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Singapore - Kuala Lumpur

This is an old journal, from our trip around the world in 2002, taken from the diary I wrote at the time. Apologies for the poor quality photographs, they are scans of prints taken with a compact camera and images from the scrap book I made afterwards.

rain 35 °C
View Around the World for our Silver Wedding 2002 on Grete Howard's travel map.

After the fiasco of the expensive breakfast in the hotel in Darwin, we nip next door to MacDonald’s for our early morning feast of a sausage and egg butty. The portion is not large enough for David, but I am still feeling pretty fragile after last night, so it’s all I want this morning. We return to the room where I resume my sleep. After a fretful night’s kip where I woke three times to visit the loo, twice because of a bad cough, twice because I was too hot and once when I was feeling cold, I feel I need it. I sleep well for a couple of hours before being picked up at 10:30 for the transfer to the airport. The security check is different to any we have experienced so far. To check for chemicals they squeeze the air out of the bags while running a machine above it.

Changi Airport is absolutely amazing. It can be best described as a colossal shopping mall with a few planes attached. Unfortunately there are no Miles look-alikes. Maybe when we return to Terminal One on the homeward journey. There is even an e-café in the terminal and we just have to check it out. Betsy Bebbington has sent a very sentimental note headed Re: Miles RIP. It’s a lovely little note, very moving but not apportioning any blame. She suggests we buy another travelling companion, although not another Miles. ‘There will only ever be one Miles’. I feel emotional and quickly move on to the other notes from Nigel, Rachel and my parents.

Apart from the fact that I spill a whole glass of orange juice over David’s lap, the flight is uneventful. Once we manage to get through the long queue for immigration in Malaysia, the cases arrive quickly. The traffic in Kuala Lumpur is just as bad as it was in Singapore. When I comment to the driver that I cannot remember the airport being so far out of town, he explains that this airport is new, and we would have arrived at the other terminal last time. That clarifies the situation.

The hotel is very impressive, with all black marble and cascading water. The room is also extraordinary; a king sized bed, three seater settee, chair, coffee table, writing desk and chair with ample space around. The TV pulls out of a cupboard on a table and the bathroom is a very generous size.

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The hotel is very centrally located, with a couple of shopping malls within easy walking distance. The malls are far too upmarket for our liking; they are full of designer clothes shops. We can find no shops selling knick-knacks, arts and crafts, souvenirs or post cards. Tucked away in a dark and dingy corner we find a currency exchange booth. I expect the rate is far better here than we will get at Pangkor Laut.

On the main street we enjoy a beer in an outdoor café. There is a special offer on during Happy Hour, two for the price of one. We still find it expensive at £2.30 for two small beers. Muslims are celebrating Ramadan at this time, but there is no obvious sign of fasting. People still appear to be drinking, smoking and eating during daylight, just as they would at any other time.

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While we are in the internet café, it starts to rain. We make a run for it to a restaurant a couple of doors away, one that was recommended by the driver. This is fast food, Penang style, but the food is tasty and very reasonably priced. We order two portions of spring rolls with a chilli dip and end up with nearly twenty of them in total; chicken with mango, chicken with black bean sauce, mixed vegetable with sauce, fried rice and four beers. Compared with the Thai meal in Singapore last night, this is much better value at £18, and I consider the food to be superior too. It is still raining when we leave, and we become completely drenched while running back to the hotel.

Posted by Grete Howard 07:51 Archived in Malaysia

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