So farewell then KL
The Malays have done a darn good job with their country since kicking out the Brits in 1957. On the way back from the airport (in an ’executive’ taxi , as they describe it, but more of that later) I was struck at how green and lush the lands are and how organised and new the towns and housing estates outside of KL are. They have made good use of their oil billions since their discovery and the British Government and Royal Dutch Shell stopped profiting from the spoils and invested them in infrastructure. Lesson in there somewhere for Mrs T. If she had followed their example, and used our assets wisely we may well have a transport system that isn’t so fucking shit and* uncoordinated.
The roads and rest of the transport infrastructure are excellent and the KL surroundings look prosperous to me. This is the same feeling I got when I have skipped over the Straits Times for the last two days, lots of positive stories about developments and investments in infrastructure and not a sign that they are suffering as the rest of the major economies around the globe.
That’s all good I suppose but like my impressions of KL City itself, it has all been done a bit too well and a bit clinical for my liking in its push to be a modern westernised economy. Right enough of that crap and on with the trip blog proper.
The Petronas Towers was built by, and is the international headquarters of their biggest (and ex government owned) oil company and one of the most profitable companies in the world today. If you like buildings and get titivated by tall buildings even more, just like me then you will get gooey about the towers. When I finally get round to publishing all my pics you will see how much I liked them - I have pics of them from every conceivable angle. The architecture and design of them is just astounding and they have finished it off with brilliant lighting at night and a free visitor centre. Although in order to gain access you do have to endure a 7 minute 3D petrochemical movie extolling the virtues and environmental credentials of the Petronas Oil company. Did you know Mother Theresa founded the company and they give all their profits to the starving in Africa? Well that’s what the film said I am sure ....
The ‘Executive’ Taxi
Air Freshener Overload
After our taxi transfer experiences so far we decided to book an ‘executive’ taxi for the transfer to KLIA. Well it was double the price, but seeing as I had just checked out and settled the cocktail bill from the other night (ouch!) the extravagance of the ‘executive’ taxi seemed a small price to pay - compared to my Martini it was.
Now you may well wonder why I have kept using those annoying apostrophes round the word executive. Well in this case it is used by me as an ironical indicator. Oh cock *, listen to me lecturing about the use of apostrophes when I said I hate grammar and punctuation.
However, for our ‘executive’ price we got :- real velour seats, with arm rests on both arms, fully functioning air conditioning and a cheerful driver that decided we looked like the type for a bit of RockFM, or whatever the Malay equivalent of that is. For the record we are not Rock Chicks; in fact I like lots of music and will listen to virtually anything but I fucking*hate rock music (apart from a bit of Queen now and again when I am in the mood)
To his credit though his driving was of a distinctly higher quality than our previous ‘chauffeurs’ - look I’m doing it again stop it dickhead* The most special thing however was our special bonus. Also in the car with us was a riot of air fresheners (I have just decided, seeing as I am now a lexicographer and wordsmith that a riot is now officially the collective noun for a lot of air fresheners in one place), no maybe that should be a Haze of fresheners.
I counted two dangly magic trees, a Glade freshness bag and two Ambi-Pur plug-ins (one was not actually plugged in but there waiting in case one ran out and the delicate balance was disturbed). The irony of all of this was that the only thing the car smelt of was car. So I am guessing the fragrances of summer meadow, spring fresh and luscious lavender when placed together actually cancel each other out and so sadly we were left with the fragrance of well : CAR. To add insult to injury is was not even that nice new car smell just boring old car. Oh well it was worth the extra dosh for that alone. Have a look at the pic closely and you can see three of them – the magic trees dangling from the column shift and the glade underneath
*Use of swearing in this section has been provided in response to reader requests, I cannot be held responsible for any damage this may do to your sensibilities. I actually find it quite hard to swear in the written language – a difficulty I don’t’ seem have when it comes to the spoken word as many of you will know.
KLIA - You ain’t no Hong Kong Airport Honey
You know how I liked HK airport and said it was my favourite. Well it still is.
KLIA does the job efficiently but without much excitement or pzazz, as a now deceased but sorely missed QVC shopping channel presenter used to say. You have to travel on a monorail to get to the best eateries and the smoking room, oh and the wireless didn’t work so well, but a lot of the info displays were down too so I guess someone had tried to use Skype and brought the entire KL network down. So this time I will forgive them.
So if I give HK airport a 10 I am afraid KLIA you score a Len Goodman (SEVEN!). It would have been a six but your smoking room had ventilation in it which actually made your teeth want to leave your gums, which meant that that air was clear and you didn't come out after your fag stinking so an extra point was added.
Malaysia Air the Lowdown
Malaysian Air Stewardess
Well from budget back to scheduled airlines for now (although this one still only cost us £55 each - he he he). Cabin crew were again very pretty, something for the whole family today with male and female beauties. Although I think the head of staff uniforms at Malaysian Airlines is a man hater as the female cabin crews uniforms are gorgeous traditional dresses with a beautiful floral designs and the male crew are dressed in British Racing green trousers and jackets. They look like bus conductors from On 'The Buses
(talking cabin crew fashion now how gay is that!!). I am of course far too young to remember On the Buses and I have only actually ever seen it on nostalgia TV programmes looking back at the best bits of telly; honest. Other quick highlights of the flight.
–good for airline reheated fare; very tasty satay and we got not one, not two, but three Ferrero Rocher chocolates (which had previously been sanitised) and then just when I thought it couldn’t get any better round they came with a basket of Baskin Robbins chocolate mini ice cream tubs. It could only have been better if it was Green n Blacks. Deep Joy. I spent the flight writing this and getting anal about typos – someone stop me please. Really, honestly do because I have enough in life to worry about than start to worry about my typing and grammar and punctuation.
Green, not so good
– apart from the offensive men’s cabin uniforms perfect and friendly and cool.
Fellow passengers – Flight was half empty so it was quiet, and we had lots of room to spread out. There was a group of Chinese, about 8 of them who spent ten minutes deciding where A- F were on the seat numbers and kept swapping seats - I thought they were playing some form of game they had invented - Airline Chinese checkers and someone had just got one to the other side of the board.
We also had a French female couple opposite on the aisle who were about forty but behaved as if they were teenagers on a school trip which was fantastic entertainment, until they got overtired and fell asleep.
Right that’s it for now seatbelt light has pinged on so it’s our descent into Bali. I fear due to this being our laze around on the beach, drink and read books part of the holiday I will find less to write about or may have less access to the interweb, so I made this an especially long one to keep you occupied. Thanks for the kind, and not so kind comments on the blog so far. Both types make me keep wanting to write and I am actually having fun with it.
Nice welcome -- cheers
We landed and I took this shot from the airport terminal as we got off the plane. Makes you sick doesn't it.