Prepaid GSM
Getting around

Part 2: Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Genting Highlands

11.12: Dubai -> Kuala Lumpur
12.12: Kuala Lumpur
13.12: Kuala Lumpur
29.12: Kuala Lumpur
30.12: Kuala Lumpur
31.12: Kuala Lumpur - Genting
01.01: Kuala Lumpur
02.01: Kuala Lumpur - Seremban
03.01: Kuala Lumpur
04.01: KL -> Dubai -> Munich

29.12: Kuala Lumpur
Hotel: home of Shaun, Shirley's brother in Shah Alam
Weather: mostly overcast, some light rain in the evening. Tropically hot.

Day spent not doing much. We basically are the whole day in Shaun's house in Shah Alam, only in the late afternoon we bring Alissia to the playground. I spend some time editing the photos of Dubai, but get bored and complain to Shirley. So we book a hotel in KL for the next four days. At least in KL there is something to do.

30.12: Kuala Lumpur
Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley shopping complex, KL. RM 275 for a nice room with everything in a four star hotel. The Internet line is not included in the price and costs RM30/day (or RM 8/hour).
Weather: mostly overcast, although the sky opens up a bit in the evening. Tropically hot.

I get up at 10am, check my emails (the Jaring ISP today works reasonably fine) and get ready. I contact Julie and set up a meeting in the afternoon. After some discussion, Shirley and I decide to skip the trip to the Sunway Lagoon mall for today and instead go immediately to the Boulevard hotel.

At 1pm we leave Shaun's house in Shah Alam and drive to the hotel in Sara's car, arriving there at 1:30pm. While Alissia, Shirley, Sara and their mom drive to KL, I check in and after that have lunch in the Esquire Kitchen restaurant. After lunch I have a hair cut in the A Cut Above (RM 68, but they cut the hair too short) and at 5:15pm I meet Julie and her boyfriend in the Starbucks coffee bar in the Midvalley mall. We have a discussion about the keywording project Julie is working on until about 6:30pm. After that we split and at 7:30pm I meet Shirley and the other ladies. In the evening we have a dinner in the Sushi King restaurant. Tomorrow we'll go to the Genting Highlands, a cool highlands area near KL.

31.12: Kuala Lumpur - Genting highlands - Kuala Lumpur
Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley shopping complex, KL.
Weather: mostly overcast, tropically hot. Fresh in the Genting Highlands, but not cold. A little bit very light rain in the Genting Highlands.

Daytrip to the Genting Highlands: we get up at 8:30am, have breakfast and then take the 10:30am bus to Genting from KL Sentral station, arriving one hour later to the cablecar station. After some queueing up we reach the Genting Highlands resort at 12pm.

The Genting Highlands resort is not that impressive. It is basically a big complex consisting of a hotel, a casino, a fun fair and a mall. Outside this complex there is essentially nothing, only road and parkings for cars. The complex is built in such a way that it is difficult to walk out of it. Obviously the idea is to keep the visitors as long as possible inside the complex, so that they will spend as much as possible inside there and maximise the profit (if people were outside they would not spend money).

The complex itself is very noisy, cavernous, smelly and very crowded. There are rollercoasters inside the complex, hovering above the people with no protection net, which is dangerous because if an accident happens the people below are directly hit by the rollercoaster cars. Poor safety mechanism.

It is also extremely weird that Malaysians prefer to be inside a cavernous and noisy building instead of being outside breathing some fresh air. Outside in the Genting Highlands it is fresh and comfortable, so it makes no sense to stay inside the building: in tropical climates closed, airconditioned malls are a necessity, because it is so hot outside, but here we are high in the mountains, so people do not have to be inside a building all the time.

In any case we are in the Genting Highlands until 5:30pm, then get back to KL. In the evening we do not do much, as we are tired.

01.01: Kuala Lumpur
Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley shopping complex, KL.
Weather: mostly overcast, tropically hot.

Day spent not doing much. I shoot some photos from the KL tower and of the Batu caves (construction is finished on the golden statue, 50m tall, very impressive). In the evening we go to Sunway Pyramid shopping complex for dinner.

02.01: Kuala Lumpur -> Seremban -> Kuala Lumpur
Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley shopping complex, KL.
Weather: mostly overcast, tropically hot. Rain in Seremban between 1pm and 2pm.

Daytrip to Negeri Sembilan (Seremban and Sri Menanti). The train (KTM Kommuter) leaves directly from the Midvalley shopping complex at 11am and arrives in Seremban at 12:25pm. Quite cold A/C inside the train, the ticket costs RM5.90. Once in Seremban I charter a taxi, which for RM60 will drive to Sri Menanti, wait there for one hour and drive me back. The driver is a friendly Malay guy.

Along the way I don't see that many traditional bull's horn Minangkabau houses. The few ones I see have a bull's horns shaped roof, but made out of corrugated tin instead of wood. The Istana Lama palace in Sri Menanti, which we reach after one hour's drive at 1:25pm, is interesting, but there is not too much to see. When I arrive it is raining and the rain only finishes at 2pm.

At 2:20pm we drive back to Seremban, doing a couple of stops for photos along the way. We arrive in Seremban at the State Museum at 3:30pm. The museum is closed, but is still interesting because on the compound there are some houses in Minangkabau style. I spend about 20 minutes there, then start looking for a taxi to get back to downtown Seremban. No such luck, and I start walking back. Suddenly a bus arrives and picks me up. I get off at the bus station (terminal 1) at 4:05pm. From there I walk a bit through Seremban. The city is kind of interesting, with a mix of well preserved colonial architecture and old and modern buildings. There are a number of Christian churches.

I'm back in KL at 7pm. In the evening Shirley and I watch a movie in the cinema - our first visit to a cinema in 2 1/2 years - while Sara takes care of Alissia. We sleep at 1am.

03.01: Kuala Lumpur
Boulevard Hotel, Midvalley shopping complex, KL. They allow us to stay in the room until 3pm at no extra charge.
Weather: mostly overcast, tropically hot. Some brief light rain in Shah Alam around 6pm.

We get up at 9:30am, get ready and have breakfast. After breakfast, at 11am, we swim in the pool. Alissia is still very scared of the water even if she is wearing a safety vest. At 12 something pm I get back to the room and browse the Internet and download my emails. Then at 1:30pm I get out and have lunch. By the way, we have extended the room until 3pm.

At 2:40pm I'm back in the room together with Shirley. It's now late and we rush to finish packing the bags. At 3:05pm we are down in the lobby and check out. Then, since Alissia is very tired and has started sleeping (Shirley is good at making small children sleep in her arms), we alternate each other monitoring Alissia while the other person is shopping. By the way, Shirley's mother and her sister Sara are here with us.

Around 5:20pm we put our bags into Sara's car and drive to Shah Alam. It turns out that Sara and Shirley make a surprise to me and bring me to a park close to the Shah Alam mosque (I told them that I wanted to photograph the Shah Alam mosque). Since it is still early (only 6:15pm) we spend some time in the park until it starts to rain. Then at 7pm we drive closer to the mosque and I shoot some photos.

At 8:15pm we finally reach the restaurant (it took so long because Sara could not find the way and the planned restaurant was closed so we had to choose another one). Shirley's brother Shaun has joined us in the meantime. We have a dinner at a Chinese seafood restaurant.

At 9:30pm we leave the restaurant and drive to Shaun's home in Shah Alam. We stay there until 11:30pm (I repack my suitcase and take a shower), then drive with Shaun to the airport, arriving there at 00:10am..

04.01: Kuala Lumpur -> Dubai -> Munich
Home, sweet home
Weather: overcast, but surprisingly mild in Munich (+7°C)

At the airport I check in my bags. There is some queue, so that I only manage to check in at 00:40am. Then I proceed to the gate, passing through immigration. Interestingly there is now free WLAN access at KLIA airport, so I spend some time checking my emails. At 1:45am I proceed to the gate and board the plane. The plane is a Boeing 777 with the same multifunctional seats there were on the flight Dubai-KL (seat has an AC power supply). The plane is very full and leaves on time.

After a short night during which I manage to catch some sleep, breakfast is served at 7:30am Malaysian time (3:30am Dubai time). Around 5am Dubai time the plane lands in Dubai. There are now three and a half hours of waiting time for the flight to Munich.

The plane to Munich takes off on time at 8:30am. It's again a Boeing 777-300, but this time with no power supply sockets in the seats. We land in Munich airport shortly after 12pm local time.

Copyright 2007 Alfred Molon