Malaysia Trip 05 / 06

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Outward Bound

OK, so this is my blog of our holiday to Malaysia. I hope to write some interesting tales of our trip and tell you all about what we've been up to in our time here. There will probably be some short entries, and then there will be some longer this one!!

The start of my journey didn't really go as planned due to the genius of British public transport. I know that everyone is entitled to a bit of time off at Christmas (I'm having a month so I guess that's only fair!) but is it really necessary to make it impossible to travel anywhere outside of London on Boxing Day?? My plans to get to a hotel room in Slough for the night before I travelled were destroyed by being unable to get to Slough in the first place. Fortunately for me my sister helped me out and so a night in South London was planned instead with a tube journey to the airport in the morning instead.

We were flying to Malaysia with Qatar airline and despite the tickets we bought being considerably cheaper than those on Malaysian alrlines, the first flight to Doha has was probably the best flight I have been on. Individual screens, a choice of about twenty films, 100 albums and a few Sinclair Spectrum quality games kept us entertained for the six and a half hour flight. The food was alright too (for plane food) and so by the time we arrived in Qatar everyone was feeling a little more into the holiday mood. Unfortunately the best planes in the fleet are obviously reserved for the main routes that Qatar fly and so our plane from Doha to Kuala Lumpur was a much smaller and extremely hot. Being the longer of the two flights, about seven and a half hours, we were all feeling rather scrubby by the time we arrived and were all glad to get to Doug's apartment and take a shower.

Doug's flat is a brilliant place to have as our base camp for the holiday. It is air conditioned (essential for the 90% humidity!) and has tennis courts, badminton, squash, a pool and a shop. Perhaps only a bar in the lobby is all that would be required for it to have all the basics needed for any good holiday abroad! I will try and get some photos online at some point this week but don't yet know if I can use my camera with the computers in this internet cafe.

Once everyone was clean and feeling human again we were ready to head out and sample to local cuisine. Doug had been planning to take us to a restaurant called Little Penang and was dying to eat one of his favourite dishes but unfortunately it had relocated during the last fourteen months and so were had to eat elsewhere. This was not a problem as the neighbourhood is full of street side restaurants all of which look and smell fantastic. I'm not sure that some of the others were so impressed with the smell of the fish sauce used in a lot of the cooking, but I know what it tastes like once it is ready so I was definitely not put off.

We ended up in a restaurant called "Spicy Kitchen" which would perhaps be more appropriately named "Really Really Spicy Kitchen" as the majority of the food sampled in our first meal had a bit of a kick to it. I ate a lamb curry with rice, nuts, dried anchovies and a red chilli sauce the name of which escapes me. It was certainly unlike anything I have eaten before, the curries are amazing and quite different to those we get back home. The fresh fruit juices and milkshakes are also something else and cold glasses of mango juice were going down pretty quickly. A pretty large meal and a lot of drinks cost about [damn it there's no pound sign on this keyboard!!] fourteen pounds which, although we were expecting the low prices, is unbelievable when you see what you get for your money.

The next mission was to source some entertainment for the evening and some beer. The entertainment was easy to find as there is a shop close by that sells all the latest DVDs. I bought the whole first series of Lost in a box set for ten quid and got another film chucked in for free. The beer was actually more expensive than that as the majority of people who drink over here stick to spirits rather than beer. Still, the prices are still a little cheaper than England and I have no problem paying that much for a cold lager, even over here!

As we sat in Doug's apartment watching Lost I could almost have forgotten I was in Malaysia, however the fact that I hadn't slept a wink since getting up in London reminded me that I had travelled half the way round the world that day. We wanted to make sure that we didn't go to bed too early though and so after chilling out for a while we went out to get some more food and beer.

For our eveing meal we headed to the local food court where there is an amazing array of food on offer. Basically you sit down then go to any stall you choose to get your food and they bring it over to the table. I ate chicken and beef satay, squid in peanut sauce, curried fruit, a bit of stingray and rice with oysters all of which were absolutely amazing. I particularly enjoyed the satay although according to Doug's Malaysian friend's the Satay we ate is nothing compared to a place in the centre of the city. I'll let you know once we've been there!!

After being up for nearly 36 hours it was finally time to hit the sack and there were certainly no problems sleeping. The first day had been a pretty tired one but I wouldn't have wanted to miss it!


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