Wednesday, 4 May 2011

KUALA LUMPUR - It's a jungle out there, a concrete jungle that is!!!

Our well appointed Radius @ 33 room.

It was time for us to have another stopover in KL. With the great Air Asia fares, it seems that this will be our main entry point to South East Asia (or even Europe if we ever get that far!). Lucky we love KL.
This March we were headed to Sumatra. We had just a few hours at the KL LCCT before our onward flight to Medan. Usual long queues at immigration but the upside of this is that bags are waiting at the carousel once you get through. I opted for a massage. From memory it was Rm 30 for 30 mins. The massage area is set up near the domestic check in. They are blind masseurs. I chose the head and neck massage. I like a good hard massage but this was bordering on torture. I thought about saying that it was too strong but as I had neck & shoulder pain from the flight, I figured (incorrectly!!) "no gain without pain". It took me a couple of days to recover!! So my advice is, if you have time and want a massage make sure you tell them if it is too strong!! Hubby had coffee at the cafe closet to the massage place. Wasn't impressed. Back to our favourite, Obrama's just near the international check in. Divine hot chocolates :-)
We arrived back at KL LCCT 2 weeks later at 8am. What a difference the time of day makes!! Not a sole waiting to go through immigration, literally no one and being first through we thought that we would be waiting an age for our bags but we were in luck! They were amongst the first onto the carousel. Straight to the Sky bus with our pre booked tickets. That's where things slow down. The sky bus leaves on the 1/2hr and we had just missed one by about a minute. Never mind got front seats on the bus. It's always a smooth trip into central.
Once again, we stayed at Radius International. I know it seems to get a bad rap but it's fine for us. This trip they had their Radius at 33 rooms open. I will do a review but suffice to say these rooms are a step up from the Premier rooms we usually stay at. It also entitled us to breakfast in the Premier lounge and late check out. Great value for money in a fantastic location, one street away from Jalan Alor.
With just under 2 days, I hadn't planned to do a lot but as it happened, we didn't do much at all. Went to Sungei Wang to order dvd's. Needed to go to cash machine to get money from my debit card. It rejected my card!!! We were taken down to the basement to another machine - it was all in Chinese so I had to cancel! Went to the next machine. Third time unlucky - "sorry your card has been retained". What the?? After finding the number for the bank and phoning Aus it turns out that the bank had cancelled my card (without telling me) because it hadn't been used for a period of time (it's my holiday bank account).  Moral of this story - check that your card is working BEFORE you leave home!!!
Ok, so I had a credit card with me. I wanted to buy a new lense for my camera, so I could use my credit card for that - wrong!! Their machine rejected this card!! Panic was starting to set in as we were going to use this card to pay for our hotel!! Oh well, we'll get a cash advance on the Amex (the hotel doesn't accept amex). Hmm, no office in KL. But they are affiliated with Maybank, so we will go there the next day. Well, the branch couldn't do it, so off to head office. Ok to the enquiries, then to another counter, then another ending back at enquiries, then another counter and another, only to be told most apologetically that we couldn't get a cash advance on that particular card but we could get cash at the atm. Well I would have done that in the first place if I had a pin!!!
Meanwhile we had contacted the cc company and found that there was no problem with our card, just a problem with the link between the shop's machine and the bank. And here I was thinking all sorts of scary scenarios!!!! Back to the camera place to purchase my lense :-)
Our plans of sunset drinks at Traders went out the window with all our running around and calls etc. I did this last trip and had been looking forward to sharing this with my husband this time. Same for our planned visit to the bird park, just wasn't time. We still managed to do some shopping at Sungei Wang, Plaza Low Yat andChinatown.
Now I mention Chinatown, I have to mention that we went in search of Ben. Wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Lucky I had his ph number. Turns out I was standing almost right next to him. Definitely worth searching him out. Once Ben has a word to the stallholders, no need to bargain. Great prices straight up. A photo of him would have been great - why didn't I think to take one? I think it was Thommo Melb (?) who posted re Ben. Thanks.
Another delicious late night dinner in Jalan Alor.
I made time to have my hair washed at Wenawave at Sungei Wang. It has become a ritual. Although I may only go in there once or twice in a year, they know me there now. It's a great way to end a holiday.
We also bought glasses for our daughter. She had her eyes tested and bought a pair on her stay a few weeks previously. We just went to the same shop, they looked up her card, we chose the frames (sunglasses for driving) and they were ready the next day.
Oh and we revisited Parkson. My gf and I 'discovered' it last year. Of course I had seen it on previous trips but figured it would be expensive. Turns out they stock a lot of the name brand clothing that the young ones like. There are plenty of racks with up to 50 % off. And they take cc, which is great if you are a bit strapped for cash!!
Grabbed some bargains as usual at FOS on the basement level. Always worth having a browse.

To sum up all was not lost :-). The things we missed out on doing will wait till next time and we may be able to stretch out our next stop over to at least another night.
The concrete jungle turned out to be scarier than the jungles of Sumatra ;-)

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