Three friends and I went to Malaysia in March this year. I had already been there twice, so I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming :). But, my friends had not been there and it was fun discovering a new side to Malaysia with them. We landed quite late so my friend’s friend coming to pick us up was great. A late night dinner and a stroll was all we had time for that night.
The next day, one friend took off to spend some time with some of her family who were living in the city, while the others and I went off in search of adventure. We took every possible method of transportation, but the beloved method was walking. We covered the most famous sites, such as Berjaya Times Square, the Petronas Tower, the Minaret Tower, Bukit Bintang, the Aquaria, and the KLCC Park, as well as the equally important and popular shopping areas such as the China Town, Petaling Street, and the malls.
The purpose had been seeing the country rather than shopping, so thankfully very little time was spent on the latter, and most on the former. The four days there were incredibly fun. The hotel was a three-star hotel, and breakfast was provided. So we would head out into the city after a leisurely breakfast, and then explore what took our fancy. The best thing was finding eating areas. We discovered Ice-Milo on the second day and we stuffed ourselves with it! Food was good too, we ate all sorts from Indian to Malaysian, to English. I don’t think there was a road that one of us had not covered.
The time in China Town was actually quite good in a different way. Chaithri and I sat down with drinks outside a shop to discuss the Sri Lankan development sector, while the other two shopped. We both work in the sector so we had varying degrees of insight into the two fields we work in. It was an illuminating hour for both. The others too had their fun, having their own time apart, and this is a great recipe for a good time together. A trip must always allow for people to enjoy their own separate pastimes.
We also managed to see and be part of the nightlife, as we decided to check out the clubs on the last night. We walked all over the city looking for a good place – I was in high heels, mind you – and after a long (maybe an hour’s) walk, we found Zouk, which we had decided to go to. Bad, bad choice! There were about a 1000 people there (I promise, that’s only a small exaggeration!) and there were so many queues, winding their way out to the road, that at about 11pm we decided to go somewhere else. Another walk down the two long roads that connect Zouk with the strip of night clubs on Jalan P.Ramlee, and an iced Milo later, we were back where we started, trying to decide where to go to. And of course, in our utter ignorance (and with no research available), at about midnight, we decided to go to the Beach Club! Horror of horrors, yes!
The music was fine, and at times great. The live band also reached some heights but the music changed quickly. The refreshments were quite mediocre, and frankly, I thought entrance was too pricey. Half an hour in, I kept getting hit on (not too bad, just a few words, a few smiles, very PG), and for the next half hour I just put this down to drinks and friendly foreigners. But then, I noticed people watching me, and some actively trying to get my attention, and also, by this time, I had noticed that 98% of the women there were there for money. And then it dawned on me what the place was, and I was highly uncomfortable. Thankfully, we had been dancing within our group, and the four of us had enough of a shield to guard us. Also thankfully, a few other foreign women walked in at this point and started actually having fun, and I could calm down. But by about 2am I was uncomfortable, so we walked outside and found tables but all these old men were leering at me, and it was an incredibly bad experience for me. We managed to get out of there by about 2.30, and we got back to the hotel with enough time to pack and nap in. Of course, this meant that we were all like zombies when we got to the airport and into the flight. In fact, three of us just conked out the moment we strapped on the seat belts, and didn’t wake up till 5 minutes before we landed.
Apart from the last night, we had had so much fun. We had even had luck in finding good things to bring back home, at great rates – we found Milo (for iced Milo) and Nescafe in bulk (they taste different from what we have here, which should not be!), and I even got a great backpack for a fraction of what it normally costs. I was a happy camper! This trip has led to a tradition of sorts. Maldives (May 2014) is the second installment of this tradition.