A Travellerspoint blog

Malaysia ….. Truly Asia …..

(hmmmm …. Still thinking if this is an apt description )

all seasons in one day 28 °C

TOUCHDOWN KL - Watched the most beautiful sunrise from the plane … :) And these Malaysian Airlines people know how to make you feel all warm and fuzzy …..Now don’t get me wrong … It might just have been the pilot for the day who was sooo eloquent… the reason being …..
As we were descending to Kualalampur , the pilot informs … “Ladies and Gentlemen … its sunrise over beautiful Malaysia … If you are visiting us then we welcome to our country …..and if you are Malaysian … THEN WELCOME HOME !!!! “….(I had tears in my eyes when I heard that) … I cant imagine the times when I have returned back to my homeland and nobody has bother telling us that … Nice touch don’t you think ??
Good Morning malaysia

Good Morning malaysia

:)

Beautiful airport …. We caught our transportation and were swiftly driven towards KL … (Trivia: .. The airport is 60 kilometers away from the city ) ….. We had breakfast at a lovely Indian restaurant on the way by the lake ……. Made a few calls back home … and continued on towards our hotel …
We stayed at the Grand Seasons ….(FABULOUS HOTEL… courteous hotel staff ….and overall fabulous hotel) …. :)

Now for everyone who pictures Malaysia in their head… KL in particular … All that comes to the mind are the Patronas Towers …. And yes … it dominates the city skyline …. But does not mean you get to see it from everyplace in KL…

But we got a room with one of the most beautiful views of the Patronas Towers and the Minara ….. wowieeeeee!!!
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Now the fun part of my trip lasted 4 days …so will bifurcate it the same way …since I got see a bit of Malaysia in those 4 days …

Day 1: Marel and me sorted through our stuff ….. took pictures …. Closed the blinds… it felt like it was nighttime … answered our Indian Standard Time cravings ….and got to sleep right away …
Woke up with enormous difficulty by 4PM… and ran to the guys room to wake them up …. We went there with the intention of staying there for a minute , waking them up and going back to our floor (they were on the 19th floor) …… But we ended up staying with them for an hour whiling our time away …. Ran back to our rooms ….showered..changed ….and bolted out of the hotel …..

First Stop: FOOD ….and we decided CHINATOWN as the destination to be …. We did do something very Malaysian … hopped onto a bus … Took tickets for 1Malaysian Ringgit (RM) and got dropped at Chinatown …. Our stomach’s were collectively shouting their displeasure ….so we decided to put the complaints to rest…. AND HOW ….
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Chose food on sticks …. Now they come at varying prices … The duck was 2.5RM … Chicken 2RM … OCTOPUS … 5RM… its served both barbequed or steamed… We chose Barbequed …. We loved it and went back for another round of food of toothpick(as Marella chooses to call it ) ….

Tried Claypot Rice … and I could have gone to heaven that instant ….. Love love loved it ….

And now that we were ready … WE STARTED THE SHOPPING EXPEDITION ….. First stop …(I’m a girl … so BAGS) …. Now I’ve seen imitation wallets, bags, satchels in Thailand …. But the quality of stuff in Malaysia is something else …
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Found the coolest hoard of T-shirts ever …. Found a shop that sells vintage T-shirts … Cash is the only accepted mode of payment and HAGGLING is the only way the game can be played …:D.... So guess what ..... We haggled our hearts out ..... imitations of designer shoes, watches, bags, jewelry, belts and trendy clothes ….. Oh sooo much to buy and sooo little money ….. :(
We got back to the hotel to check our loot …. The guys decided to go out …. We girls had a whale of a time by ourselves… We were almost completely sloshed by the time the guys got back ..
And then we drank some more and chatted till about 4 ...they got us chicken from an all women staff run KFC… We had some girls talk after that …. TILL 6AM … and then decided to catch up on some sleep … :D

DAY 2: GOOD FRIDAY …
Woke Marel at 8 … Told her it was Good Friday and promptly passed out again … Woke up at 10 and then realized that breakfast at the hotel is till 10:30 only … Rushed downstairs to see our cab waiting for us … We hurried through breakfast …ran upstairs …. Showered ….changed … Took some more pictures(hey it was a girls room afterall…. We had to mug for pictures ….hehehe) and rushed to our cab…

We were originally supposed to leave at 9:30 … we finally left at 11… Next Stop : GENTING HIGHLANDS ….
Its about an hour and a half drive from Kualalampur … The change in terrain, climate and skyline is drastic ….. The place is fabulous :)…. You can reach the place either of 2 ways … Cable Cars or by Winding Roads … We went up by Cable Cars … It was sooo cool to see mist covered hills and we were so high … truly breathtaking ….
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We stayed at the World’s Largest Hotel …First World… 6118 rooms … The waiting area has more than 50 counters to help you check in … Be Warned … This is a tedious part for it takes anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to get you checked in … Which is why there is live entertainment at the waiting area … Clowns … Street dancers etc ….

The rooms are not impressive…. They are way too small… They do not even offer complimentary WATER !!! … We anyways dumped all of our stuff and ran to explore … The 8th floor of the hotel connects to the mall … and what a mall it is … Toy Trains, Shopping mall , Karaoke Bars , Ripleys Believe it or not museum , Haunted houses …everything packed into the mall … :D
AND BEFORE I MISS IT OUT ….. CASINOS TOO … The guys wanted to hit the slots immediately, but we girls went shopping 
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We went back, left our loot in the room and went to the Ripleys Museum… 2 of the MOST interesting hours I have ever spent ….ever … Sooper cool …

I am chicken … I get easily spooked… No appetite for anything scary … So it was no surprise that I hated the haunted house experience … burst into tears half way through …. Yaya everyone had a good laugh :(

We went gambling after this …. It was the first time I ever entered a casino …. I think I finally understand the draw that gambling holds…. At the Roulette table I put in 50RM… Made 120 and then lost it all …:( (I know I didn’t take a sky high risk…but even with that limited exposure I saw how reckless one can become)… One of my collegues gambled more that 1200RM away …. We decided to try the casinos at the other hotel …We had to take a shuttle to that hotel that runs every half hour between the hotels ..

Went back to our rooms real late in the night..by 2PM … The food scene in Genting is bad … We talked the night away drinking and making merry … (Trivia : Alcohol is extremely expensive in Malaysia .. A 650ml bottle of Carlsberg costs 20RM.. almost 3 times its original price, so we bought alcohol at duty free shops and kept it with us through the duration of the trip…. )

Anyways … we were sooo engrossed in having a ball of a time we realized that it was 6:15 AM… we decided to go down for breakfast ….
AND THE SIGHT WE SAW WAS SOMETHING THAT TOOK OUR BREATH AWAY
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DAY 3: (didn’t even realize the transition between days)
We had breakfast …. Went back to our room and passed out ………….. Our original plan for the day was that we would go to the Theme Park in the facility …. Hmm that did not happen …. We were in dire need of some shut eye… :D
We got awoken by our travel agent asking us to check out of the room by 3PM …. HE CALLED AT 2:40 AND WE WERE STILL ASLEEP ….. Ooooh the mad rush after that ….. ufff!!!

We had our van waiting …. We drove back to KL … Almost felt like we were KL natives who had gone to Genting on vacation ….. already felt like KL was growing on us ….

We got back to KL and had the most lovely Indian dinner at the Grand Seasons …. There’s a lovely Indian restaurant at the hotel …. and by this time we were dying to shop …. So we went shopping … Chinatown again …. Came back to the hotel and as usual spent the evening huddled in one room …
Called and wished Mihir… couldn’t have missed wishing the bday boy …. Called it a night by 3 …. Was exhausted ….

Day 4:
EASTER ….. Wished Marell and then ran down for breakfast …. We knew we had to go see the Patronas Towers atleast on this day …
But first we had to do one last bit of shopping ….. Anna our lovely Malaysian friend took us to the Central Mall close to Chinatown and we girls shopped to our hearts content … brooches, clips, chinese fans…. Ooh soo many lovely stuff…. :D ... This market has been in existence since 1888 ...

We then met the guys … raving mad with hunger by this time … the women as usual ran to a 7/11 store and prepared cup noodles for everyone … had it sitting at a roadside stall …. We realized that Chinatown closes by 3PM on Sundays…. Our transport arrived and we went to the Minara Tower which has the observation deck built to see the Patronas towers … the observation deck is at a height of 286 meters….

WHAT A VIEW ….. this is truly a beautiful city ….
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But we never did one thing that we all had wanted to do …. Take pictures in front of the Patronas Towers … With only 5 hours left to take-off, we had to leave for the airport …

I’ve been a life long fan of graffiti …. So when Abhay saw a wall full of graffiti at an open car park we stopped the van and jumped out …. Had to take pictures ….. and guess what we saw to our left as we were sprinting towards the graffiti wall …………………………………………….

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THE PATRONAS TOWERS …….. It was a coincidence like no other .... So we did get to take pictures in front of the Towers ...

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was elated....

Then we did take pictures with the grafitti walls ..... What fun .... Abhay, Jay, Marell and Me were captured in various stages of flight (except J...who was sticking to his dude image all trip)

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Finally we set out again …. It started to rain …. We got to the airport …… and started …..WHAT ELSE …. Shopping at the duty free shops … :D

Had a angry look / silent war with some people ….. we all got chessed of biiiig time … (the guys were continuing the argument and the fight in their respective imaginations ….. would like to know how that turned out in their imagination….. hahaha)

We were toooo excited even after we boarded …. Marell and me watched a movie …..while the boys down 5 whiskeys each …. We spent the remaining flight walking to each others seats and having an unusually mad time …….. Will never forget Abhay reminding Jayanath to recheck if the parachute was where it was supposed to be ….. and repeating the Oxygen mask instructions to him…… Oh what fun it was ….. :D

We landed in India ….. and we were back home ….

AND NO …….. Our pilot never said anything about “Welcome Home” :(

Till I get another stamping on my passport … C ya :)

Posted by Ceej 20.04.2012 07:24 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Shopped till i dropped

...... THAILAND

sunny 30 °C

First and foremost i was shocked to see how infrastructurally sound Thailand is as soon as i landed at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok ...
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I just fell in love with the various coloured taxis which in a way have become a hallmark in Thailand ... No one who has ever visited this country seems to miss this very unique sight on the road ...
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Time and again i've been told by enough number of people that i am an idiot to have missed the Chatuchak Weekend Market ... especially when i was in Bangkok over the weekend .....

But i did make up for it at the various Night Bazaar's ..... Personally i am not someone who is terribly fond of the sun .... so shopping at nights when the temperature is not soaring suited me best .... :)

Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok : I found clean, well-light shops that are laid out in strips, which covered the sidewalks. All the old favorites are here: Lovely dresses, silk scarves, T-shirts, pillow cases, toys, silver jewelry and colored gems.

There are also packaging services and bigger and more fragile products (as i discovered) , such as ceramics, furniture, carvings, and lamps (dont forget to take some home ... THEY ARE GORGEOUS ). Just because items in Suan Lum are more likely to be tagged doesn't mean that's the last price:There are fabulous imitations of high-end brands available ... You might just strike an unbelievable bargain if you buy 2 things instead of one ....especiallly on products such as Watches - sunglasses and bags .....
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There was this place that sells music too. The shops sells these awesome covers of mainstream songs all the way to jazz/acoustics.. :)

As in all open markets, try to bargain. I know they dont speak English , but they all have calculators with which they convey the price .... In Bahts ... Thai currency ...

Walk around the market before deciding to make a purchase, because you might get a better price at another shop. (Disclaimer: unless u are terribly good with directions you might just end up not finding the first shop you visited ...as what happened in my case ) .... :( :(

I guaranteeone thing " You will end up buying interesting things that you had not expected to buy before!!! " :)

I went there on a Friday night , and it was open till 3 AM .... i visited again on a Monday ... realized that the place is more active on Weekends ... it closed before 12 ....

On our way back...our cab driver said something about the Suan Lum Night Bazaar being closed permanently so that the government can build some fancy hotel there :( .... personally i hope not .... I loved being here ...

Panthip Plaza : If you are looking for anything electronic ... GO HERE!!!

Happy Shopping !!!! :)

Till next time
Sowmya CJ

Posted by Ceej 22.03.2011 21:42 Archived in Thailand Tagged shopping Comments (0)

Sanibel Island - Captiva

West coast of Florida

sunny

Sanibel - Captiva Islands

March of 2007 was an extremely beautiful month (meaning that we were yet to see the temperatures rising to the 90s).We left Orlando and drove all the way to Fort Myers — 14 miles west of Fort Myers off the coast of Florida’s southwestern shore was where we were heading.

SANIBEL ISLAND

It’s one of the best places to go shelling in the United States. We passed the St. Petersburg sunshine skyway bridge... The drive was a very nice experience....
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At the far eastern tip of the island you’ll find Sanibel’s sole lighthouse—a conical tower of wired steel meant to allow coastal winds to blow through.
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I was here to find shells. Unfortunately I wasn’t alone. People come from miles around just to comb the island’s beaches. The beach is great for walking. The sand is white ..... But i guess thats because the shells turn into powder over time and they become one with the sand ...... Never realised that just searching for shells would be such a calming experience .....
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I heard from a local that a lot of jewellery designers and fashion designers come to Sanibel because there are soo many combinations of colors to be found in these shells that they draw inspiration from them ....i guess one of nature's marvels ....

Overall incredibly calm, relaxing and very kid friendly island .....One one my favourite beach vacation spots ever .... :)

Next we drove over to to Captiva which is a typical beach town .... As we were driving through its quiet roads had this urge to just forget that there was a world outside and just like here for a month .... hmm someday hopefully ;)

CAPTIVA ISLAND

More than 2 miles of pure white sand is the first thing i nooticed when we parked the car .. (there is a parking fee where a token is issued for you to park for 2-3 hours) .The island has a very natural atmosphere.

Captiva is north of Sanibel island which is connected to Fort Myers by a three-mile-long causeway. I saw a lot of Shell stores and a lot of people biking through the beach town ....Alos saw fishing on the T-dock (fishing equipment can be rented), nature center, kid’s games and an arcadeYou will never get to see any building more than 2 floors high .... its pretty quiet ....

Did not get to spend a lot of time here ... just an hour .... but it will be a place i will remember forever .... Would love to go and spend some more time here ... :)

CJ

Posted by Ceej 00:17 Archived in USA Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Trip to Disney World

Childhood dream fulfilled ...

sunny

MAGIC KINGDOM - DISNEYWORLD
Orlando Florida

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I guess every child fantasizes about visiting DISNEY... this fantasy was especially big with me since it goes without mentioning that i am a cartoon freak ..... According to Shw(one of my best pals) ..i make any person feel that their life is as empty as a man's breasts if they havent read or watched any of the cartoons i watch or prince-swept-the-pricess-off-her-feet kinda stories ...... ;)

Soooo guess what seeing Mickey-Minnie, Donald-Daisy, Cinderalla, Snow White and every Disney character was like ..... pure unadulterated heaven ..... :) :)

Got off to a great start ... hired a Wolkswagen Passat (red) and drove all the way from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando in 4 hours flat ....thats about 300 miles ... started fairly early ..about 6 in the morning on 31st December 2006...so was feeling all happy when we got to the hotel .....
Then when we started travelling towards Disney the traffic got choatic ...it was then that realisation sunk in as to how many people would be there to reel in 2007 .....More than a 100,000.... :(
Parked the car and got into a waiting ferry to take us across to the main Disney area. The view from a distance itself was awesome .....
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Got off along with thousands of people and started walking ... the first thing i saw was Walt Disney holding his favourite creation and at the backdrop the Cinderella castle ..it was every bit as beautiful as what i had imagined ...
Saw all the Disney princesses performing and MICKEY AND MINNIE (the cutest couple ever)...
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Splash Mountain(my very first roller coaster): Got soaked. Was screaming my gut out ... got teased that i was being such a baby ... but i was terrified even of this 60 foot roller coaster ... :( ...but i faced my fear ....
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After this entire experience we were hungry ...decided to get some dinner before the Fireworks before midnight ...
The castle was lit up at this point ...it looked lovely .... The food in Disney is bad if not anything else ... even the Chinese is bland ... left more than half of it on the plate ...went and got myself a cup of coffe from Starbucks ..found a few magnets embossed with Disney characters to put it on my fridge back home ... (memories of good times ... :) .. )
We then walked over to the castle ..the fireworks were about to begin ... didnt find a place close enough to the castle ...it was jam-packed .... Then the fireworks began ... what a show ...for 20 minutes before the midnight the sky just lit up to fireworks synchronized to some amazing music .....
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IT WAS 2007 .... then the fireworks continued for another 15 minutes ...

It was then that i realised that my feet were hurting ....standing and walking the entire day .... Carried my shoes and walked all the way back to the ferry ...got into the car and went back to the hotel ...I dont even remember getting into bed .... was that exhausted .....

Every child dreams about visiting Disney .... at 23 years ...my dream was fulfilled ........ :)

CJ

Posted by Ceej 19.03.2009 22:34 Archived in USA Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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