Prepaid GSM
Getting around

Part 2: KL

24-25.10: Munich -> KL
26.10: KL
27.10: KL
28.10: KL -> Tokyo
15.11: KL
16.11: KL
17.11: KL -> Dubai
18.11: Dubai -> Munich

Map of KL region

24-25.10: Munich -> KL
Hotel Boulevard KL, 245RM for a nice double room with everything, except a DSL connection (for that you have to pay an extra RM 60/day)
Weather: Cold and overcast in Munich (+6°C), tropically warm in KL

We leave home at 7:07pm and arrive at the airport at 8:40pm. At 9pm we are at the check-in counter. There is no queue, so we are served soon. The lady says she can board us but can't yet assign us seats because the plane is full. Hard to believe that an Emirates flight Munich-Dubai on a Wednesday evening in low season is full. She says we will get the seats at the gate (they will call us). So we proceed to the security check, where a complete body check is performed.

At 9:45pm we still haven't been called so I go to the gate and get the boarding passes. They put us on three non-contiguous seats. When I complain the lady says I have to talk to the plane staff. In the end on the plane I manage to get three contiguous seats by asking people to change their seats, but Emirates should have been capable of placing us on three contiguous seats.

The plane is completely full - there is not one empty seat. It's unbelievable and I wonder how Emirates managed to do this, given that it's low season. The plane takes off at 10:45pm, just 15 minutes later than scheduled. Inside the plane it's freezing, because somebody put the temperature of the A/C too low.

We arrive in Dubai around 6:40am local time after a sleepless night. Impossible to sleep on those cramped seats. At 10:40am, about 45 minutes late, the plane leaves Dubai (a Boeing 777-300 with big individual screens in the seats with video on demand, and electrical plugs in the seats).

The plane lands in KL more or less on time. We go through immigration, retrieve the luggage and take a taxi to the hotel.

26.10: KL
Hotel Boulevard, KL. It turns out that from the hotel room it's impossible to call the 1511 Jaring Internet dial-up. Are they blocking the line?
Weather: almost blue sky in the morning with only a very thin clouds layer, overcast in the afternoon but no rain. Tropically hot.

The alarm clock wakes us up at 9:25am. After breakfast, around 10:40am, I'm back in the room and try to connect to the Internet to check my mails. Doesn't work. The 1511 Jaring dial-up number can't be reached from the hotel phone and the other Jaring numbers I have also do not work. In the lobby they tell me that the Internet DSL line in the room costs 60RM/day, which is very expensive, especially if you only use the Internet for one hour or two per day.

We then get out of the hotel room and do some shopping in the Midvalley mall. We buy two prepaid cards from DiGi, which now cost just 15RM with 15RM of calls. DiGi is certainly losing money on this, because a SIM card alone should cost more than 15RM.

At noon I get back to the room, take my computer and go to the Starbucks coffee shop where I finally manage to connect to the Internet and download the 300 emails which I received in the past 36 hours. By 1pm I've finished processing all emails and call Shirley. We meet again and continue shopping. At 2pm we have a small lunch in a KFC restaurant, then I head back to the hotel room with Alissia. I'm in the hotel room until 5pm, while Shirley is shopping. Then, when Shirley returns I hand over Alissia to her and take a taxi to downtown KL.

The Lord's tailor no longer is in Jalan Alor. From an Internet search in a nearby Internet cafe I find out his new address - Jalan Ampang and I also find the likely address of House of Vince, the tailor who made a suit for me in 1999. But it seems that it takes half an hour now to get there by taxi and the taxi drivers are not really willing to get there by meter, because they claim there is so much traffic jam right now. So I have a look in the nearby BB Plaza shopping complex where I find a few tailors. I end up ordering two shirts from one tailor who has nice fabric and a suit from another tailor. Might order more stuff from them if they do a good job.

It's about 7:30pm when I finally get out of the BB Plaza shopping complex. It's already dark, too dark for the photos I was planning to take of KLCC, so, after a dinner in the Esquire restaurant, I head to Petaling street for some shopping. I'm back in the Midvalley shopping complex at 9pm. There I check my emails in the Starbucks coffee shop.

At 10pm I'm back in the room. At 1am I try to sleep, but can't fall asleep.

27.10: KL
Hotel Boulevard, KL.
Weather: blue sky with very thin clouds layer. Sunny the whole day, in the later afternoon the sky becomes overcast. No rain. Tropically hot.

The alarm clock wakes us up at 9:30am. I'm still heavily jet-lagged and last night I was awake until 5am. After a shower I get down for breakfast. Around 10am I get out of the hotel and walk a bit through the Midvalley shopping complex. Then I take the train to KL Sentral, from where I take the MRT to KLCC, arriving there at 11:15am.

Until 12:30pm I shoot some photos and walk around the shops of the Suria KLCC mall, having a look at what they offer. Most prices are more or less on the same level as those in the online market in Germany, which is very price competitive. If you live in Germany, it makes no sense to purchase electronics in Malaysia, as the prices are not lower but you might have warranty problems. By the way, the Petronas towers and Suria KLCC as always look great.

Around 12:30pm, since it's a short distance and taxi drivers insist on not using the meter, I walk up to Bukit Bintang road. There I check my mails in an Internet cafe and shop around a bit in the BB Plaza shopping complex. At 2pm I have a lunch in the Delifrance restaurant, then at 2:30pm I start looking for a taxi to get back to the Midvalley shopping complex. There are three taxi stands each full of taxis, but all taxi drivers refuse to use the meter and insist on charging 20RM for the trip to the Midvalley complex, which costs 6RM by meter.

So I take the monorail, planning to go to KL Sentral and from there change to Midvalley. Turns out that it would have been better taking a taxi, because initially I end up on the monorail going into the wrong direction (I ask one guy inside the wagon and he mistakenly tells me that we are indeed going to KL Sentral - even when we arrive in Titiwangsa the guy insists that KL Sentral is the next station). In the end I arrive at Midvalley at 4:40pm, after a brief shopping stop at KL Sentral.

At 5pm I have a haircut at the A Cut Above hairdresser in Midvalley, then I buy a digital camera (Canon 7MP compact) as a present for Sara, Shirley's sister, who just had birthday. Shirley had asked me to buy a camera for Sara's birthday. 10 minutes later Shirley mentions that Sara has already bought a camera for herself (a stylish Sony compact model with a 5x zoom). Fine, what to do with this cute little camera?

Around 7pm I have dinner with Shirley and her family in the Thai restaurant in the Midvalley mall. Bad and overpriced food, avoid this place. After dinner, around 8pm Shaun, Shirley's brother, drives us to the BB Plaza shopping complex, where they will do some shopping and I will do the fitting for the suit. The tailor eagerly tries to sell me another suit.

At 10pm we are back in Midvalley. I briefly head to the Starbucks coffee shop to check my emails, then pack my things and we switch off the lights shortly after midnight.

28.10: KL -> Tokyo
Hotel Sumisho, Tokyo. 8065 yen for a tiny single room with everything including A/C (which does not work), a fridge, a hairdryer, a fast DSL line, flat screen TV, telephone. Due to the small size of the room there is no cupboard for the clothes.
Weather: early morning sunny, blue sky with very few clouds in KL, tropically hot.

The alarm clock wakes me up at 7:30am. Again I didn't get too much sleep, as I fell asleep initially, then woke up and only fell asleep again around 5am. After breakfast I check out and at 8:40am I'm in a taxi to KL Sentral. There I check in the luggage to Narita, then at 8:53am I'm in the Skytrain. Surprise, surprise in KL Sentral there is a free WLAN network which I use to download my emails.

At 9:30am I'm in KLIA. There is again a free WLAN network, so I continue processing my messages and surfing the web. At 10:05am I go through immigration, security and walk to the gate. At 10:30am I'm at the gate and immediately after they start boarding the plane.

The plane is an old Boeing 777-200, but with individual LCD screens for each seat. The flight is kind of boring, perhaps also because I'm quite tired and jet-lagged.

After 6 hours, with a top speed of 1080 km/h (almost 200km/h tail wind) we land in Narita at 6:50pm local time. One hour later I've managed to go through immigration, withdraw cash from an ATM (there are many in the airport) and retrieve the luggage. I ask at the information counter how to get to the hotel. They suggest to take a bus to Tokyo central station, as the train line is disrupted. I go one level lower where it should be possible to buy a Japan Rail pass, only to find out that they are only selling Japan East Rail passes. So I buy a Narita Express ticket (2940 yen).

The 7:46pm train is delayed by 25 minutes and will only leave at 8:10pm. The duration of the trip should be one hour. I'm at the hotel at 9:30pm, taking a taxi (980 yen) to get from the train station to the hotel.

Copyright 2007 Alfred Molon