Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arriving in Kuala Lumpur

After half an hour or so, a shuttle appears. It takes me somewhere. I don't see a train, but I do see buses heading to the main train station in KL. The ticket costs as much as the coffee I'd bought earlier. It's dark on the bus. I doze off for 45 minutes. Later, I wake up. It's less dark. Also I am in a city now. It's around 7.30 and I want to find a monorail. I get off the bus.

I cannot find the monorail. It is too early to think. I see a map. There is a monorail on the map. The map does not seem to reflect reality. I am skeptical about putting my fate in the hands of a map I just met, but what choice do I have? I go in the direction it bids.

I wander a few blocks from the station. At first there are signs with arrows and the word monorail on them. They stop. Then come the small shops, cheap looking hotels and various restaurants. Occasionally a pungent, sweet stench of rot wafts by. I eventually find a monorail. It's a really tall rail with a train on it. Hard to miss once you're looking at it. However, I apparently did miss the stop at the train station and instead stumbled upon the 2nd stop on the line.

The car is crowded, but wonderfully air conditioned. I get off near at a stop nearest a market that's recommended for breakfast. The roads are a bit chaotic and not all marked in my guidebook. I'm unconcerned since I don't really care about the market. I just want coffee and food and there are many places that appear capable of providing these things.

I stop at a place with sidewalk tables, plastic chairs and several customers. I order coffee and explain to the chef that I know nothing of his people or their food and will like to be served the finest provisions at his command. The propietor is understanding of my predicament and suggests Rasti with egg. I consent. He obliges. I consult my map as I eat. The coffee enhances my orientation skills and I am able to decipher the path to the market. I go there, however, having already eaten, the market is rendered uninteresting. Just a market.

I want a hotel. I should stay near the train station but I am considering splurging on a nicer place and just arranging transportation there to get me back to the airport. Given the 7:30AM flight and the time it took to get into town, I worry a bit about catching the train/bus in time. Also, it's hot. Also, I'd like to lose my bag. Also, I'd like a pool and a nap. I stop at a couple nice places charging >$150. The 3rd place I stop costs < $100. It also seems nice. I stop looking.

It is dark at 5.30 or so AM in Kuala Lumpur. I know this b/c I just got off a plane at this ungodly hour. I'm a bit dazed and uncertain where to go. I want an express train into town. The guide book says there is one, but my eyes say otherwise. Slowly it dawns on my that I'm at the wrong terminal. I'm in the LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal), whereas the train only runs to the, apparently, upscale normal terminal. I sit down and wait for a shuttle to the other terminal. It's alreay muggy and the sun isn't even up.

The More Famous Petronas Tower as seen from the taller KL Tower

The room won't be ready until noon at the earliest. I leave my bag with the concierge and head back out. I follow a sign towards the Kuala Lumpur Tower. There is a culture center at the KL tower. Greeting people as they enter the culture center is a Predator statue. I was unaware that the Predator species was native to Malaysia, but I can't imagine why else the statue would be there.

The Malaysian Cultural Village

Predator, Guardian of the Cultural Village

There are also some traditional Malaysian dancers dancing about at the tower. Does the US do this? I want line dancers at the Washinton monument. Weak sauce, US.
Malaysian Dancers

With ever ticket to the top of the tower you get an additional attraction amongst a pony ride, F1 simulator, or Animal Zone. My hopes are dashed by the weight limit on the pony ride. I go up the tower. It is a tower. It also has a bizzare pay-phone mini-museum.
Who Doesn't Love Pay Phones?

I head back to the hotel, check into my room and hit the pool. The red-eye flight into town is catching up to me. I pass out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Oh, what's that? Your entire lab didn't receive hand towels from the government as some sort of award? Well, clearly you should move to Korea, where that happens for some reason.


Yeah, I've had them over a month and been too lazy to even upload a picture. What brought about the flurry of activity, you ask? Well, sources in Seoul indicate that I may have recently changed my money to ringgits. Maybe I brought a camera. Maybe I recently uploaded some pictures and this towel shot was there. Maybe I'll write about it.

But not tonight.