Melting Malaysia

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November 23rd 2007
Published: December 14th 2007
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The journey eastward to Kuala Lumpur from Barcelona included a transit stop in Amsterdam because we were flying with the devil’s own flying Dutchman - KLM; and as you may have already guessed, it didn’t quite go to plan. We arrived at our gate in Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to be first told that the plane was overbooked (we already had boarding passes), a few minutes later we were told there were technical difficulties, then we were told that we had to stay overnight in Amsterdam and catch a flight at midday the next day. Needless to say we were not impressed because as it was we only had two days with my brother in KL. Anyway, off we had to go with our crappy little overnight care bags to a really crappy hotel. The Schipol Airport Hotel is really nothing more than a glorified truck stop in the middle of nowhere, with the grumpiest staff because KLM had suddenly sent them 100 passengers at 10pm - all needing rooms and food. As you can imagine it was not a very charming atmosphere. I understand that these things can happen when you travel and you really have to roll with it, but the way KLM handled the situation was appalling. Many of the passengers were heard making suggestions as to where the ‘flying Dutchman’ could take a flying leap... 😊

We finally arrived in a very warm and humid Malaysia, and the smiling faces of Ralphy and Ruthanne at Kuala Lumpur International Airport were a very welcome sight indeed. From this point on we really just sat back and our hosts (only being in Malaysia a week or so themselves) took excellent care of us. We stayed at the hotel resort where Ralph works and needless to say we got star treatment.

We made a day trip to Melaka, which is about 150 kilometres from KL on the Western Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, facing the Straits of Melaka. Melaka was apparently used as a war time hideaway by an ancient Malay ruler and he liked it so much that he created a settlement there and it later became a major trading port. It was such a popular port that it was conquered by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and then the English. It supposedly has many buildings of historic note and heritage. I say ‘supposedly’ because we only got as far as the Dutch Stadthuys Town Hall, a most strikingly bright pink building which is claimed to be the oldest Dutch building in the Far East; and right next to it is the equally strikingly bright red Christ Church, constructed with pink bricks especially imported from Holland and then covered with local red lacerite. The sight of all these bright buildings in the bright sunlight made us very very hungry and off we went to look for food; and that was the end of the tour of the many buildings of historic note and heritage. In fairness we really should have spent more time looking around, however at that point we were much more interested in food and drink than architecture and culture; plus we were melting and had to find coolness very fast. On our next trip over I would love to go back and explore all the antique shops that I’ve been told have unimaginable treasures at very reasonable prices.

Back in KL, Ralph and Ruthanne took us to Asian Heritage Row on Jalan Doraisamy for dinner. It’s an area full of restaurants and bars of all shapes and sizes. We did not experience it at its best as it was a Sunday night, but we still managed to have an absolutely magnificent Malaysian meal in a street-side restaurant - I cannot begin to describe the flavours of those curries! Andrew had his first taste of coconut juice straight from the coconut... I had forgotten how much I love it too - so so yummy!

We then ventured into a nearby club for some adult drinks and people-watching, and we got more than we bargained for - they had a tacky cover band straight out of the '80s that had us in stitches all night. We had no idea that this was a ‘hostess’ bar until I went back later in the night to retrieve a wayward jacket. The lead singer/dancer of the band made much more sense once we realised this. 😊

We spent the next day (last day of our trip) drinking by the pool and indulging in a nap or one should at a luxury resort in very very warm weather. 😄


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