Posted by: Michelle | November 3, 2011

Stupid is, as Stupid Does

One good thing about a taxi ticket is you pay a flat rate. You tell them where you want to go and they calculate the fare and away you go. Between the traffic and the taxi driver ineptness it took some time to find the hotel. It was no wonder; the narrow street was chuck full of tents, people, scooters, and more tents, more people, and even more scooters. I actually closed my eyes more than once as the car maneuvered through the crowd. When it stopped I thought it was because he couldn’t go any further but he indicated we had reached the hotel. I looked out the window and didn’t see anything resembling a hotel. Turns out you had to look up. There it was. Starpoints Hotel – what appeared [online] to be a decent hotel for the one night I had before heading to the resort where I would be working (yes, this was a business trip and yes, we were at a five star resort). The driver left me on the side of the street to fend for myself. The stairs leading up to the lobby were not easy to get to but I navigated my 2 bags around the short obstacle course. As the outside indicated, decent was a stretch. Think a notch [ barely] above a Motel 6. It’s just one night; I can suck it up for one night. After all, it’s not about the hotel room. It is about the experience. And staying awake. Do.Not.Lay.Down. Easier said than done, as the bed, despite being too hard for my liking still looked inviting. However, I know it would be a major faux pas to lie down so I press on. I can do this (stay awake). I can stay overnight at this hotel. It’s about the experience.

Little India, Kuala Lumpur

Wearily I step outside into the oppressive heat. The streets are full of vendors selling goods, drinks, and food. With no particular destination in mind, I start to explore the area known as “little India.” I could certainly see how it earned its name. Maybe because I was exhausted, maybe because I was caffeine-deprived, maybe my heart just wasn’t in it but I aimlessly wandered about hoping to come across a Starbucks. All I could think about is lying down and closing my eyes. For just a minute. So I look at booth after booth filled with head scarves, silk, strange food choices and rugs. Even stranger was the smell. Eventually I came across a mall and I remembered I needed cash so I went in assuming I would find an ATM, which I did. Too bad my card didn’t work there either. Hmm… this isn’t looking too good. Back outside, I wound my way around the street and ended back at the hotel with three hours before I was due to meet Jim and Scott (two colleagues who arrived in KL the day before). Without any forethought, I found myself back in my dismal room. My last clear memory was thinking, I could lay down for 30 minutes and be okay. Maybe 45. An hour might be pushing it. What if I slept for two hours? Would it really have an adverse effect? So, yeah. I laid down. Two hours and 50 minutes later, I reluctantly rolled out of bed to wash my face and put on my shoes. Not sure how it was possible to feel worse, but I did. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I knew that would come back to haunt me.

Jim and Scott arrived in due time and we were off to dinner. Jim chose a Persian restaurant that would require a cab

Jim and Scott

ride. I was in no mood to argue. The three of us pile in the back seat of a cab and Jim gives the driver the name of the restaurant and address. The driver seems confused so Jim shows him a map. As we were driving, Jim decided he didn’t know where he was going. After placing a call, the driver insisted he knew the way. Jim continued to question him, believing it was taking too long. As it turns out, he knew where he was going. Jim was a bit contrite afterwards. Not sure what I would find on the menu, but was relieved to find chicken. And rice. So we all order kebobs with a few sides. Imagine our surprise when they brought three kebobs (remember, I was with two men). Oops! After extra beers for the guys and another Coke for me, we finally received all 8 kebobs that were ordered. After dinner, we head back to the main drag to flag a cab. This is easily man’s work so I was busy snapping pictures. On the way back to our hotel (Jim and Scott were one block away from me), I noticed a Starbucks. I stopped one block too soon but I wouldn’t make that mistake in the morning.

Of course I regretted my “nap” when I couldn’t fall asleep at 10pm. Stupid, stupid, stupid! As a result, I tossed and turned for several hours before falling asleep. I groaned when the alarm went off but dragged my sorry butt out of bed (at least I knew where the Starbucks was). Feeling fortunate I was leaving this particular hotel and headed to a five star resort, I grabbed my stuff and walked the block over to Jim and Scott’s hotel where we were going to store our luggage whilst we toured KL.

Outside the Central Market in KL

First stop was Starbucks (never mind that I had run out earlier). Scott couldn’t remember where it was and needed his fix. Fine by me. With a loose agenda of what we wanted to accomplish, we took off by foot. I must say I wasn’t impressed with the condition of the sidewalks. Many were in various stages of disrepair making walking somewhat difficult. The city itself was not very clean either. I’m always amazed when I’m somewhere and watch people through their rubbish on the ground. For some reason, many countries do not have trash bins (hence the widespread littering). It is a shame that people don’t care enough to dispose of their garbage properly. First stop – the Hard Rock Café so I could buy my guitar pins. Next we circled around to the Petronas Towers (they are mighty impressive). After walking around all morning, the guys decided it was time for a beer break. It wasn’t particularly easy to find a place that was open and served beer. We happened upon a Belgium café that had a wide variety of beers (and an ice cold coke for me). Afterwards we made our way to the Central Market where Jim was anxious to try some street vendor food and look at local merchandise. We meandered around the shops, where anxious shopkeepers tried to entice us to buy their goods. Jim purchased a silk rug and a mask (Scott did the negotiating for him while Jim and I hovered outside). Thankfully, the marketplace was indoors and air conditioned as the temperatures outside rose to the mid 90s. The walk back to the hotel felt particularly long and hard in the heat. Because of our luggage, we had to wait some time for a van to take us out to the resort where the real work was waiting for our arrival.

(Just a side note: at the end of day 2 and six attempts, I’m still cashless and had little hope I would be able to withdraw cash from an ATM.)


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