Asia . Malaysia . Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Invasion

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

This is one big entry for one big day. It chronicles the trip from Brisbane, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

There is a theme that is visited twice in this entry: my (Tyler's) retardedness. In both cases revolve around poor booking / reservation choices. The first instance involves our flight. The second involves our accommodation. Excuses can be made, but why? Enjoy.

We had been staying at our friend Bonnie's in Brisbane. Brisbane has a major international airport. When I booked the flight, I chose to depart from "Brisbane / the Goldcoast". Brisbane and the Goldcoast are not the same place. They are close, but the commute by car still takes about an hour in good traffic. The original plan did not involve a car. It involved feet, buses and trains:
  • walk from Bonnie's house (our host) to Carindale mall, Carina
  • catch a bus from the mall to South Bank station, Brisbane
  • catch a train from South Bank to Robina, Gold Coast
  • catch a bus from Robina to Coolongata Airport
The total travel time for this trip was almost 3 hours. Our flight departed at 9:00am. Due to constraints caused by last minute planning, we could not stay overnight in the Goldcoast (the components of journey to the airport were not mapped out until the day before the flight..). Due to constraints caused by the schedule of public transport, the actual trip couldn't start until around 4:30am. This means that the earliest we could arrive at the airport was 8:00am. Yielding a mere hour to traverse the check-in process: check bags (15 mins), security screening (10 mins), find flight gate (10 mins), and deal with unforeseen issues (? mins). Worrisome. Enter Bonnie. We love Bonnie because Bonnie is awesome. Awesomeness in this case translated into her driving us to the airport, before going to work. So instead of having to "walk, bus and train" our way to the airport, we instead "sat" our way to the airport. Also, instead of waking at 4:30am and arriving at 8:00am, we slept until 5:00am and arrived at 6:00am. Brilliant (thanks Bonnie!).

The airport check-in went smooth. We had to go through two security check-ins: one for the main domestic terminal and a second for the international terminal beyond. This was atypical. Apparently the international flights are more worried about terrorists than domestic flights. I guess this means that most terrorists are international. Which begs the question what happened to domestic terrorists? The Uni-Bomber, that Timothy guy with the van, ..others?

The flight was similarly uneventful. Barely noteworthy things included:
  • seats that refused to recline
  • learning that outside food was not allowed on the plane, then trying to sneakily eat our homemade lunches (several lemon-pepper tuna / spicy tuna sandwiches and a bag of dried apricots; yum)
  • a patch of turbulence that made me feel like I was playing on a swing-set

NOTE: the next bit has been compressed to save you time; it's also written in the present tense (I don't know why)

We arrive in Kuala Lumpur. Our first mission: exit the airport.

Collect backpacks from conveyor belt. Exit the new arrival area where the help desk is located. Realize we need some help to find the buses. Realize we cannot re-enter the new arrival area where the help desk is located.. Notice the humidity. Begin to sweat. Withdraw 400RM from ATM (3 Ringgits Malaysian == 1 Australian Dollar == 0.95 Canadian Dollars). Search for buses, find trains. Search for buses, find families. Search for buses, find taxis. Search for buses, find buses. Buy ticket from first vendor who flashes us a smile. Enter bus. Notice the AC. Sweat turns to frost. Shivery ride to KL Central. Exit bus. Frost to sweat. Notice the Malaysians. Dark hair everywhere. Purchase LRT ticket for China Town / Pasar Seni (1 RM == 0.33 AUD == 0.3 CAD). Enter LRT. Sweat to frost. Exit LRT. Frost to sweat. New mission: find hostel.

We meet a nice English girl who's lost. Look at her map and decide we all need to go in the same direction. Start moving. We realize we're lost. We realize we're not lost. She finds her hotel. We find our hostel. New mission: check in.

We check in. We TRY to check in. They can't find our reservation. Confidently I ask to use their Internet to show them my reservation email. Recall, there is a theme. Upon bringing up my reservation email I am informed that I reserved a room for 2 nights, starting February 27th, 2010. Today is January 27th, 2010. The hostel is fully booked. The manager says Jenny and the bags can stay in the waiting area while I go search for accommodation. He lends me his copy of the Lonely Planet to help facilitate this. I determine my destination: a double room with AC at The Original Budget Backpacker Travellers Inn (44 RM == 15 AUD == 14 CAD). I move. I'm on mission. I'm running ("lightly jogging"). This surge of activity acts like a catalyst for my guts. The relationship between the spicy tuna and apricots becomes "excited". Bubbles form, bubbles burst. Images of Earth's primordial ooze. The ooze is in my guts. It's trying to create life again. I turn some corners. I'm whizzing past people. The Lonely Planet in my hand. I carry it close to me. It's the traveller's bible. It lets people know: I'm a tourist, I'm important to the local economy, they NEED to get out of my way. I see the red sign for the hostel. There's a room available. I book in immediately (ignoring my dreams of haggling). I start to make my way back to Jenny. I'm glowing with sweat and success. Bubbles form, bubbles burst.. Life is stirring.

I make it back to her. Bags on our backs, we're moving to our new home. I see the red sign for The Backpacker Travellers Inn. I follow it down a road I don't recognize, into a lobby I've never been to.. I ask myself the question: Where am I? A sign clearly answers me: The Backpacker Travellers Inn.. The attendant smiles at me. I think he thinks I'm stupid. I smile back! Retreating out the door, Jenny in tow. I return to the red sign and notice another red sign labelled: The Reggae Guesthouse.. Then I notice ANOTHER red sign (same font face and same font colour!) labelled: The ORIGINAL Backpacker Travellers Inn. We're off! We find it. Our room already has the AC running.. Awesome. Bubbles form, bubbles burst. New mission: toilet.

Easy. Down the hall. Open stall door, close stall door, lock stall door. Drop pants. Chocolate babies (LIFE!). Success. Awesome. And yet.. Eyes widen with realization of a flaw: where's the toilet paper? Shitshitshit. New mission: hygiene.

I'm looking around: a sink, a bucket, a bar of soap.. Rejected. More looking: a hand held shower head on the wall. Weird. I strip down and hang my clothes on the door. I'm trying to imagine some sort of power ballad (I don't want to half-ass this). The french have a word for it. The French are gross (no offense Jeremy). "Bidet".

After this, things get "technical" and not really worth retelling.. Anyways, success.

We ended up eating at some food stalls in the market. The rumours are true: delicious.

Guess that's all,

Tyler & Jenny

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