Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kuala Lumpur - not the home of the Koala Bear

This week I find myself in Malaysia, the home of the twin towers but not the home of the Koala Bear.  For someone as foolish as me it is easy to get confused Kuala does not equal Koala.
(I must say, I surprised myself with how good this photo came out)

Often when I arrive in a new location it is late at night and I have no idea what I will find in the morning.  That was the case with this trip too.  I arrived around 10:30 PM and cleared Customs around 11, walked out and my driver was nowhere to be found.  This really pisses me off if I've spent 30+ hours traveling and the last leg of the journey is delayed.  So I called the phone number for the service and had a painful conversation that ended up with me describing my clothing to the dispatcher and me wandering around the arrival terminal swearing and waving my arm.  Five minutes later a small asian woman ran over with my name on a sign.  She would attempt to unite me with my driver and car, so we stepped outside to wait another 10 minutes for him to pull around.  After 35 minutes of highway driving we arrive at the hotel, the rest is a blur because I was completely exhausted.

Work started at 8 AM the next morning and went until 10 PM that night... not exactly a short first day.

We did however make a trip to downtown Kuala Lumpur to have dinner and to view the Twin Towers.  We had dinner at a place that served traditional Malaysian food.  As is the usual case, one of our native associates ordered all the food.  You can see below that there was no shortage of food, but some of it was pretty hard to eat.  My boneless chicken and rice special request was, in a word, asian.  That means it had bones and was spicy as hell with some contents that could not be identified.  I tried about 10 different Malaysian foods, but can't say I really loved any of them.

We had about 25 people at dinner and it was full of interesting conversations.  I think we were from about 15 different countries.  We purpose fully mixed up the seating arrangement so we could get to know new people from different areas of the company and world.
We spent some of the time exploring the shopping mall that is in the base of the towers.  It is amazingly large and has any shop you might imagine.  The prices were equal to what we would see in the USA so no real incentive to buy anything.  I did get to try out one of the new SONY 3D TVs which was pretty cool. 

Overall, Malaysia has been a cool place to visit.  The people are nice, a high percentage speak english, the weather is warm, and the air quality isn't too bad.  A 5 star hotel is $90 / night and the airfare was only $1800 round trip from New York flying on Emirates through Dubai.  I just wish I had the time to explore the country a little more.