germany I loaded the card with cash, there should be no transaction fee for this operation. This money is for Shirley's mom, as I need to pay for Shirley. We take a taxi and go to the Maybank near the BB Plaza shopping complex and deposit the money into Shirley's account.
After we go to the 2nd floor of the Sungei Wang shopping centre and I have a second look at the Sotec notebook. The screen is just average - the colours are not that brilliant and that kills the deal. My Toshiba Portege 300CT may be outdated, but íts screen is excellent. After some more shopping around we take a taxi and go to Sarah's office. There Sarah gives us her car. 
We first drive to Shirley's home in Subang Jaya where she gets some stuff. Then we take the motorway and drive to Putrajaya (arriving at 3pm). This is supposed to become the new administrative centre of Malaysia. Putrajaya basically consists of big residential areas, green parks, mosques and government buildings. There is a lot of work in progress - it looks like an unfinished town. We explore the town a bit (with Shirley complaining of the sun and the heat, and indeed it's very hot), then drive back to KL at 4:40pm.
In KL we hand over the car to Sarah and drive to the hotel. Dinner is at 9pm in KLCC in the Lazar Grill restaurant (116 RM for the three of us) on the first floor.
I pack my things and around 11pm we drive to the KL Sentral station where I fetch the KLIA Express at 11:45pm.At the airport, when checking in, it turns out that the total weight of my luggage is 41.4 Kg - 6.4 Kg more than the 35Kg allowed on my ticket. The additional fee is substantial (648 RM). Luckily, when I suggest to carry one item as cabin luggage, the check in clerk agrees.

Copyright (c) 2003 Alfred Molon