Sunday 13th November
We moved house last Sunday so have spent the week unpacking boxes, cleaning (2 homes – the old and the new!), organising, and keeping the old home fit for potential buyers to view it. A very busy time indeed for us all. And the whole time David had been saying “When we fly out on Tuesday night…” but I suddenly had a feeling it was *Monday* night we were flying out and, as I checked our paperwork, found this to be true. Fifteen minutes past midnight on Monday. So yes, Tuesday if you wish to be pendantic, but not much into it LOL
Suddenly, we had 24 hours to finish moving in and pack our bags and get to the airport – not 48 hours as we’d had in our minds. I sent a hasty text to Dan to make sure he was even intending coming home from work the next night in order to drive us to the airport. Fortunately I’ve had a trusty ‘packing list’ for a lot of years now so we didn’t have to worry about that – just print the list out and follow instructions. We’ve never been ones to pack far ahead of leaving home anyway.
Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th
Well, we’ve never been good at looking forward to holidays but this one really took the cake, with hardly a thought given ahead of time, but suddenly we were in the car with our cases packed and on the way to the airport. Dan, at our request, just kicked us out at the kerb once we got there and we exchanged hugs and off he went.
Check in went without a hitch and we went through all the scans and passport checks etc and settled down with some late dinner. We bought a coffee, an orange juice, 2 bottles of water, a serve of sushi, a chicken wrap, some jelly lollies and a twix bar for $42. In all honesty that didn’t seem bad for airport prices. I eat slowly – the under-statement of the year – and we didn’t have long to wait after our dinner to get loaded onto the plane.
Fortunately we had all 3 seats to ourselves on the flight to Singapore so David sat in the aisle seat and I lay across the other 2 with my head on his lap and tried to sleep a bit. After a while we swapped and I’ve never been so uncomfortable or bored in my whole life. Because I’d been snoozing before he lay down I didn’t have my book or anything to entertain me so I just sat trying to be a dutiful and loving wife and not fidget LOL
At last a very loud and sudden voice announced that we should prepare for landing, and the lights came on. Everyone first jumped out of their skin and then groaned and moved unwillingly and before we knew it we were in Changi Airport with 2 hours to waste. Food was the order of the day once more and we went to the Deli France and got a coffee, orange juice, tuna and mushroom pastry which was not even luke warm and the thickest cheese sandwich you ever did see. This cost $12.50 Singaporean and David paid with an Australian $10 note and got 20 Singaporean cents change. Airport transactions can be so interesting 🙂
Then we were loaded up once more for the flight to Kuala Lumpur. Truly, we were loading and taxi’ing for about twice the time of the flight. Up and straight down without time for any refreshments to be offered and we wondered why on earth they’d bothered climbing so high in the sky between the 2 airports!
After landing we were thoroughly confused as to where to get our baggage. After following the arrows we ended up on a train platform and were too scared to get on it in case we left the airport and could not get back to get our luggage. And where was it going to take us anyway? Help!!! Being female, and not paralysed with fear over asking directions, I asked the only official person around – a cleaner – if we had to catch the train to get our luggage and was assured “Yes, yes! Train!” And so we did.
Sure enough at the far end of the short train journey was customs and passport checks… and luggage!!! We got our forefinger fingerprints taken too! We’ve never had our fingerprints taken before so now I guess that our chance to be international criminals is over LOL
We found our way towards an exit and signs told us that we must purchase taxi vouchers *before* we got into a taxi. Different! But it assured us a set price and the most direct journey and that felt like a good thing. The taxi was average in appearance and we set off along a highway regularly interspersed with toll booths. The driver passed through one using a voucher, another with a swipecard of some description and then 2 with cash! The speed limit varied from 70 to 110 kp/j (I guess the Malaysian word for ‘hour’ starts with a j!) but the taxi varied in speed from 100 to 130. Eeekkk – what is it with us and taxis that want to outpace the plane we just got off!?!?
First glimpse of the Petronas Towers
As we approached the city the traffic was getting busier and the driver changed route twice. After the last change he got cross, but in a cheerful way (I know – how do you do that?) and started muttering about ‘now I’m going to be late’. We don’t know what for, we were just eternally grateful to then pull up at our G Tower Hotel and get out alive!
The greeters put our luggage behind their counter and showed us the lift to go to the 11th floor where the hotel reception was. Of this 29 storey building, only floors 11, 12 and 13 were hotel; the rest was offices. Reception was our introduction to the many polished/reflective surfaces that seemed so favoured in KL. Mirrors, glass, shiny marble and highly polished wood were everywhere so that by the second day I was walking with caution for fear of walking into a wall by accident. Or out of a window!
At the back of the foyer was a lovely vertical garden and we saw a few of these around KL.
We were too early even for our arranged early check-in so they suggested that we may like to go down to the building foyer and have breakfast in the café there. Indeed we would like that very much, and enjoyed a leisurely buffet until 10 o’clock when we were able to check in to our room. The room was quite nice, though the bathroom was rather dark. The bed was absolutely *massive* and the air conditioning was absolutely freezing so I turned that off as priority number one. Priority number two was to have a fully horizontal sleep with my legs out straight and I was really surprised that David decided to join me!
I suppose we slept for about an hour and were then ready to go out and explore. Firstly we explored the infinity pool just off from reception, then the building’s gym on the 7th floor. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this before. Every piece of equipment matched and there were seemingly endless rows of treadmills, bikes, steppers and elliptical walkers; also a massive and well-equipped free weights room. We looked forward to using this!
Then outside after getting rough directions from the building concierge to walk to the Petronas Towers that we had glimpsed as we had hurtled towards the city in the taxi earlier in the day. The air was pleasantly warm and a little humid – perfect really – and we found the Towers without difficulty. We explored the ground and lower floors and got some bottled water, tea bags, milk (the room supplied that awful powdered ‘creamer’!) beer, chocolates and chips to stock up for nibbles and drinks. By now we were feeling the effects of our night without sleep and felt absolutely bone weary so made our way back to the hotel. Into the lift, pressed ‘12’ and the doors shut to within an inch or so and then bounced open again. OK. Tried again with the same result. And again. Out of the lift to press the ‘up’ request button but of course, because we already had a lift, it wasn’t going to send another to us! Now what!? There were only 2 of them and everybody knows you’re not allowed to use the stairs in these tall buildings!
Another couple came along and the guy led the way into the lift whereupon we said ‘good luck, we couldn’t get it to work!’ and decided to get in as well. “See!?!?” says he as the doors begin to shut (with a ‘stupid Westerners’ tone of voice). But then the doors got to within an inch of shutting and sprung open again with self-delight and we giggled but had the decency not to say “See!?!?” Out we all got and at last someone arrived in the other lift so we got into it fast and managed to get to our room to sit down and have a welcome cuppa.
We thought we’d now go and explore floors 28, where the restaurant and bridge bar were, and 29 which, according to the hotel website, hosted breakfast on the roof each day. I was looking forward to this! The 2 lifts dedicated to hotel guests alone only stopped at ground level, 7 (for the gym) and 11, 12 and 13 for rooms, so to go to 28 we had to find a set of 3 other lifts around the corner. We got into the middle lift, pressed 28, and when the doors opened we were on the ground floor! On another occasion we’d wanted to go down in the lift but the ‘down request’ arrow would not stay lit and we couldn’t call a lift at all. It became an interesting game using them! And we couldn’t get to the 29th floor, the lift just wouldn’t accept that button at all. It turned out that the rooftop breakfasts that I’d looked forward to were not true – breakfast was in The Club, the same as dinner.
The Club was just a room with dining tables and chairs with facility for a buffet, and through this was the Bridge Bar – a bridge between the 2 ‘uprights’ of the U-shaped building with nothing between it and the ground, 28 floors below! Not a lot to see at this hour, and there had been signs (which seemed quite common everywhere) saying ‘No Photographs’.
By 3pm we were back in our room and rush hour was in full swing at the intersection we could see below. We spent many, many hours enthralled at the antics indulged in at these traffic lights. There were many honks but no apparent tempers and definitely no accidents – a miracle as far as we could see!
We decided on a shower and then dinner, finding ourselves at The Club complete with many mirrors and reflections, including the windows we would like to have seen out of, but could only see ourselves reflected whilst our bodies absolutely froze in the air conditioning, yet we had to suffer warm drinking water. In fact we endured warm drinking water almost everywhere for the entire week – I can’t stand warm water and really have difficulty swallowing it. Considering water is what I drink most, I was in trouble!
David finished his meal when I was about half way through mine – standard procedure for us, but the second he put his implements down the waitress pounced, took his plate and asked if he wished to order dessert! I guess that’s not rude in an Asian country! He managed to beat her off with a large metaphorical stick and asked her to come back when I’d finished my meal, which she did. Our meals had been pretty small so we did have dessert. David had a cold sago which turned out to be a massive bowl full and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a teensy chocolatey thing which was tasty.
Our waitress through this meal was a gorgeous girl who reminded us very much of someone from a TV show called ‘The Number One Ladies Detective Agency’. (It’s a set of books as well as it happens, but it’s the visual that she reminded us of.) She looked and acted so much like the secretary in this show who frequently told us that she’d scored 97% in her secretarial exams so, on the quiet, we referred to this girl as Ninety Seven Percent. We say ‘thank you’ a lot to people who help us and every time we said it she would reply “You’re welcome”. It really got to the point that I was trying not to say ‘thank you’, but I couldn’t do it.
After this we went into the Bridge Bar and enjoyed a look around and took some forbidden photos. There were large, oblong-shaped glass blocks in the floor so that you could look straight through to the ground, and interesting reflections everywhere.
I can well see that I moved the camera during this shot but I still like it. The blue parts are the bar behind me reflected in the angled windows of the room, and of course the lighted city views beyond.
Here, out of order but while I’m on the topic, is a shot of David looking from the 28th floor of the main building over towards the Bridge Bar so that you can see the void below it.
We didn’t hang around at the bar but went back to our room to look out of the window at the traffic again and to discover that peak ‘hour’ finished around 8pm! That’s 5 hours of mayhem and beat watching TV any day!
We checked our email and our real estate agent, Michelle, mailed to say that she was writing up an offer on our house tomorrow. Holidaying whilst selling your home… We don’t do a lot that’s ‘normal’ LOL
Bed early, and very welcome it was too. To start with.
Tossed and turned all night because I kept getting woken with numb spots from the hard lumps in the bed. Not what I needed I can tell you! We were up and enjoying a cuppa by 7.30 and watching the traffic below which was a surprisingly light stream, but then the shops all open at 10am so perhaps that helped. We don’t know what hours offices keep.
Directly below our window was a parking lot where 3 men animatedly supervised all of the arriving cars and directed them to park so tightly together that the wing mirrors were barely centimetres apart and if the driver didn’t get out in a hurry before the next car pulled in then they could barely slither out of their vehicle at all. Oh well. It and the traffic lights kept us fully entertained.
Disappointedly, we went up to The Club for our buffet breakfast. I’d so wanted the rooftop meal that they’d advertised on their website! The available plates were what I would call tea plates or bread and butter plates so we guessed that greed was not the order of the day LOL It also became apparent when the wait-staff took away the plates that we should keep our cutlery, which amused us.
Breakfast was similar each day but did have enough changes to keep up some variety. Typically there may have been chicken sausages, beef bacon (a Muslim country so certainly not pork!), baked beans, 3 Asian hot dishes, cold boiled eggs, one or two hot sweet dishes such as ‘pancakes’ (which were the size of the palm of my hand) or French toast or the most delicious bread and butter pudding! There were yogurts in small tubs, orange or apple juice, and a sufficient variety of small pastries as well as some breads and a toast-it-yourself facility. Oh, and tea or coffee. We ate our fill each day and were happy.
In this room there were several TVs each set on a different channel but with no sound, just a few subtitles. The Club was more for the members who worked in the building than the hotel guests so we guess they were able to keep abreast of world affairs in this way.
And so off we went for our first real adventure and exploration of KL.
When we were first planning our holiday, I’d read a trustworthy website saying absolutely *not* to step on any drain covers in the footpath or road because they can, and well may, collapse under you, so we developed the skill of watching out for them and stepping around or over. Here’s one of the prettier ones…
More about others later though! The height of the kerbs was astounding – about 12 inches in most cases, though there were a few as much as 18 inches! Presumably this keeps the paths above water during monsoonal rains.
Other than watching for drains our walk was interesting and uneventful and we found the shopping area, Bukit Bintang, without any problems at all.
The first view was of the Pavilion Shopping Centre and it had this beautiful fountain out the front.
Our daughter-in-law, Amie, had been to KL earlier in the year and had recommended Sungei Wang Shopping Plaza, so we kept walking and soon found it. This was quite an amazing place. Over 7 floors were around 700 ‘shops’, most of which were really tiny. You could tell which were staffed by non-owners because these were the ones you could walk past unaccosted but on the whole it was a pleasant experience to walk around and we certainly enjoyed the air conditioning after the warmth outside.
We made it to about the 3rd floor and as we got off the escalator we were approached by a lady whose only mission in life was to rub moisturiser into our arms. We all know that once they’ve ‘given’ (ha har!) you some product you’re pretty well gone and she was now telling me it’s also a face cream so David asked how much for a tube. It really was very reasonable but before we could say yes, buy it and run, she was offering a 3-pack and would throw in a 4th tube for free. While David was asking the price of this deal her offsider was putting 4 boxes of 3 tubes into a plastic bag and the lady was tapping away on a calculator showing us the price of this 50 tubes for the price of 30 deal that we couldn’t live without. We’d said yes to the ‘pay for 3, get 4’ and David had given her a note but now they were overwhelming us and we felt sure we’d have purchased the entire shop by the time 10 more minutes had passed! I said “No! Nothing! We don’t want any!” and took David’s money back out of her hands. Now this DID get their attention and she started to hug me and tell me how much she liked me. I’m sure she did. I actually liked her too – cheeky thing that she was, she was definitely friendly and not ill-intentioned. So they took the hint and we made our transaction for the 4 tubes only and parted as best friends and I await her Christmas card ROFL As we walked away I saw a lady in the doorway of the next shop – she obviously worked there and gleaned a great deal of entertainment between customers watching Ms Moisturiser. She certainly had a huge grin on her face right now! And off we walked, pleased with our deal of ‘only 4 tubes’ where just moments before we hadn’t been aware that we wanted any moisturiser at all. And I pondered how pleased one can be over winning a deal that one did not wish to partake in in the first place! I could only laugh!
We saw a few camera shops in our travels and enquired at each one about prices on a lens that I wanted for my camera. It was the one thing I had promised myself for this trip – if the price was right. By the time we’d reached the top floor we knew which shop we wanted to buy it from even though it hadn’t been the best of the prices, the assistant was really nice and we trusted him. Amazingly, or perhaps led by my eager heart, we found the shop again without any difficulty whatsoever and the sale was made. Oh happiness, oh joy, my photographic exploits were now 1,000 times easier and I will never regret my purchase!
I was delighted as we walked around to hear some of my absolute favourite songs from way back when and each one made me goose-bumpy with delight to hear them and I felt the stresses of buying and selling homes, and moving house, all fall away. They were beautiful moments. The songs were Orinoko Flow, I Have a Dream (from Mama Mia), Music Box Dancer and Walking in the Air. It just felt so special at the time.
We’d really enjoyed our time at Sungei Wang but then decided to go back to the Pavilion and have a look around there. Just behind the hibiscus fountain were 2 massive Christmas trees at the entrance to the shopping centre and on those were absolutely enormous pink and gold baubles and the photographer in us both took over and we circled the tree in great joy taking photos of our reflections in them.
Then indoors the centre of the place was filled with more huge trees, a roundabout, the biggest ‘cake’ you ever did see, and other Christmas delights. It was so good to see everyone enjoying looking at them all.
As we climbed up each floor we enjoyed looking over the balcony at the trees below and taking pictures from the top down; seeing as this is not the usual way to look at a Christmas tree.
I took a zoomed shot (with my gorgeous brand new lens) and, to my delight, got a reflection in a bauble of us standing on the bridge.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Michelle SMSd me that she now had an offer to buy our house and could she give me a ring to talk about it. We rushed around to try to find the quietest spot we could so that I could SMS back ‘yes’ and put her on speaker so that David and I could both listen to what she had to say and that all went well.
The Pavilion was more the brand names and large shops that we’re used to and didn’t appeal quite so much as Sungei Wang had done so fairly soon we found our way by feel towards the Petronas Towers and the park behind them. We enjoyed a peaceful wander around the shops and then the park, all the time wondering what time the fountains-to-music show was on. We asked the shopping centre concierge but he looked at us vaguely and said there was no such thing. Yet another thing that I’d so looked forward to in KL that wasn’t looking like it would happen.
Once we got back to our room there was a fax from Michelle that had been slipped under our door so we read and signed all of that and went to reception to get them to fax it all back again. The hotel reception doesn’t do these things and we would have to go up to The Club’s business centre and ask them to do it. So up the lift we went only to be greeted by a staff member telling us there were dress codes up there. We knew that, but we hadn’t expected to be there and were not intending to stay, we just wanted this fax sent. We were actually dressed casually because we had bathers underneath and our next stop was to be the pool!
So the guy accepted that and put our papers in the machine but they wouldn’t go. We asked if they could email them instead and they could, so I SMSd Michelle to tell her and thankfully the email went through without a hitch.
Now to swim. We chose the 11th floor infinity pool which was for the exclusive use of hotel guests. It was deserted except for a pool attendant and I sincerely hope that wasn’t all he did all day as he’d have been bored to tears! The ‘heated pool’ – you can check the G Tower Hotel website, it is most certainly described that way!!! – was colder than any glass of water we managed to get from the bloody restaurant! We really did inch our way into this damn thing and only persisted because we’d set our heart on a swim. This mass of iced water was not even heated by the sun, being on the shady side of the building. How dare they say it’s heated on their website! And I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on the quality of the view – David’s sweet self excluded.
As we were turning the final shades of blue and our frozen toes were clinking together like ice cubes in a drink (but not one you’d find in our restaurant!) we decided to get out, just as another hotel guest was entering the water. We exchanged pleasantries about the obvious… “Freezing isn’t it?”
After a well-deserved warm shower we dressed for dinner and went up to The Club again. We really were not in an area where there was a lot of choice for meals and I do have to say that the prices were very reasonable. Our breakfasts were included in the room cost but for once in our lives we could afford to eat in the hotel and it was certainly preferable to walking those pavements at night. (I really must tell you about those before too long!)
So, knowing how small the meals had been the night before, we ordered an entrée each. My entrée was massive and David’s wasn’t a bad size either. I had grilled barramundi pieces with a salad on the side and the salad had the tastiest dressing I’ve ever had. Every mouthful was totally delectable and if I’d been at home I’m afraid I’d have wiped the plate with my finger and licked my finger but when you are reflected in multiple surfaces with wait-staff watching from around the next mirrored pillar… One must behave 🙂
As the main course came out the room began to fill very quickly with the most odious odiferous assault imaginable. I thought it was paint stripper but David (who is more wise to these things) said it was more like the contact glue used to stick melamine to kitchen counters. Whatever it was it did NOT belong anywhere that anyone was eating – never mind a semi-respectable restaurant! We were appalled! Needless to say, even had we not had a large entrée before our mains, we would certainly not have been having dessert tonight!
The night was only saved by the cheery, bouncy waitress who was so friendly. After we’d finished eating she asked if we’d been to the 29th floor yet and of course the answer was no. Having failed to get the lift to go there on Tuesday we hadn’t bothered to try again; so she escorted us up there!
There was a bouncer at the door and she whisked us past him and showed us around. It was purely a bar/night club and she took us into a separate room that you can only enter if you buy an entire bottle of (presumably expensive) champagne. It was empty, needless to say, and I didn’t much want to stay in there myself. It was even colder than their heated pool.
Thankfully, we then sat out in the open air next to glass panels so that we could see the view beyond our building and down to the ground. She saw my camera and asked if we’d like a photo taken – and we did!
The waiter saw the camera and obviously decided he wanted a turn so he started escorting me around the floor to take photos of me and I virtually had to pry the camera off him after David and I had both told him twice each that he’d taken quite enough LOL David had a beer and I indulged in a nice cocktail. And then to bed. Early yet again but we were still tired. And we swapped sides of the bed with me constantly checking that David was not as uncomfortable as I had been.
Oh, one last thing. These were the signs for the loos at the bar. Cute huh?
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