The Great Escape

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March 14th 2014
Published: March 20th 2014
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It's been a while since my last post, so lets see if I still remember how to do this.

After 5 months of being in Thailand we finally got all the stamps, visa extensions and nods we needed to actually leave the country without nullifying our work permits.

After going through this whole process, I have a whole newfound respect for immigrants living in America...this is hard!

The week began with my first visitors from back home. First to come visit was a coworker Jimmy who came to Thailand to visit his sister up north and decided to swing by the islands before heading back. Next came one of my oldest friends, Jessie and her (recent, congrats by the way) fiancé Brian! They were a welcome reminder of home and a much needed reality check of my new normal. A nice reminder that it's probably not normal to fly through traffic at top speed, ducking under side mirrors and just barely squeezing between the parked tuktuk and the tourist van flying down the highway. Maybe eating 10 red chilies at dinner isn't good for my digestion and things like "anti-bacterial" soap can be useful.

After a week of being a tour guide of Phuket I was excited to get off the island. This would be our first trip out of the country since arriving here 5 months ago and we were ready to go. We flew to Kuala Lumpur, and headed to China town where our hostel was located. Our hostel was pretty amazing, a multi-story mansion turned hostel where the rooms were filled with filing cabinet-esk beds, which seemed pretty safe and cozy. The rooftop had been turned into a rowdy bar where we spent most of our nights surrounded by fellow travelers singing karaoke.

Our first day we decided to make the most of our trip by

hiring a van to take us around the "7 wonders of KL"

We hit up:

• Thean Hou Temple (200 years old Chinese temple)
• Little India Brickfields
• Batu Caves (272 steps, 400 million years old)
• National Palace (Residence of his Majesty, Sultan of Malaysia)
• National Monument (Memorial Site)
• National Mosque (Built in 1965)
• City Gallery & Selangor Pewter

The Batu Caves were incredible. A trip to KL without hiking up the stairs doesn't count. We were warned about the monkeys so I was a little nervous, but they seemed to stay away so it ended up being very enjoyable. One of my favorite parts of the trip was actually the Pewter factory where we got to make our own pewter bowls. Mine is currently holding all my change left from the trip on my dresser. Wait, I take it favorite part of the day was our AMAZING lunch. Who knew that Malaysian food was actually the best food in the world?

Seriously. Try it. Google "town + Malaysian food"

Find a restaurant and thank me later.

After we got back, we took a much-needed shower, rested a bit, and then headed out to China Town. On our way, we stopped at a local restaurant (it'd been like 3 hours since we ate last, unacceptable). We sat down at a table and they handed us an "English" menu...which didn't do us much good when we didn't know what anything was called. I tried to point to things on the menu and ask the waiter what was in each dish and he ended up just reading the name out loud to me slowly. Eventually he got annoyed with me, told me to follow him, and led me to the kitchen line where all the food was displayed.

I just pointed to a couple delicious things, he ladled it onto a plate, threw a big piece of naan on top and we were both happy.

Afterwards I walked off my little naan food baby by weaving through the markets. The vendors were super aggressive and were selling things that were just like what we find in Thailand. I decided that I didn't really need to buy anything, but I'd act as team negotiator since I love to barter (anyone who has traveled with me can vouch for the, "NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE") we worked our way through the market and back to our hostel. We decided to head downtown because I wanted to see the Petronas Towers at night. It was a bit of a hike but TOTALLY worth it. We grabbed a few beers along the way, snapped some pics, then headed back to our roof top playground. After a few more beers, agreeing to move to Dubai and a karaoke rendition of Semi-Charmed Life we called it a night.

The next day we moved locations.

We moved down to a ritzy hotel smack dab in the middle of downtown (thank you Hilton Honors points). We spent the day walking around the skyscrapers mentally preparing for the ridiculousness, which was going to be tonight...the sole reason for coming...Future Music Festival 2014. We spent a good portion of the afternoon getting ready. Few beers and hotel room dance parties later we were dressed head to toe in Jungle Gear and ready to party with Macklemore and Pharrel. We headed down to the lobby to catch the train to the stadium. Along the way we ran into a few other travelers who (somehow) guessed where we were going and stopped us to tell us the festival had been CANCELLED due to drug related deaths. Malaysia has INSANE laws concerning drugs...anyone caught with drugs, of any amount, is I'm pretty curious who would even risk it. Even if it's in your bag and you didn't know it was there, Malaysia considers any sort of possession the same.

We were obviously pretty bummed out, but decided to make the most out of the situation...went back to the hotel, ditched our gear and headed to a local H&M store where we had a montage worthy 30-minutes of trying on different outfits until we were decked out head to toe in new clothes, accessories, shoes and ready to party KL style. KL is known for its super ritzy roof top sky bars. Definitely looking the part, we headed to Trader's hotel for our first stop. Here the aptly named "Sky Bar" featured an unbelievable view of the city and a glowing swimming pool in the middle of the dance floor. We grabbed a drink, mingled a little bit, then set our eyes on the Petronas Towers. We then hopped in a cab and drove straight to the tallest sky bar in all of KL, Marini's 57, right next to the Petronas Towers. Our cab ride ended up being INSANELY somehow Tony traded me and 10MYRs to the cab driver. Not sure what that meant, so I ran away as fast as I could once we came to a slow roll and then avoided going out the front door on the way out. This bar was I amazing. Located on the 57th floor of the 3rd Petronas building (shorter than the first 2 towers). We danced and partied all night, not before sharing a very awkward elevator ride with the owner of the bar. He was trying to talk to us while the woman he was with just accused him of all sorts of ridiculous things. Needless to say it was not a night to forget. Oh yeah, at some point in the day a crib was delivered to our room. This was obviously where Lala slept that night.

The next day we were slow to wake up.

We spent the morning lounging by the hotel pool and the afternoon walking around the big high-end shopping mall located at the base of the Petronas Towers. We slowly ate lunch and strolled around the streets. We eventually got our bags and onto the train to head to the airport. When we got to central station we had a hard time figuring out what to do so we just casually walked around trying to figure it out. Eventually we got into a cab, where we were told it was a 50-minute ride to the airport. No big deal right, we’ve got nothing but time. Eventually someone asked what time our flight was and we realized that given the 50 minute transit time we were going to make it to the airport a cool 30 minutes before take off. As if this wasn’t bad enough, we ended up at the wrong airport…so obviously we didn’t make our flight. Apparently Thailand has made us a little too relaxed.

The next hour and a half was pretty stressful, as most of us didn’t have credit cards to buy new tickets. I just so happened to be traveling with pockets full of cards so I agreed to front everyone’s tickets…but obviously after the 2nd charge my credit card company shut my card down because they thought it was fraudulent. (Guess that’s a good thing). After scrambling for cash we eventually all got tickets for a flight later that night and made it back to home sweet Thailand.

All in all it was an AMAZING trip. We were obviously disappointed about the festival, but our night of sky bar hoping was more than enough to make up for it. The flight drama was a little unnecessary, but I’ll never forget sweating it out, throwing credit cards around in the hangar that is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport LCCT not KLIA (duuuuuuh.)

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