We planned a trip. Malaysia. First time for us. The itinerary after a lot of tweaking ended up like this. :
- Kuala Lumpur, for the city buzz and the food.
- Malacca, for the history and the food.
- Penang, for the architecture and the food.
- Langkawi, for the beach and the food.
The six days in Langkawi is also an attempt to do nothing. We plan, in future to take longer and longer trips and we need to be able to take it easy. That doesn’t come naturally to us. We always have to see what’s around the next corner or over that bridge. We love a back alley. We see an alley and we have to go down it. The more sinister the better. You know those alleys that, if they were in a computer game, you would definitely reload before you entered. Those ones. We love ’em.
Our Emirates flight to KL had a three hour layover in Dubai. We made for the first class lounge. We were flying economy but I always like to try to crash the party. One look at the lobby and I turned around. No chance. Everyone was being checked. It would have been easier getting backstage at a Rolling Stones concert. Same as the last seven times through DBX. I have to check always though because of what happened the time before that.
The aircraft had needed maintenance and, as we were being delayed, Emirates gave us all a voucher for food, and directions to where it could be redeemed. No one could figure out the directions so we headed for the info desk. By this time I have adopted an old couple from the land of the bewildered who didn’t really know whether they were in the park or at the pictures. The info desk was really busy with only two staff. I sat my new grandad and grandma down, promising them I’d be back when I found the restaurant.
Anyway we wandered around, up a lift or two until we ended up in a very comfortable area with food and drink counters aplenty. This must be the place. The Little Nurse grabbed a seat and I had a further look around. I’m watching the food and drink counters. No one is paying seems to me. Vouchers or otherwise. Hmm, let’s see. I palm my credit card.
‘Bottle of Heineken please,’ I said.
The waiter handed it over. ‘Anything else sir?’
‘No. No thanks.’
He made to walk away. Obviously no payment required. I pocketed my card.
‘Wait!’ I called him back. ‘Sorry, did you say “anything else”?’
‘Yes sir. Do you need something?’ he asked
‘Two glasses of champagne please, three of those tiger prawns and a roast beef sandwich please, rare.’
‘I’ll bring them over sir.’
And so it began.
When the food and drink arrived I went to retrieve my new grandparents. At the first lobby, I paused. Something wasn’t right. The greeters who had been preoccupied when we wandered through earlier were now super vigilant. Everyone was being checked. Boarding cards and passports. If I leave this area there’s no way I’m getting back in. A quandary then. What about the old folks? Hmm. Grandma/Grandad or free wine, oysters and lobsters? I debated, I deliberated, I pondered … for about three seconds.
We stayed in the lounge for the whole five hours. Plenty to drink, watched a movie on a big screen. Had a shower and sat in one of those vibrating chairs. As for the food, well, I put three pounds on.
In KL we took a taxi to the hotel. The Journal. Modern but kinda funky and in a great location in Bukit Bintang. After a quick shower and a fight over the three coathangers we hit the street. It was hot and humid. The weather would be like this for the whole three weeks. Glad I brought only four coats. We soon found Jalan Alors the street food area. All kinds of Asian food is available here. Our dinner was about 3GBP but, because we were held prisoner by the torrential downpour, our beer bill was 32GBP.
The next day we took a free bus ride to the KL tower. We paid about 6GBP to go to the observation deck. That’s 276 metres up. There are slightly higher views from the restaurant and the sky box which sticks out and has a glass floor. Also more people go up the Petronas Towers, from where, of course, you don’t get to see the Petronas Towers.
There are some great skyscrapers in KL and this is a great place to view them. The city skyline is quite amazing, if you like that sort of thing. It’s right up there with Hong Kong, Dubai, and NYC. We went to the food court in the Surria Mall for lunch. Food courts in Asia are tip top and are not to be compared to European or American versions. It’s easy to get restaurant quality food served quickly for not much money.
Equally the Surria Mall may very well be the poshest mall I was ever in. I had never seen a dedicated Dior shop before. Or an Alexander McQueen. Or a Yves St. Laurent. We spent a couple of hours in there just for the designer air conditioning.
Walking back to the hotel we were passed by the “Hop-on/Hop-off bus.”
‘We should buy tickets for that.’ said The Little Nurse.
‘Tickets for what?’ I asked, not noticing the bus
‘The Hip-Hop bus,’ she said.
Yeah. The Hip-Hop bus. Hell of an attraction that would be. Imagine. Probably have a jacuzzi and a champagne bar. Hennessy XO on tap. Kendrick Lamar rapping out the commentary. Maybe the driver is Fiddy Cent. Eminem selling the tickets. Yes I would buy tickets for the Hip-Hop bus.