Sunday, July 31, 2011

[SELANGOR] Budget and Itinerary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selangor

SATURDAY: July 30, 2011
KFC (2 pcs Chicken/Cheesy Wedges/Egg Tart & Milo Ais) - 16.90
KTM Komuter (Batu Caves) - 1.00
KTM Komuter (KL Sentral) - 2.00
MYR19.90

[PETALING JAYA] I Didn’t Punch Her on Purpose!


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.

[GOMBAK] Smile, There’s a Monkey


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 needed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget and Itinerary

TUESDAY: July 26, 2011
134.50 - Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3)
1, 620.00 - Travel Tax (NAIA 3)
750.00 - Terminal Fee (NAIA 3)
1, 999.50 - Cebu Pacific (Manila - Kuala Lumpur)
PhP4, 504.00

WEDNESDAY: July 27, 2011
9.00 - Skybus (LCCT - KL Sentral)
0.60 - Call (Payphone)
3.00 - KK (Milo 200 ml @MYR1.50)
77.00 - New Winner Hotel (1 night queen aircon)
4.00 - Adaptor
210.00 - Pods Backpackers (6 nights/1 bunk bed @MYR35)
1.60 - KTM Pink (KLCC)
9.90 - Auntie Anne's (1 pc Pretzel + Choco Dip + Dutch Ice)
8.00 - Movie (Suria KLCC)
9.95 - McDonalds (6 pcs Nuggets + Coke + Fries)
98.00 - Rock Corner (Miss Saigon OST)
1.60 - KTM Pink (KL Sentral)
0.70 - Call (Payphone)
11.60 - KFC (Cheesy Wedges + Milo Ais + Egg Tarts x2)
0.40 - Call (Payphone)
MYR445.35

THURSDAY: July 28, 2011
10.50 - KFC (1 pc chicken w/rice/coke/coleslaw/cheesy wedges)
0.50 - Call (Payphone)
2.00 - KTM Pink (Ampang)
5.50 - Auntie Anne's (Dutch Ice Strawberry)
14.00 - Movie (Suria KLCC)
10.20 - Wok and Grill (Salted Fish Fried Rice + Coke)
1.60 - KTM Pink (KL Sentral)
MYR44.30

FRIDAY: July 29, 2011
1.60 - Monorail (Imbi)
10.10 - Auntie Anne's (1 pc Cinnamon Pretzel + Dutch Ice)
38.00 - Entrance (Berjaya Times Square Theme Park)
34.00 - Times (Chinese Grammar)
58.10 - Times (Let's Speak Chinese)
4.20 - KFC (Cheesy Wedges)
2.65 - Food Republic (Pepsi)
7.90 - Little Wok (Salted Fish Fried Rice)
1.60 - Monorail (Maharajalela)
0.80 - Call (Payphone)
MYR158.95

SATURDAY: July 30, 2011
1.60 - KTM (KLCC)
5.50 - Auntie Anne's (Dutch Ice Strawberry)
1.60 - KTM (KLCC)
10.20 - Wok & Grill (Salted Fish Fried Rice + Coke)
8.80 - Dessert's Bar (Cheese Brownie)
1.60 - KTM (KL Sentral)
MYR29.30

TUESDAY: August 2, 2011
10.00 - Locker (KL Sentral)
2.10 - KTM (KLCC)
10.20 - Wok & Grill (Salted Fish Fried Rice + Coke)
12.00 - Movie (Hanna)
10.10 - Auntie Anne’s (Cinnamon Pretzel + Ducth Ice Strawberry)
1.60 - KTM (KL Sentral)
9.00 - Skybus (LCCT)
13.90 - Taste of Asia (Chicken Rice + Coke)
MYR68.90

WEDNESDAY: August 3, 2011
2, 565.34 - Cebu Pacific (Kuala Lumpur - Manila)
PhP2, 565.34

MYR746.80 - SUBTOTAL

PhP10, 828.60
PhP7, 069.34

PhP17, 897.94 - TOTAL

****Estimate of MYR1.00 = PhP14.50

TUESDAY: July 26, 2011
Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3) 18:15 - 18:35
Check-in (Travel Tax/Immigration) 18:35 - 19:00
Delay (NAIA 3) 20:55 - 21:35
Boarding (NAIA 3) 21:35 - 22:00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Kuala Lumpur) 22:00 - 01:40

WEDNESDAY: July 27, 2011
Immigration (LCCT) 01:40 - 02:20
Skybus (LCCT - KL Sentral) 02:30 - 03:20
Check-in (New Winner Hotel) 04:15 - 04:20
Check-out (New Winner Hotel) 13:00 - 13:10
Check-in (Pods Backpackers Home) 13:15 - 13:30
KTM Pink (KL Sentral -KLCC) 17.25 - 17:40
Snacks (Auntie Anne's) 17:40 - 18:00
Sightseeing (Kinokuniya) 18:00 - 19:00
Dinner (McDonalds) 19:00 - 19:30
Movie (Take Me Home Tonight) 19:30 - 21:20
Sightseeing (Rock Corner) 21:20 - 21:45
KTM (KLCC - KL Sentral) 21:45 - 21:55
Snacks (KFC) 21:55 - 22:35

THURSDAY: July 28, 2011
Lunch (KFC) 14:30 - 15:00
TM Pink (KL Sentral - KLCC) 15:00 - 15:15
Sightseeing (KLCC) 15:15 - 16:45
Movie (Captain America) 16:45 - 19:00
Dinner (Wok and Grill) 19:00 - 19:30
Sightseeing (Suria KLCC) 19:30 - 19:45
KTM Pink (KLCC - KL Sentral) 19:45 - 19:55

FRIDAY: July 29, 2011
Monorail (KL Sentral - Imbi) 13:15 - 13:25
Snack (Auntie Anne's) 13:25 - 13:45
Sightseeing (Times Square Theme Park) 13:45 - 14:50
Malling (Berjaya Times Square) 14:50 - 15:15
Malling (Pavilion) 15:15 - 16:40
Super Late Lunch (Pavilion) 16:40 - 17:20
Monorail (Bukit Bintang - Maharajalela) 17:40 - 17:50
Sightseeing (Jalan Petaling) 18:15 - 18:30
Sightseeing (Dataran Merdeka) 18:30 - 19:00
Walk (Dataran Merdeka - KL Sentral) 19:00 - 19:30

SATURDAY: July 30, 2011
KTM (KL Sentral - KLCC) 14:15 - 14:25
Tambay Mode (Suria KLCC Park) 14:25 - 15:30
KTM (KLCC - KL Sentral) 15:30 - 15:40
KTM (KL Sentral - KLCC) 18:15 - 18:25
Dinner (Wok and Grill) 18:25 - 19:10
KTM (KLCC - KL Sentral) 19:10 - 19:20

TUESDAY: August 2, 2011
KTM (KL Sentral - KLCC) 12:30 - 12:40
Lunch (Wok and Grill) 13:00 - 13:30
Movie (Suria KLCC) 13:45 - 15:45
Snack (Auntie Anne’s) 15:45 - 16:15
Emo Tambay Mode (Suria KLCC Garden) 16:15 - 18:45
KT (KLCC - KL Sentral) 18:45 - 18:55
Skybus (KL Sentral - LCCT) 19:15 - 20:15
Dinner (Taste of Asia) 20:15 - 20:30
Check-in (LCCT) 10:20 - 10:45

WEDNESDAY: August 3, 2011
Boarding (Cebu Pacific) 00:50 - 01:20
Cebu Pacific (Kuala Lumpur - Manila) 01:20 - 05:00
Immigration/Customs (NAIA 3) 05:00 - 05:30

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget and Itinerary

KUALA LUMPUR: 03 - Jalan Jalan Saja!



Literal 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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: 02 - Pods Backpackers Home



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

KUALA LUMPUR: 01 - New Winner Hotel



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: 01 - New Winner Hotel

The Three I Missed Most About KL

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 a given.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight

♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

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.

Captain America: The First Avenger

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

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.

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