Sunday, December 19, 2010

Singapore/Malaysia Day 6: Laksa is gross / Off to Kuala Lumpur

November 26, 2010
Malaysia Day 6: Off to Kuala Lumpur

Breakfast was great this morning, I got to try dragonfruit for the first time! After the eyeball-curry extravaganza last night I wanted to stick with "safe" foods (at least for this morning). The dragonfruit sure looked crazy (it looked like a sliced Hershey's Cookies and Creme chocolate bar) but it was on the fruit table next to the kiwis, so I knew I was safe and it wasn't reindeer intestines or something.

Matt and I headed to work and got Kopi at the same place as yesterday, that stuff is so good. We had quite a busy day at work, took part in a goodbye photo for Tad (he rocks) who is sadly leaving next week and went down to the Hawker center below the office building for some good Indian Food. I got a freshly squeezed Mango/Grape/Orange juice and it rocked. We found a snack store which sells a lot of Australian/Britishy candy, so I was excited for that. There was Cadbury Dairy Milk, as well as Fruitips fruit pastilles in weird flavours (Mango, Litchi). Sweet.

After work we took the MRT train only 1 stop to the airport! Amazing!! It was so quick. We checked in and headed to go find some pre-flight dinner. We found "Chicken Laksa" - a sort of chicken variant of the famed Laksa soup. There were lots of Halal logos everywhere and although it often has pork or shellfish in it, it appeared I could finally try the Laksa. Or so we thought! As it turns out, Laksa smells like smelly socked feet.

A quick disclaimer: this *was* in the Chiangi airport low-cost terminal food court, but that shouldn't be a good excuse as to why the Laksa smelled like a punch to the face. The food at Crystal Jade in the other terminal is some of the best Chinese food I ever had. Ergo: Laksa is gross.

Matt spotted the potential gross-ness of my food choice and lined up at a fried chicken place called "Texas Chicken". As he was lined up, I asked him to secure me a backup plan in case the soup was terrible and tasted as bad as it smelled (it did). I just got a small combo of Chicken and Fries... and Matt said, "That's it?" with a very correct presumption that I would be eating the backup plan in its entirety. It turns out that was a great call. "This smells like Laksa!" would become our catch-phrase any time we walked by something rank. Sorry Singapore - we like that you like Laksa, but we can't handle it.

We arrived in KL pretty quickly. The flight was only 45 min and we got to the LCCT (Low-Cost Carrier Terminal), and walked off one of those funny staircases onto the tarmac. Our plan was to take the KLIA express train as-per Lonely Planet's instructions but we were not at the main terminal, so that was not an option. We asked around for some information and a Muslim couple gave us the details re: catching a 1hr bus instead. We headed for the bus and it was a super cheap option, only 9 RM - approx $3!! That kind of airport transfer bus would have been $30 in Toronto!! We spent about 1 hr on the bus, and it started raining for a few minutes on the way into the center of Kuala Lumpur.

We got to KL Sentral station and then headed to the Subway to go to KLCC. We got out at the Suria KLCC mall - most things were closed but it looked pretty awesome. We then walked to Trader's Hotel, and asked someone for directions: "Turn over there, go straight and... huhhh!" the man said as he flung his arm upwards. The "huhhh!" meant, "It's a schlep". We were carrying only our hand-luggage so that wasn't too bad but it was still quite warm outside. We ended up going a very strange, backwards way to the hotel, through some construction zone action and finally arrived there about 30 min later. We got into the hotel and it looked REALLY fancy and awesome. This was a good choice (thanks, TripAdvisor!) We'd researched this in advance and it was #2 on the recommended list of 100+ hotels in KL on TripAdvisor, and we were totally psyched.

Up we went to the 18th floor, checked into our sick room, and it was great. Thankfully everything we requested worked out - high floor number, 2 beds, PETRONAS TOWERS VIEW!!!! This was perfect. It was so sick. The hotel was really fancy and well set-up, there was a marble bathroom, a cool sliding glass door shower, a "chaise", a loungey couch thing, etc.

We headed up to the SkyBar which we'd heard was a popular spot... and it was only a change-from-shorts-to-long-pants and an elevator ride away from our room. And it turns out it WAS AMAZING!!!!!!! There was a pool in the middle of the room which was super slick (and a bit hazardous, if you think about it!) but lots of non-slip mats around the pool :) It gave a great ambiance and there were lounge couches everywhere, even in the window-wells with a view of the Petronas Towers. It was soooo baller. I got a fancy Mojito and a moment later a waiter came up to us and said, "Do you guys want a seat?" They led us to a couch with a great view, and there was certainly a lot of people-watching to be done as well. :)

There were tons of people there, as we were chillin', a whole bunch of people wandered by, dancing and having a great time. The music was AWESOME. Really great DJ, awesome ambiance and view of the KLCC and the pool really added to the mystique of the place. Very cool. Great club music, perfect for the setting. There was an astonishingly large amount of beautiful people there, and everyone was dressed up to the nines. No wonder they said no shorts allowed, and thank goodness Matt had an extra pair of jeans I could borrow! It was also very multicultural there, which was neat. I heard some British accents, and saw lots of Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, African people. Amazing! Everyone was really well dressed and it was such a cool and classy place. I was so glad we went.

The drinks were pretty expensive but fancy, and we wanted to prolong the night a bit because it was super fun there and the view and music were amazing. They had a 52% and a 68% Absinthe on the menu which sounded cool, you could get "French or Bohemian-style"?! I had no idea what that meant so I asked the waiter which one was the most popular. This turned out to be the equivalent of ordering a Bananas Foster dessert in California. The waiter prepared it "Bohemian Style" which involves a sugar cube lit on fire and then he repeatedly lit the drink in the cup on fire. It was very cool! I guess Absinthe has a weird rep from when it was bootlegged years and years ago and made a whole bunch of French poets crazy or something. But nowaways it's just a regular drink and I've even seen it at the LCBO in Canada. The lighting-on-fire-ness of the preparation was really cool and elicited some attention from people around us, "What is that?!" the guy beside us asked. That was funny.

After the excitement at the 32nd floor SkyBar, we had a quick wander outside in KLCC park. It was dark but I was driven to find a Campus Pizza-style pizza vendor selling late night Pizza and garlic-parmesan sauce. Matt reminded me that this was not Waterloo, Ontario, and we'd probably be better off getting some room service instead. We headed back to the room for 2:30am ish and checked the room service menu - it was so cheap! The most affordable room service I've ever seen. I ordered an excellent Fish and Chips meal for only $10, including taxes and service fees. Crazy. This included the regular 10% tax and 5% service fee, but there was no "late night $20 surcharge" like in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Maya Developers Conference. :)

The food was super good and we were asleep by about 3:45am. We knew exactly what time it was because there was a HUGE LED clock building right outside our window - like a huge alarm clock. We slept with the window shades open so we could admire the glorious view of Kuala Lumpur. A great start to an exciting weekend!

Urrggh, Chicken Laksa from the airport! We were told that this was one of the favourite dishes of Singapore. Maybe it was just because it was from the Low-Cost Terminal, but it smelled like socked feet!

SkyBar on top of the Traders' Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. View of the Petronas Towerrrrss!!

So siiiiiiiiick!!! KL!!!!!!!!!

Matt and Me at the SkyBar in KL

What a sick view!!

The party was REALLY bumpin' up there and we were wondering why it was so packed. Turns out it was a special event - "Africa Night". So awesome!!

Then we took a wander looking for Campus Pizza-like Pizza or something tasty for a late night. We found only an abandoned city park and no people. :) Oh yeah, and the sweet Petronas Towers.

We gave up on a food search and walked back to the hotel - and then realized that room service was really cheap!! Cabernet rockin' some Pad Thai.

I got a super good fish and chips meal for like $10!

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