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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Day in Kuala Lumpur!

Time started: 20:40
Place: My temporary room at my Uncle's place (Subang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur)
Listening to: The ceiling fan blowing above me.
Weather: Fine
Mood: Exhausted.

After many delayed flights we finally made it to Kuala Lumpur at around 1:30am. We got home just past 3am and I didn't go to sleep until 4am in this strange room where I've never been.

I was quite annoyed to be woken up by dad at 8:30am. He was very excited to go out shopping.
Waking up extremely sleep deprived and deflated, I detested my father this very morning as I hesitantly made myself a mug of bland milo (seriously, it just tasted like hot water with a hint of the milo essence despite putting 3 heaped tablespoons of it and "Australian made" milk).

My aunt took us out for breakfast and I had fried kwey teow and "ice tea". The Malaysian form of ice tea in that particular venue appeared to be Tetley tea with lots of milk and sweeteners and whole chunks of ice that fill 3/4 of the glass. Wow...I was expecting something along the lines of Lipton lemon ice tea or something which was what I was hinting at. Oh well...I will not deny that the ice tea was certainly interesting tasting. It wasn't bad, actually. Just something I'm not used to. Just think of it as an English breakfast with lots of ice! The fried kwey teow was really nice! Something like this in Australia would probably cost at least $9 and after the exchange rate I paid like $1.30 for the meal. It also tastes 10 times better since it's authentic!

After breakfast, we took a taxi (teksi in Malay) to KLCC shopping centre (you know...where the twin towers are made famous by that Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones movie "Entrapment"). My dad and the taxi driver were having a conversation in full flight the whole way. Too bad it was all in Malay...all I understood in the 20 minute conversation was "police station" (polis stesen...haha, figures!). We hopped off right outside the twin towers that towered over the both of us (no pun intended!). I couldn't help but giggle after picturing Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones falling off at the link between the two towers, just like in the movie. As you step in you'll immediately feel out of place if you've always been a conservative spender like me! Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Prada, Georgio Armani...all these high class top notch brands that only the richest of the rich could afford...
Dad took me in to see all these watches with brands I've never heard of. There was one watch that costs RM84,500 (which is over $28k in Aussie dollars!)!!!! It just looked like an ugly and fat piece of metal with hands and numbers so pretentiously designed it would even shame the Avant-garde period! Ridiculous for a gadget to tell the time, if you ask me...ah well...Bill Gates would probably buy it...probably...
We soon left that shopping centre. I mean, it was out of our league anyway (you even have to pay to use the public toilets and to wipe your shoes on their door mats! Okay, I'm kidding about the door mat part but they might as well!). We then walked around two other shopping centres (one called The Pavillion and the other...uh...I can't remember, sorry!). Dad bought me a $50 watch. It was still a lot more than what I'd pay for a watch but I was grateful he wanted to buy me a nice gift :). I'm just glad it's not over $20k!
Soon we caught another taxi to go to Sunway Pyramid. This time we got a taxi driver that spoke Hakka so it was another 15 minutes of intense conversation between the driver and my dad. Thankfully I understood about 70% of the conversation since Hakka is one of the languages I speak. They were discussing the cost of living and my dad was just saying how expensive everything is in Darwin (he went on about overpriced Bok Choy for yonks which was a little amusing!) but how much he gets paid being a humble cleaner and how well he's looked after by the government. At the end of that topic I was a little confused as to whether he was for or against Australia's quality of life...
The Pyramid is strange because you'd that the building resembles a Pyramid (obvious reason why it's called Pyramid) with the Sphynx at the front...and then you'd see a bunch of red Chinese lanterns being hung everywhere outside because it's approaching Chinese New Year, and there's Starbucks and Bubba Gump Shrimp stores outside so.......the building just looks like it's having a severe identity crisis. Still, the building looks impressive as far as commercialism goes.

The shops here were more middle class citizen friendly. There were even some familiar stores that I'd see in Australia such as Diva, The Body Shop, Harvey Norman etc...
First we had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and the food was great! I had grilled lemongrass NZ beef with noodles (identity crisis again? Kiwi beef!). It tasted really good though and the service was fantastic.
Then we went browsing around a variety of shops and I bought myself two cook books (one was for microwaving food...I figured it'd help while I'm still studying at uni) and the other one was 200 low calorie recipes (I should probably watch my weight after all the weight I've gained!). Then after hours of walking around my feet were killing me (the shoes were a bit tight around my toes) and I could feel them forming blisters. We sat and had a drink then it was off to shop some more again! I managed to buy myself two dresses for Chinese New Year (it's tradition to wear new clothes to start the CNY). I found it miraculous that they fit me (I'm overweight) because although I'm not...I'm grotesquely obese in Malaysia!

Dad and I were worn out by the end of the day. I must say I'm impressed with the shopping environment here but so far with no patch of blue sky in sight all day and congested traffic it was a little worrying with how much of the toxicity of the air has entered into my blood stream from this one day alone. Ah well...worrying about it isn't going to make me any healthier.

I came home ready to sleep, but of course I had to get ready to go have dinner with the family. With only 4 hours of sleep and 8 hours of shopping I'd rather drop dead on the bed there and then.

We went to a local restaurant just around the corner. I tried frog for the first time. Frog as an Asian delicacy in a nutshell: It looks like chicken, and tastes like fish. The taste wasn't bad...but having grown up in Darwin with frogs everywhere you turn, I couldn't cut the image of a cute green tree frog hopping about with the smile-like appearance for the face...I couldn't eat another piece. I probably would've vomited...
The rest of the food was quite nice though, and I drank so much green tea! It is definitely nice to end the day with a good pot of green tea.
There was five of us eating with five dishes which complimentary peanuts and pickles for starters, water melon for dessert and a pot of green tea, it only cost RM77.70 in total! That's like $25 AUD! That would only be enough for one person in Australia dining in a fine cuisine Chinese restaurant with food that doesn't taste anywhere near as good!

I shouldn't be surprised. This is like my 19th time I've visited Malaysia and I'm aware of the high cost of eating out in Australia. Mind you, the average person here only earns like RM700 a MONTH! I earn $700 a week at SUBWAY so I guess it doesn't really matter. The difference is still remarkable though.

Anyway, I'm finally home so I'm ready to go to sleep. Dad wants another shopping marathon tomorrow so I got to rest up and be prepared! My poor feet...

Time finished: 21:38
Mood: Incredibly exhausted...

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