Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Travelin' to Tioman

We are going to Tioman Island!! My friend ‘Round the World (RTW) and I are squeezing in a short beach vacation before I fly off to London and Norway. We’ve decided we want to go somewhere we can get to via bus because we’re both tired of dealing with airports. Tioman is about five hours away by bus and then two hours by ferry. Easy…right?

WRONG! We arrive at the Puduraya bus terminal in time to catch the 9:00am bus to Mersing. Unfortunately, the 9am is sold out and only the 11am is available. The 11am might get us to Mersing in time to catch the last ferry to Tioman, but it would be very close. We beg to be let on to the 9am bus and finally they agree to let us ride standby.

We wait patiently by our bus inhaling lots and lots of dangerous fumes.


I’m not sure how RTW continues to look so cute.

Finally the bus driver tells us that two people have not showed and he boards us! Then the two people arrive and he kicks us off!

We make the best of our two hour wait and slog over to Starbucks where we read a gossip magazine and drink designer coffee.

I pay 30 cents to use what I can only describe as a prison bathroom.

I advise RTW to hold it. RTW shows tremendous savvy by going into a nearby hotel and using a bathroom suitable to freedom loving non-criminals!

I have so much to learn.

We end up back in the fume infested bus parking garage.

We have seats! But they are in the very back and do not recline. RTW has a red plastic chair next to her more appropriate for a lawn party than a bus trip. We wonder if anyone will be sitting here.

A man who looks just like Jesus Christ sits in front of us. Well, Jesus Christ with a straw Vietnamese triangle hat, dreadlocks, and a mouthful of Dunkin’ Donuts.

The back row is on an elevated platform and we look down on our fellow passengers, lording over them. An unusual and highly decorated velvet curtain hangs behind us and adds to our feelings of royalty.

Unfortunately, the back of the bus is covered in cobwebs and infested with bugs.

This makes us feel less royal.

The guy who looks like Jesus Christ starts killing the bugs with his bare hands, making me think, “He’s no Jesus Christ.” But we are happy there are fewer bugs.

We make one stop. Despite dehydrating ourselves I still have to use the bathroom. This one is much better than the prison toilet from earlier.

We finally arrive in Mersing at 4:15. The last ferry leaves at 4:30! An old woman meets the bus selling ferry tickets. I’ve already reserved two spots so I ask her to point us in the direction of the ferry. She motions in a general direction and tells us to “hurry”.

This is possibly the worst direction in the world! I think the boat must be around the corner but it is a fifteen minute walk away! I call the ferry people twice to tell them we are on our way. We arrive hot, sweaty, tired, and stressed out.
Somehow our fellow bus passengers reached the terminal before us and look cool as cucumbers. This makes us mad!

The ferry leaves one hour late. This makes us mad!

The ferry ROCKS on some sizable waves. This makes the woman sitting next to me throw up (not RTW).
video
spoiler alert: this video shows the boat rocking...not the woman throwing up

We arrive in Tioman at 8PM and a 4WD meets us for the drive across the island to our hotel the Juara Mutiara Resort. This "resort" isn't awful (for Malaysia), but it's best suited for guests who only plan to be in their room to sleep - in the dark.

We check in and immediately go to the Santai Bistro , the sole cafe, where we rustle up some grub.

Can’t wait for morning so we can actually SEE the island!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

KL with a Friend from Home

We are entertaining again! My friend from London, ‘Round the World, is visiting us as part of the around the world trip she is taking. She’s about three months into it and has hit the Philippines, Cambodia, Bali, Borneo…and now KL!

Once she is rested up, we hit our favorite vegetarian-budhist-temple-restaurant for lunch!

They love their mock meat here. Take a look at the selection of “fried chicken” and “burgers”.

Mr. Happy wanted to test one of the burgers.

Of course, he doesn’t know what meat tastes like, so he wasn’t sure if it tasted like the real thing or not.

‘Round the World only had one request for the day, “I want Starbucks.” She’s a big fan of the chai tea latte and this drink is not offered by Starbucks universally (what up Starbucks?).

However, KL is one cosmopolitan town. Not only do they have chai tea lattes, but some crazy drink they call “Jelly in your coffee. Coffee in your jelly.” In a word - gross.

After sufficiently caffeinating ourselves, RTW and I headed to Chinatown. We strolled the streets and browsed the shops.

There’s always something entertaining in these parts.

Back at the flat, our friend the Local (via India) stopped by and we enjoyed cocktails on the roof desk.

Our sunset drinks were quite photogenic!



Soon we were starving and decided to go to the hawkers of Jalan Alor for dinner. The Local had never been here before which was crazy considering the years she’s lived here.


I’m not sure of the name where we ate, but it was my new favorite. Everything from the stirfried carrot cake to the grilled squid, wanton mee, and fried mushrooms were Fantastic.

We had to call it a night early, because ‘Round the World and I are off to Tioman Island in the morning!!!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I just CUT OFF ALL MY HAIR!!!!!

I'd been thinking about it for a loooong time. It's very hot here and I wear it in a ponytail each and everyday. Not terribly fashionable.

So...I took the plunge. I brought along a photo and asked Janet at JW Hair Salon in Sungei Wang Plaza to cut my hair like the Cyber-shot Sony Ericsson girl.
She barely looked at the photo. So I guess either a) Janet has a photographic memory or b)all the girls are getting this cut. For instance, perhaps when I showed her the photo Janet inwardly sighed and thought, "Not the Cyber-shot Sony Ericcson girl-cut again!"
here she is again!

At any rate, my hair kinda sorta looks like the girl in the photo.


Try picturing me blowing a bubble.


I still need to get used to it!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Bollywood Nights

And another one bites the dust! Yet another friend is leaving KL. Our friend MBA is Cambodia bound where she'll be joining her boyfriend before starting business school in Singapore in January.

In an attempt to whittle down her possessions before her movers came on Saturday morning, she invited us all over on Friday to help her polish off her booze before the mooove with a pool party! We were diligent.

The party also included pizza, donuts, and CHOCOLATE! I couldn't believe the volume and the assortment of chocolate that MBA has accrued this past year. The most amazing piece??

Bacon Chocolate. Who has ever even heard of this? This particular bar was dark chocolate with apple bacon bits in it. Very interesting taste sensation. One could definitely taste the salt of the bacon, but I don't believe that I would have identified the chewy substance floating in the chocolate as bacon had I not read the label.


Mr. Happy was luckily wrapped up in conversation so he didn't notice the meaty sweets being passed around the table.

On Saturday, everyone gathered for the Baker's birthday take 2. We had dinner at Tamarind Hill. The atmosphere isn't as beautiful as Tamarind Springs but I rate the food higher. The menus are considerably different too.

The big winners of the night? The duck and lychee salad and the duck served in chocolate sauce. It turns out our group is a big fan of meat & chocolate products.

The staff brought the Baker a birthday treat of mango with sticky rice! Yum. This is by far my favorite Asian dessert. You should definitely try it if you have the chance.

We had to skip ordering additional desserts because we all had tickets to see the Merchants of Bollywood. Some of us dressed in our Indian finest.

Mr. Happy worried he’d nod off during the performance so he ordered a teh tarik. He was given it in the traditional Malay way. When a drink is ordered “to go” you get it in a plastic bag! Cheaper than a cup!

This was a very entertaining play. They had HUGE dance numbers set to Bollywood music.

The story was pretty lame, but we all had a lot of fun.

Tonight…Mr. Harry Potter!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Massages, Makan, & Manicures

Today is the Baker’s birthday!! Give it up! To celebrate, a few of us planned a day of beauty. We booked the Weekday Spa Tea at Vila Manja in the Equitorial Hotel. However, rescheduled meetings and a sickness meant only the Baker and I could make it for the big day!

We luxuriated under the heat of our thirty minute hot stone therapy followed by a sixty minute signature Vila Mana oil massage. The spa gets a big thumbs up on its treatments, a thumbs down on their cd machine breaking and forcing us to relax to the sound of the air conditioning unit, a thumbs down for serving me water in a styrofoam cup, and a thumbs up for their ginger tea (served in a suitable ceramic cup). I think that equals a fist.


Our booking included lunch at the Etoile Bistro salad buffet following our treatments. The buffet included some very nice bread, soup, lots o’ delicious salads, fish, cold cuts and fruit.


It also included a selection of several desserts.

Think I forgot the fruit…


The lycee-jelly concoction didn’t get a very high rating from us, but the others were winners.

After a little makan (malay for “eat”) we decided we required immediate manicure/pedicure attention. We called on the fine people at the Pretty Finger salon next to the Starhill Galary.

If someone is wondering what to get the Baker for her birthday might I suggest a magazine subscription. Baker girl was reading old news as if it was hot of the presses. For example:
“The leads from Slumdog Millionaire are dating!” (News in Feb 2009)
“Nicole Richie is having her second child?” (News in Feb 2009)
“Michael Jackson died???!!!” (Maybe I’m exaggerating…but maybe I am not)

Slough away, Sir!

Check out our darling digits!


As we sauntered home, we stumbled upon the perfect picture spot! How lucky is that?


The baker insisted she was photographed out, so I flew solo in this shot at "perfection" in front of the Pavilion's new RM8,000,000 fountain (expensive in dollars, pounds, and euros).



At any rate, it was Beauty-full Birthday!