Opulent government buildings hardly occupied
To think we sailed all this distance ......... :-)
7th November was yet another birthday for Pete, and not wanting to spend it sitting in the marina, we decided to head to Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days. Along with Robyn and Craig (Gemini) and Jacqui and Kevin (Tintin), we boarded the train from Johor Bahru early one morning for a 6 hour trip north. First class tickets cost us AUS $20 one way and is wasn't a bad trip. Comfy large seats with heaps of leg room, complimentary water and banana bread, good company and lots of laughs - the trip went quickly. Not a lot to see, just palm oil plantation after plantation and the odd station stop along the way. Soon enough we were arriving in KL and had booked rooms at the Pacific Regency Apartments located just across the road from the KL Tower. All upgraded to suites on arrival and the rooms were great, king size beds and marble bathrooms (with bath), pool on the top floor. That evening after drinks poolside for happy hour, it was off to find the hawker stalls. We found a curry house full of locals - always a good sign and the best tasting curries you could imagine. Each morning we started with breakfast at Starbucks, then the days spent exploring.
Poolside for 'Happy Hour' at the Pacific Regency Apartments - KL.
Jacqui, Pete, Self, Craig, Robyn and Kevin
The Batu Caves were very impressive, with a humongous gold statue at the entrance. 275 steep stairs to the top and horrid little monkeys along the way throwing coconut husks at people as they passed. You had to watch they didn't make a grab for your handbag, hat or sunglasses. Inside the caves there were blessing ceremonies going on, chanting and lots of incense burning. We had arrived at the caves relatively early morning, just as well. By the time we were leaving, the bus loads of tourists were starting to arrive - it was mobbed. Back to the apartments for a lazy afternoon with local shopping in the myriads of stalls surrounding the hotel. On dusk we headed down to see the Petronas Towers and what impressive architecture they are. With the sun setting quickly, the appearance changed by the minute as their magnificent lighting became apparent. From there it was a walk to Alor Street, famous for its hawker stalls and every type of cuisine you could think of. A 10 mins stroll back to the apartments in the balmy evening and a good nights sleep had by all. The next day we had an afternoon departure back to JB getting back to the boat around 9.00pm. A birthday for Pete to remember.
The fountains at the base of the Petronas Towers
Happy Birthday drinks for Pete in KL
Alor Street - famous for its Hawker stalls
A few days later it was off to Singapore which as the crow flies is only 2ks from JB, but requires crossings the causeway, exiting Malaysia and entering Singapore with border stops at both ends, passports, customs and immigration so does take an hour. Lunch at Fatty's with my girlfriend Mojca (ex Sailors Bay Dentistry in Sydney) and lots of catching up done. Shopping in the afternoon and staying the night in a small, very basic hotel in Little India. Clean enough but no room to swing that cat !! Up early next morning and off towards Orchard Road to check in at the Royal Plaza on Scott's for a night of luxury. On arrival we could see mum and dad at reception checking in themselves, having just arrived from the overnight flight from Paris. Just so good to see family again. This time the room was lovely, and plenty of room for 10 cats !! The time in Singapore was spent ambling down Orchard Road window shopping - Tiffany's, Cartier, Gucci, Rolex - hence window shopping only. Lots of chatting and catching up and swapping travelling stories. That evening we went for dinner with mum and dad to where Pete and I had eaten 25+ years earlier - a traditional banana leaf curry. Back then, it was a eatery run by the civil service. These days it is known as Sammy's and famous for it's cuisine. The Xmas decorations and lights were all in place along Orchard and Scott's Roads, however they do not turn them on until 1st December so we missed seeing their spectacular colours at night.
Mum and I having our banana leaf curry at Sammy's
Pete and self in the foyer of the Royal Plaza on Scott's - Singapore
Again it was time to say goodbye but not so sad knowing I will be home in a couple of months. It was the trek back to JB exiting Singapore and re entering Malaysia - the passport could fill very quickly this way. We were setting sail the following day with the Sail Malaysia Rally so there were last minute things to be done on board. A final gala dinner that evening starting with drinks overlooking the marina, then a fantastic meal in the Convention Centre next door.
Karen (Tropicali), Janice (Zoa) and self at the pre dinner drinks at Danga Bay Marina.