Saturday, August 11, 2007

kuala lumpur, melaka

Travelogue. KL-Melaka, August 2007. 4 days and 3 nights. On assignment, filming a pilot for my new business venture,

Was glad to revisit the places I knew and liked from my first backpacking trip almost 5 years ago. Felt like a black and white mood, so here are some shots of the place, from my perspective. =)

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Petronas Twin Towers was once the tallest building in the world. By Argentinian architect Cesar Pelli, it really brightens up the whole city skyline. You have to see it at night, really beautiful and I think Malaysians have every right to be proud of this building.


We took the train from Tanjong Pagar Rail Station (S$34 for the normal ticket), directly to KL. Was fun at first because I've never taken a train out of the country before. But the long journey was tiring and I think taking the bus would be a better option.

Almost like a boutique hotel, the Number Eight Guesthouse on Jln Tingkat Tong Shin is such a wonderful respite from the dusty roads and broken pavements of the busy KL city. A night here is just not enough. Love the artsy decor, and the black and white phoots on the wall. Inspired.

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Having breakfast at a Roti Canai shop near the guesthouse. I have fond memories of this place as 5 years ago, I was traveling on a shoestring budget, with my best friend, and we sort of under calculated our food and transport budget. So, poor us, we had to eat prata for breakfast every day. This place has the best banana prata. I don't really like banana food thingys but the sweet and juicy, overripe bananas matched with fresh roti canai really makes a mouthwatering breakfast. I wish I had more appetite to try all the food, but was having a horrid throat inflammation. Same roti canai, the way it was 5 years ago. Some things never change, especially in not-so-fast growing cities. That's one of the things I like about Malaysia especially Melaka, there is a sense of familiarity as you visit places you remembered in your childhood. Because they don't just knock down things or change management. And I like that, having a sense of nolstagia in the places you visit. There was a construction site having about 7 storeys already built up when I was last here. Now, it's... ...still a construction site. We saw several uncompleted projects while traversing across KL. We will definitely never have this situation in Singapore.

Reading the Lonely Planet "Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei", current edition. I must say that Lonely Planet is great for travellers to South East Asia. We stayed at two places they listed and it was exactly like it described. I think I will buy the guide to Thailand next...

Nice, CLEAN beds. This is not a 'posed photo', like all my other shots, candid. The glasses were really placed there by Travel Buddy. I thought that this shot was quite interesting.

We had an infestation of bedbugs in the first guesthouse, The Green Hut. Usually, for hotels, if you spot a bedbug, you can scream at the management and they will give you the night free. But our guesthouse was full, though we changed rooms. However the other one had, too. Travel Buddy was seriously bitten all over with more than 20. I however, got only one or two currently (Maybe my reaction time is slow, I'm giving it a few more days.) Most of the time we won't encounter these, but twice in KL is rather unfortunate. Most Singaporeans don't understand my horror when I see bedbugs, it looks like a cute, small, brown critter... But the bites are horrid. Looks and feels like mossies at first, they itch lik crazy for 2 weeks or so and will leave some black marks on your skin that doesn't fade for months. We caught one that 'had its fill', it was round with Travel Buddy's blood. Killed it and the blood just oozed out. I'm not as terrified by leeches or bees but bedbugs are really not good. Worse, when we went to the second guesthouse, we found at least a couple following us. So I'm not sure if we infested the places we went. Bedbug carriers.
There is this urban legend that I believe that if you don't say bedbugs and don't talk about it during trips they don't disturb you. Well, Travel Buddy made me talk about bedbugs for the assignment which I really didn't want to talk about it. Bleah. And look at him now, covered with bites. We talked to some European backpackers, none of them had it while in KL. So there.

One of my 'comfort foods' in Malaysia is at Secret Recipe, we saw them in KL at almost every shopping centre and some even had more than one. I have to have the black pepper lamb pie here. Also, the cheesecakes. Cheap? Yeah, RM $5.50 which is less than S$2.50 (our exchange rate is GOOD). We had like 6 slices... Not in a single day, of course.

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Pasar Seni or Central Market is also a place to visit in KL. I am happy with the postcards I found there. Yay! Saw this pushcart selling tees with local themes, I found it amusing. Especially, 'Keep Malaysia clean, Throw your rubbish in Singapore.'
Eh, some sort of subliminal propoganda?

Went to Bangsar. Nice watering holes for angmohs there, sort of like a Singapore Holland Village. I love the squarish look effect and gunmetal colored tiles (my current favorite color) of their ladies' loo, and the mirror gives it an additional oomph.

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Walking on the way back to the guesthouse, took a fancy to this stone lion and the numbered house along Jln Tingkat Tong Shin. I love old, colonial-esque buildings like these. Always wanted to live in one. Big and airy. Full of old school charm, I like!

In a taxi along Jln Alor, this is a food lane walking distance to our guesthouse; almost any kind of street food available till late, usually chinese style like stir fried sweet potato leaves, cereal prawns, etc. Yeah a lot of savvy Singaporeans know about this place as well.

One of the best parts about this trip for me (Yes, besides the upside down rollercoaster ride in Berjaya Times Square) was going up the Menara Tower. We had a little time before the bus to Melaka, and walked with our backpacks (no easy feat)there. Did not plan to go up initially, but in the end we did! And it was VERY worth it! Can see the skyline view from the windows, spot the outskirts like Cheras, PJ, etc, and all the places we went to earlier.

Enroute to Melaka. A random obscure village.

Melaka has one of the best varieties of food available. Here is nyonya laksa and penang laksa. Yum.

The decor of this cendol place is amazing, and so is the cendol. Along Jonker Street. Cendol is ten times better than the best ones you can find here in sg.

One of my must-visit places, 15th century Dutch church on St Paul's Hill.

At Geographers' Cafe, situated in the heart of Jonker's night bazaar. It's a nice place to cool down after a long days' work.

The start of the night bazaar.
That's all for now.