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Jan 26, 2006; Malaysia -- truly Asia

Reported by JoMar All rights reserved.

~ Kuala Lumpur
~ Melaka
~ Johor Bahru

Emotions Running High, Again...

Being in Bangkok yet again, spending more time with Kim and Ali, and now really getting to know Helen, Kim's neighbour, it made it "slightly" difficult to say a final "so long" as we departed for Bangkok's Don Muang Int'l Airport, heading for Malaysia.

Helen opened up her home to us like we were two, long, lost buddies; master bedroom with private ensuite...  Boy, did I count my "thankful~things" every night before I closed my eyes...

"Malaysia, truly Asia", as they say ...

Wow, we did not expect the glitter & glam of Kuala Lumpur (KL) at all. After being in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, experiencing all their culture, foods, smells, prayer, poverty and struggles; travelling to their close neighbour, Malaysia, we were stunned. Before we even landed, you could tell we had traversed into another world, there were acres of coconut groves everywhere, instead of crammed housing for millions of people.

The cab ride was long and gruesome, just under 2 hours. Finally arriving to our guesthouse: The Green Hut Lodge; we found it funky, clean and had aircon!! for $20 Canadian per night, or 70RM (ringitt) local money/per night.

It was now all of a sudden 9pm; we had departed Bangkok at 3:40pm + 2 hour flight + 1 hour ahead time change AND the 2 hour taxi ride -- yup, it was 9pm ! Wish we could somehow slow down time, sometimes.

While we were driving into KL we knew they house the TALLEST twin towers in the whole wide world, so my eyes were scanning all the time.

Then out of nowhere, there they were, gleaming like something I have never seen before!  (and they were in the near distance when we got out of the cab!)  Even though we were tired and hot - we put our backpacks down and trotted out and towards these "modern wonders of the world". On the way, we truly saw how beautiful KL is, how modern, how wealthy as well. We passed FENDI, CHANEL, PRADA, HYATT REGENCY, ultra modern transit buses and a hi-speed, very cool monorail system that ran up above the city. We passed high energy, tropical, "pumping" outdoor jungle-like clubs littered with gorgeous palms and people, Mercedes and Bentley's everywhere...  Where were we?  We looked at one another several times and didn't have to say a word -- in a flash, we were not in Thailand anymore, and we missed it.

Petronas Twin Towers: 452 meters, completed in 1996, the 88 stories soar into the sky. The structures, like sparkling jewels, day or night, are currently the tallest in the world! We could not go up them that night, but we did the next day.

On the way back to our room, we found Starbucks (!!!!) grabbed a mocha FRAP and sat amongst the glitter, sipped and people-watched. It was great!

21 January.  We grabbed a cab back to the towers in the morning cuz you have to get a pass, which was FREE! to go up them (security) and they take you up in groups of about 15. We got there at about 10 and they were already booked up until 4:15, so we had to toul around the city and come back. In the meantime,we saw the Central Market, a huge flea market type deal... visited a couple of mosques, very cool, including the largest one in KL, the old train station, great old architecture, and so much green space everywhere; Medeka Square, impressive old colonial government buildings, just a full day all around.

Going up into the towers was magnificent. The view -- well you can just imagine...

After this we needed replenishing, so we took monorail back to our little area and had drinks and some dinner, cat-nap and got ready to spin the town away!

We went to a club called "blueboys" and met Allen. A good ol' Canadian boy, from Merritt, B.C. (Canada)  Hey Allen, hope your travels are treating you well and you pay us a visit here! We had fun comparing notes on our ventures and of course chatted about "home".

It was late night, 3am by the time we shut the place down, but fun.

Sunday was spent quietly, roaming this monstrous modern wonder and got ready for our next stop: Melaka... which was 2 1/2 hours southwest.

Another great change, this city was small, charming and less expensive! Very historical, and friendly as they all get ready for the celebrations of Chinese New Year!

We stayed here for two days and decided to move on and get to yet another stop before arriving into Singapore, it was called Johor Bahru. Not really impressive, but a funny thing happened when we arrived 3 hours later... absolutely no-one spoke English at the bus terminal. We could not explain that we wanted to go to city centre for a hotel. Impossible.

Finally I asked someone who looked like he might know "some" English. He did, but just "some"...  He asked a taxi driver to take us to what we thought was going to be "city centre".  Nope, he brought us to just a hotel, that is all he must have understood... and what hotel was it? Not a backpackers hotel! It was the HYATT Regency ...

We were so tired of trying to explain, we thought we might ask the price, after all we are in Malaysia, it might be affordable and we needed to treat ourselves anyway.

Here we are at this opulent 5 star property, and it was only $60/night! We took it!

Funny how things fall into place when least expected:-)

It was great. The property was beautiful, pools, jacuzzi's, fitness centre and so on.  We went out for dinner that night and just hung out in our little palace!

The next morning, John had read that we can bus it over the causeway into Singapore OR we could actually walk over into the next country! That is what we did! We made it over to the Malaysian Immigration checkpoint by taxi, then we simply 'walked' over into Singapore! 

bye for now !

m and j xo

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