I am as good as blind when I
swim. It does not matter if I wear goggles or not, especially when I am doing
strokes. I am blind. That pool they called Lake Something Something was
probably the best alternative to a lap pool, but there were a lot of people in
it. Still, I insisted on doing my laps when suddenly, BAM! I think I just
punched someone, and then right there in front of me, just as disoriented as I
was, a middle-aged woman surfaced. I immediately exclaimed my regret and asked
if she was okay. I half expected her to answer, "Of course not, you sun of
a beach. You just punched me!" But then she said she was fine and life
went on as it should. No no drama. We don't want no drama. Not in Sunway
Lagoon, we don't. I should have gone to a swimming complex instead.
I thought Batu
Caves would take the entire day, but it turns out I only needed an hour or so
to tour the whole area. This, however, is only for the big golden guy and the
steps. If you also want to see the Dark Cave and the Villa, then you might want to
allot another hour. I did not see any of those anymore, so I am actually wondering what I missed.
The steps were more than enough for me, though, as it was the exercise that I badly
translation: “Walk Walk Only” or in Tagalog, “Lakad Lakad Lang!” They use such
expression in Malay to express some activity that does not have a clear purpose
in general. In short, you are doing it out of whim. You could replace “Jalan”
with another activity like “Tengok tengok saja” for example, which means
“Tingin tingin lang” or “Just looking” if you are window-shopping and a store
attendant approaches you. This is what I did on day one, walk around the area
of KLCC and Ampang Park. It is my first time alone in KL as a tourist, but I’ve
been here a couple of times before with my family. I just feel so lazy and I
can see that this KL sojourn would not be that interesting because I’ve already
seen most of the sights here. I just couldn’t get myself to see them again so I
could blog about it, but at the same time I find it unfair if I leave them out
just because I’m too lazy to visit them again. To see it from a different
perspective, let’s use the KTM Pink Kelana Line as a guide, shall we?
Let’s use KL
Sentral as our starting point. The next station would be Pasar Seni. You could
actually walk from KL Sentral to Pasar Seni if you like. If you are fit enough
to do it then why not! There are many attractions scattered across this little
area here. Chinatown is here of course, but what most tourists want to see is a
long road full of souvenirs, eateries, and cheap counterfeit stuff. It is
called Jalan Petaling. They have a wide selection of goods here, from the fake
LV’s down to the Adidas sneakers. Some store owners are kind of persistent
though. This is the best place for you to practice your haggling skills. There
is a school nearby which looks like a temple, good spot for a photo-op. Not far
away is the Sri Mahamarriaman, an Indian temple with colorful sculptures by the
entrance. This one really catches everyone’s attention and could probably vie
as one of the most photographed in the area.
If you walk
farther and reach an area full of old buildings that don’t look Chinese, you
might be nearing the Masjid Jamek station. The National Mosque is here, along
with another one but I forgot the name. The old building of the KTM is also
here, in front of a modern day hotel which occupies an old building that also
stands out. Walk farther down the road and you reach the Dataran Merdeka or
Merdeka Square, a place of importance for Malaysians since it is here where the
Jalur Gemilang replaced the Union Jack in 1957 when the country gained
independence from Britain.
Since the whole
month celebration this August is nearing, you would see a lot of Jalur Gemilang
hung everywhere. It is an overwhelming sight because you could feel the pride
these people have for their nation. It’s just admirable. As a centerpiece is a
fountain which is around a century old. Everywhere
you look invokes nostalgia for a past you were never part of, unless you are
Malaysian. The Ministry of Information and Communications (another department
missing!) is just across the street. Next to it is the Textile Museum. Both
buildings are photogenic. The Masjid Jamek is nearby, just next to two metro
stations named after it. This one really makes you feel like you are somewhere
in the Middle East.
Okay, that was an
epic fail. We only reached two stations. Still, at least you now have an idea
of the tourist spots nearby. A bit farther but still on the same line is the
KLCC station where you would find the two towers that people just have to see
when they visit this city. Do I even have to mention the name? The Petronas
Twin Towers used to be the tallest in the world. The distinction has been
passed on to other towers, but the prestige of the building is not lost at all.
Perhaps, thanks to the mall right under it? Or the aquarium nearby? Or the
garden with dancing fountains? It doesn’t matter. The area is famous. This place is a must see if you want to
watch fish (aquarium), just rest (garden), shop or eat (Suria KLCC), or just gaze
at the twins until your eyes pop out of their sockets. The twins have a friend,
by the way. The Maxis tower can be seen to the right, tall as well. You know,
towers of the same height flock together to form a beautiful skyline. Too bad
the Menara KL got excluded. She probably isn’t that popular. So high school.
If malls are what
you want then prepare for a full day of swiping because KL has a lot of malls.
The KL Monorail brings you to Bukit Bintang and Imbi (the station before it)
where you would find KL’s famous malls. The Berjaya Times Square is at Imbi
station. It has a lot of floors and an indoor theme park. It is a perfect place
to kill time. One station after at Bukit Bintang are: Lot 10, Sungai Wang
Complex, Pavilion, Fahrenheit, and Sephora. Some of these malls seem upscale
but all of them are teeming with people nonetheless.
I don’t know if I
would get a lot of bad vibes for this, but KL seems to be a good city to be a
resident of, not to be a tourist at. I’ve been fending of urges to drop resumes
everywhere and secure a job. Why wouldn’t I. My parents are in the same
country. There are current vacancies for Romance Language speakers according to
jobstreet. My Malay is better than my Korean or Mandarin. No. I am here for
vacation, not for good. Anyway, back on topic. You must go to the nearby state
of Selangor if you want to see some more interesting stuff. If you want a dose
of culture that goes all the way back to the period of colonization, you won’t
find a lot here. You are better off at Melaka or Georgetown for that. However,
if you want to ride, swipe, and dine, then KL is just the perfect place.
I saw this one
while wandering the streets at three in the morning. The flight was delayed and
we landed at the LCCT half past one. Luckily, there was a Skybus waiting for
passengers when I got out of the airport. It took around an hour to get to KL
Sentral despite the absence of traffic. Well, it was two in the morning.
Streets are obviously empty. I tried to walk-in but the girl told me that they
were full for the night and that I needed to reserve online. Fine. My arrival
was unorthodox, after all. Check in time for most accommodations is mostly done
at noon, not at midnight. New Winner Hotel had a vacancy but steep at MYR77 for
just half a day of stay. The owner did tell me though that I could check out at
5 PM. Wow, thanks, but I decided to check out earlier so I could check this
place out and settle in if I happen to like it, which I did.
I sent them an
e-mail for reservation at around 4 AM and got a response at 8 AM asking if I
want to reserve. I said yes when I got up at 11 and said that I would drop by
to check-in and pay the total amount, which was MYR210 for six nights. I
immediately liked the place. They give you a pillow bag with a pillow, a pillow
case, and a bed sheet in it. Then they give you a key card for access to the
door. The have free breakfast from 7 to 11. AM, obviously. And they have free
WiFi at the lobby where you can hang out and watch TV or DVDs.
I was surprised to
find the bunk beds empty. I thought they were full. This backpacker haven is
fairly new. I think they just launched last month. The floors are not finished
yet but the walls are already painted. The air conditioning is centralized and
is turned on from 7 PM to 6 AM. You can turn on the fans and the lights anytime
you want, I think. The main room for the bunk beds is just one big are facing
three lare windows giving a good view of the street below. Along the corridor
are the single and double pods, some of which also have big glass windows with
nice view. The bathrooms are shared but clean, although they have some sort of
“back-to-basics” vibe, which I think is the theme they are aiming for. You
could use the lockers. Just ask for a lock at the counter.
With its friendly
staff and key location next to KL Sentral and a station of the KL monorail, I
could see that Pods Backpackers Home would be a favorite among backpackers in
the months and years to come. They just need to wait a while for word of mouth
to spread, and I hope it does so quickly because this place deserves it. The
next time you find yourself in KL, try dropping by and staying here. I am not
their business partner by the way. I am just an amused customer. Unit 1 - 6,
no. 30, Jalan Thambipillay, Brickfields, KL. Tel. 603 2260 1434
There is nothing
wrong with this hotel but there is also nothing that sets it apart from other
similar accommodations in KL’s urban sprawl. I was able to sleep comfortably
for the night although there is that eerie feeling that a ghost would suddenly
appear or something. I am not saying that the place is haunted. What I’m trying
to say is that hotels, regardless of how many stars they have, have lost their
appeal on me ever since I found the joys of backpacking and guest houses where
you meet a lot of people whether you like it or not.
The bathroom had a
resident baby cockroach, which I found dead when I dropped by later that day
when I woke up to pee. I had nothing to do with her death, I swear. I am good
at cohabitation as long as they don’t fly and land on my face. Anyway, the room
is spacious enough and the queen sized bed was comfy. We are in Kuala Lumpur,
and accommodation here is cheap. Even Wikitravel says that you could get the
cheapest 5-star accommodations here. Take your pick. There are a lot to choose
from. By the way, I think the MYR77 price is too steep, but relatively cheaper
than most accommodations within a 500 meter radius. Another advantage? It is
just a stone’s throw away from KL Sentral, where all trains in KL meet.
Kuala Lumpur was not
really part of my East Asia itinerary. My Southeast Asian getaway is not set
until next month. This is one of the consequences of canceling my German
language course in Heidelberg. I was planning to get to Paris via Air Asia X, which offers the cheapest fares to Western Europe from Southeast Asia. That is
why I booked a Manila - Kuala Lumpur flight in advance despite not being that
cheap based on fares on sale standards. Since I canceled my European plans and
already got my refund for the tuition, I chose to just buy a return flight
ticket to Manila so as to not waste the ticket. I am no stranger to KL,
although it is my first time alone as a tourist. My parents are in Sarawak, but
still, KL feels like home. It is probably the thought of living in one country
despite being separated by the South China Sea. And since technically, they are
not in KL, they are not included on this list. And I think missing them is already
Set in the late 80’s, the entire movie is set in one
night of Matt Franklin’s (Topher Grace) life. He just graduated from MIT but works
for a video store in a mall and still lives with his parents. One day while on
duty, he runs into Tori Fredreking (Teresa Palmer), his high school crush.
Pretending to be working for Goldman Sachs (after tweaking his uniform to a
more casual look), he agrees to go to a party of his high school batch later
that night so he could try to win her over. Tagging along are his sister Wendy
(Anna Faris) and his best friend Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler), a college dropout
who just got fired from his job selling cars.
Sorry if the synopsis seems lacking. In fact, that is the
movie’s problem. It looks like a forgettable straight-to-DVD “period” comedy.
This does not mean, however, that it was a waste of money on my part. I actually
liked it despite the lack of impact it has in terms of brilliant filmmaking. I
honestly thought that it would have two segments: a flashback and a modern day flash-forward.
Instead, it starts and ends in the 80’s, on that particular night in that party
where the movie is set.
Do not leave the cinema at once after the movie ends.
They show a teaser for The Avengers after the closing credits roll.
All Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) ever wanted is to serve
his country by enlisting in the army. However, his lanky frame and many illnesses
serve as an obstacle for this goal to be realized. All this changes when in an
argument with his best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), he manages to
impress eavesdropping scientist Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who works for
the US government in a project aiming to enhance ordinary men into super
soldiers. He is accepted to train under the watchful eye of Col. Chester
Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and Officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), who
eventually becomes his love interest. After accepting the challenge to be the
scientist’s guinea pig, Roger’s body reacts positively to the serum and becomes
Captain America. Meanwhile, in Nazi Germany, ambitious Hydra leader Johann
Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) discovers a mystical bright blue artifact, whose powers
he intends to use for world domination. It is later revealed that he has also
benefited from the serum in the past, and thus, becomes the Captain’s arch
nemesis called Red Skull.