Nice to meet you, Malaysia!

We landed safely (even survived the fumigation 😉 as the sun was setting across the tarmac in Kuala Lumpur. We lost an hour in this flight. We were now in a new time zone. As our descent brought land into our sight lines, I was amazed at the long piered ports and extremely large ships I saw along the coastline. In doing some research I think they may have been oil tankers. As we glided over more inland territory I saw mangroves change to palms with narrow dirt roads passing through them. Immigration process into Malaysia was friendly and efficient. We decided on this off shoot excursion instead of paying for a Thai visa which would have allowed us a stay past 30 days. Instead, when we return to Phuket we will be in a new cycle. Soon we were exchanging our baht for ringgit and getting our taxi voucher at the ticket counter. Our dollar did not quite get us the value we had become accustomed to these last few weeks in Thailand but still we could not complain. We found cost of goods to be slightly less than the US during our stay in KL but higher than what we found throughout Thailand.

Our driver loaded our bags and we struck out on the Maju Expressway and then on to the E20 leg headed for Kuala Lampur, the capital of this democratic parliament run country which has a federal monarch (who is the government leader as well as it’s leader of Islamic faith). Our travel to the city was about 35 miles, farther than we had anticipated, or really given much thought to. Great highway system and easy traffic flow made for smooth travel although there were three toll areas to pay at as well. (This was included in the precalculated amount paid for at the counter.) As we drove, lighted cranes were strewn throughout the skyline from suburb to city. This has been the case in each of our destinations this trip as well as in our travels these past few years. Leading us to think there must be some margin of wealth throughout our world economies. (Or is it simply all a debtor mentality?)

Our greeting from Avtar, who turned out to be a great Concierge full of information to share, was warm and prompt. He directed the doorman to handle our luggage and assisted the front desk with our check in at Invito Hotel Suites just at the edge of Bukit Bintang. He also escorted us to our room, stowed our luggage and explained the room amenities. First rate and truly a suite. Full kitchenette with stovetop, cookware and dishes, dining table, sofa, 50″ TV, desk, king bed and balcony. A great spot with ease of access to city attractions. We freshened up a bit but wanted to check our surroundings. On the way out we chatted some more with Avtar who shared his favorite spots in his home city as well as some of its history. This country’s freedom is 60 years young!

KL is known as a shopping mecca, as a matter of fact one of the first things Avtar said when we inquired for his to do recommendations was “Do you like shopping?” Um, not really. Well, on our galavanting around we definitely saw why. From Asian hand made to Zara with H&M, Valentino and everything in between, if you are a shopaholic put this city and the entire Klang Valley on your desired destination list. Yes, once again we found ourselves wandering through these mall mazes both for the relief of air conditioning and sometimes the easiest cross route to get somewhere else. These are first rate shopping centers! (They make me dizzy just like malls at home do!) We did go see Kong at Pavilion KL Cinema. My movie buff couldn’t resist the 17.50 MYR ($4 American) ticket price that got us in this first rate theatre for a new release. There was no national anthem to start the movie here as there was in Thailand but despite the rating, anything near a swear word was bleeped (as they were on TV channels in our room). Kong is totally worth seeing by the way.

On a subsequent day on our short getaway to Malaysia, we dined at a place called The Ship. Dressed in dark wood with a nautical theme this was labeled the best steakhouse in town. We had Oysters Rockefeller and a smoked salmon app to start followed by an oxtail soup (regional specialty) for my partner and a wonderful crab and creamed corn in seafood broth for me. One ribeye and one pepper steak pleased our weekly “need” for beef. Our server, Manouz, was attentive throughout and allowed us to dine leisurely, as we prefer. At the end of the meal we chatted and he shared the story of this job. College educated, speaking excellent English, it is his 5th year at The Ship, he is 36. They are good to him, he earns well but is from Nepal. Once a year he returns home to renew his work visa and visit his wife and two children. His son who is 14 serves as man of the house when he is gone, his daughter is 12. He hopes this is his last year in KL. His goal has been to save enough money to open a family business. To give his son opportunity to live well without this type of sacrifice. To, at last, be home with his family. His story, and others I will share are meant to make us all think how truly lucky we are. Count your blessings each day as you start it and appreciate, leaving no room for complaints, and your life becomes more rewarding. Our night ended at a street bar called Sutraa. A great location to people watch, we smoked hooka