Day 152, Monday 4 June 2012, Kota Bahru – Kuala Lumpur
Another lousy night, finally got to sleep just before I had to wake up. I seem to be having all these weird dreams that never come to conclusion as the alarm interrupts before the end, I can recall the dream for about five minutes before it all just fades away. Maybe I should write them down as soon as I wake. They could make for some interesting reading for any future shrink 🙂
I checked out of my overly expensive hotel at 6.45 and got a taxi to the airport, I was advised I would have to pay 60 Malaysian ringit for the ride as it is double prior to 7.00 AM, though my driver only charged me 30, which was still more than ‘fair’. The airport is a few kilometres from town, but considering I paid 50rm to do 75km the day before I considered 60 to be a rip-off. Sadly, being rip-offed by transport operators will be one of the enduring memories of SE Asia.
The flight to KL was excellent, shorter than expected and not a hint of turbulence, we also had one of those wonderful smooth Air Asia landings which I have come to expect. I can see why it was voted No1 budget airline. I will miss flying with them !
I was in no rush when I arrived in KL so took the opportunity to have a coffee and muffin breakfast at the airport – and the use of the free wifi, before catching an airport bus into KL Sentral, the main transport hub for the city. I had selected Melia KL (an overpriced hotel) in the main shopping district, purely based on its proximity to a mono-rail station. Last time I was in KL it was so hot and humid, I did not want to spend a lot of time wandering around the streets trying to find accommodation, and I knew it was all going to pricey in Bukit Bintang. As it turned out the Melia was about 50 metres from the Imbi monorail station so I was there before lunch time, and luckily I had access to a room straight away. The place was expensive and I was pissed off to have to also pay $20NZ for wifi in my room, I am used to free wifi everywhere – guess this is what happens when you the want to stay where the rich people are – bastards !
However – the newly expanded mall is directly over the road and the IT/photo mall is next door, so I am not complaining – I am here to shop ! The IT mall is six floors, five purely IT and mobile and one just selling all sorts of camera stuff, though prices were consistent and bargaining was not encouraged.
The shopping mall over the road was even bigger, in fact it was MASSIVE – it even had its own funfair, including a rollercoaster – awesome!
I was looking to buy a new wide angle lens for my big camera – a Canon 5d MK1, that had safely arrived at my uncle and aunty’s house in England. Much as I have loved the Panasonic GF1 that I have been using for the past five months I am keen to get my hands back on my trusty old Canon – though now the mkIII is out a cheap mkII was sooooo tempting !
I had heard prices in KL were not that hot compared to the UK, but well, unless my research was wrong, prices in KL were massively cheaper than the UK, so I ended up with two lenses – and a murdered bank account ! I picked up a 70-200 f2.8L USM (not the IS version as that was too much) this is a great gig camera as well as being the quintessential white Canon zoom lens – no Canon photog is complete without this bad boy in his kit. I also got a 16-35 f2.8L II USM wide angle zoom – which was the intended purchase ! I am now wondering if my camera bag will fit it all. I also had to buy a new small suit case to fit them !
I was also after some road running shoes as well as a pair of jeans, some street shoes and at least one t-shirt so I would not arrive in England looking like some sort of hobo. But finding Levis proved to be extremely frustrating, and I am a Levis guy – none of those $400 jeans for me ! After a while I gave up in and had a wee rest in the hotel and then went to the big flash (read expensive) mall in the evening and at least got myself a pair of 502’s – they were cheaper than NZ at least.
I wanted a pair of Asics 2070 road running shoes (I know, I know- but I have to get some running in before CPR and there ain’t no trails in Brentwood – and I am not wrecking my trail shoes on tarmac) as well as some decent street shoes – if you know me, this means sneakers. It is very hard to find reasonably priced shoes in Asia for UK size 10 feet !! i found loads of shoes I liked but no one had my size, in the end I did get some Puma’s that were OK – but nothing like my beloved Adi’s I left in NZ.
You can tell the first leg of travelling is over, I seemed to have accumulated more stuff.
[Edit] I am typing this on the plane as I wing my way to London and the hostie seems to have taken an interest in how much red wine I can drink – so apologies for the very long tale of shopping in KL, normally I would say I went shopping and bought stuff. Though I could go on about buying camera stuff for ever…. I am really looking fwd to testing the fast wide lens at a gig – I know it is not the uber-cool Zeiss, but I am not that well off !
I pretty much killed myself shopping, thankfully it was either not as hot as it was last time I was here or I have acclimatised myself somewhat after five months, but four hours of wandering around malls not being able t find anything I wanted was enough. I hit the hotel bar for a beer and almost had heart failure at the price, $10NZ for a handle – I know this is Muslim Malaysia and beer is expensive, but this is taking the piss. I had one, and then went in search of cheap beer on the road, pretty much to no avail. I grabbed a couple of cans at a 7-11 and went to my room for the rest of the night.