Further Adventures in KL
To begin today, here's a picture of the view from my favorite hangout this week:
Heavenly, don't you think? Yesterday was actually the perfect pool day -- because it was a little cloudy, so the breeze made it feel like it wasn't quite 300 degrees out.
I got a big surprise yesterday afternoon, while I was sitting at the desk, working. The doorbell rang (yep -- the rooms here have doorbells, as do the elevators, and I will forever be traumatized by the sound), and I went to see if it was someone picking up laundry or replenishing the fruit or checking the minibar or dropping off grape Mentos and bottled water. But it was Paul. Crazy -- it was barely after 5. But apparently there wasn't anything left to do. There's even less to do today, as it turns out. He has to be at the office for a 10:00 meeting -- and then he doesn't really have anything again until 3. So he went in early this morning to try to get us Tower tickets. I'm keeping my fingers crossed -- I hear they sell out fast.
So anyway, we sat around for a while after Paul got back and chatted while drinking a can of Tiger Beer, which we'd picked up at the grocery store on Sunday. Since yesterday was the second day of our visit that it didn't rain at all, we decided to walk over to the mall for dinner. I'd been thinking about going to a highly recommended Italian restaurant down the street, but neither of us were hungry -- Paul because they'd had munchies all day, me because I cracked open the ham we'd bought at the grocery store and was so excited that it was real ham (as opposed to, say, Beef Ham or Chicken Ham, like the Beef Bacon and Chicken Sausage we get for breakfast) that I ate two sandwiches. So we returned to the food court, where we had some delicious Japanese food, which made me happy in a major way. And, sure, it's a food court, but at least it has a nice view:
After dinner, we decided to jump in a cab and head to Chinatown to shop at the Night Market (which is actually the same market we went to on Saturday, only busier). But first, we had to check for Japanese craft magazines again.
Up until this point, I haven't mentioned my quest for Japanese craft magazines. Before we left, I emailed Lyn, a knitblogger from KL, to ask about stores in the area. She mentioned that one of the stores in the KLCC had all kinds of Japanese craft magazines. Having never seen a Japanese craft magazine, but having heard all kinds of wonderful things about them, I decided that I had to get my hands on one. Or three. So on all of my trips to the KLCC, I've attempted to get to this store. Technically, it's a part of the bookstore, but it's not actually *in* the bookstore. It's in a separate store, which is on the second floor. At first, I thought it was on the second floor of the bookstore (since the bookstore has an upper level). But no. Nothing there. So then, on another trip, I figured out that it was actually in a *different* store, on the second floor of the mall. But that store closes at 9:30, and it was just after that. So we checked again last night, and the store was closed for some sort of Employee Day. So I'll have to try again. But believe me, I will get my hands on those Japanese craft magazines if it's the last thing I do.
Before hopping in a cab for Chinatown, we decided to stop by the bathrooms. Now, I've heard lots of things about the toilets in Malaysia, but I've seen nothing but Western toilets -- at least I hadn't until last night. I figured, as I waited in line, that this wouldn't be a big deal. It's a fancy, very Western, quite new mall. It's got to have Western toilets, right? Um, wrong. I stepped into the stall, and there was a couple of steps up and a little porcelain hole in the floor (though it is, actually, modern enough to have an automatic flush). From what Paul told me later, they probably did have Western toilets in the bathroom there somewhere, but it was packed, and I was too flustered to wait and see. I decided, instead, to hold it. But, as I stood there staring at it, I realized that, in my purse, I had the camera. Yep, I took a picture. But it's pretty bad (apparently, even people who know how to use those things don't always have the best aim), and I won't subject you all to that here.
Fortunately, as Chandra will tell you, I am a camel. I can hold it for days. And I did.
So then we were off to Chinatown in yet another crazy cab. The streets in KL are pretty much always packed -- with horrible drivers who could actually compete with the bad drivers in Boston. I'm seriously filled with terror every time I get in a car here -- because I don't think I've been in a cab yet when we haven't come dangerously close (at least once) to being hit. Hard. Apparently, according to our cab driver, it's almost as crowded here as it is in Bangkok. So, for future reference, if I ever end up in Bangkok, I'll have to be heavily drugged before I get in a car there.
But, fortunately, we made it to Chinatown in one piece. The market there is my favorite place in KL so far. It's hard to say why, since it's crammed with people, and it's hot, and it's loud, and there are constantly people yelling at you, and it's filled with really strong smells that'll make your head spin (Things here tend to have strong smells -- some really good, some really bad. There's even a fruit in Malaysia, called durian, that's so stinky that most hotels -- ours included -- have a written policy that states that durian isn't allowed anywhere on the premises.). But Chinatown is just plain fun. Chinatown is where you can haggle for really cheap prices on stuff that's probably not real and quite possibly not totally legal. You can get Rolex watches that are "95% authentic" and DVDs of movies that have just come out in theaters back in the States. You can get Nike shoes and Polo shirts and Prada bags. You can also get all kinds of other little trinkets and fruits and snacks. The best part about the market is when the cops come. Word travels around the market, and you can watch guys picking up whole racks of knock-off Nikes and running for cover. Then, just a few minutes later, the all come back out. After at least an hour or so, we walked out with just a couple of T-shirts, but it was so much fun. Then we hopped on the monorail (a trip that would have probably cost at least RM15, which is still less than five bucks, by cab cost just over RM3, or a less than a dollar, by monorail), which stops about a block away from the hotel.
Here's the monorail stop, with Menara KL in the background:
This morning we had our last breakfast in the Club Lounge. It's been lovely, though surreal. I always feel like I need to wear a suit for breakfast (not that I have one here -- or even own one, for that matter). And it's all just a little surreal when the woman brings me coffee in the morning and says, "Enjoy your breakfast, Mrs. Krah-mer." But the coffee is good, and the view is spectacular:
Hopefully we'll be checking out the observation bridge of those Towers today. If not, we'll do that on Tuesday, when we come back to KL. We have a long list of things we want to do on Tuesday: tour of the city, another trip to Central Market, a drive out to the caves.... We'll see what we actually have time for.
Other than the Towers (and possibly yet another hunt for Japanese craft magazines), today is packing day. We're leaving some of our bags at the hotel while we're on the island (since we're only allowed one checked back and one small carry-on each on the little airline we're taking), so I need to figure out what we need to bring with us and what can be left behind (sadly, our laptops will be left behind). Then we leave for the airport at about 5 tomorrow morning.