23 to 27 March 2010
And so on Tuesday we bid a fond farewell to Siem Reap – me with more reluctance than Mark it is probably fair to say but it is also very exciting to be starting the next phase of our journey. We’ll be back in Siem Reap at the end of April so it was more of an “a bientot” than “au revoir”. It’s been a week since I finished work but to be honest I’m not sure if it’s sunk in yet, just feels like I’m on holiday (but with no emails to check :)).

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur MalaysiaThe Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

On Tuesday we flew to Kuala Lumpur with the idea that we would pretty much head straight to Singapore for a credit card blow out, however after a few hours checking out the shops in KL decided we could probably get what we needed there without the extra expense of travel and pricey accommodation. So 3 days later – mission accomplished. We have new backpacks, decent hair cuts (one year later my Kathmandu catastrophe has finally been fully corrected although it is a little shorter than anticipated!) and lots of new clothes. KL seems to have a disproportionately high number of huge shopping centres including one with over 300 stores. Brent Cross eat your heart out! They have most of the same brands as the UK – the only ones missing are White Stuff and Fat Face but I guess you can’t have it all!

The hotel we stayed in served as a good base but is what a travel journalist or copy writer would describe as “colourful”. It was managed by an extremely camp guy who was really helpful with all our chores but who talks the hind legs off a donkey and has the memory of a goldfish. I actually know his “separated at birth twin” who coincidentally is also Malaysian. More of a coincidence he spent some time living with a “friend” in High Barnet in a rose-gardened terraced house on Allen Drive. On to the hotel residents (the majority of which literally are in residence on a permanent or semi-permanent basis) ……. There were the smooth talking Mumbai-ites – Amitab Bachan ??? Look a likes and all CEO’s of the businesses they run from their laptops and mobiles in the hotel lobby and always wanting to talk but not listen….. There were a handful of travellers staying but probably around 50% of the rooms were home to what must be a high percentage of KL’s prostitutes. I’ve stayed in places which have doubled as brothels before but this wasn’t their “workplace” just their home (thank God as the walls were made of ply board!). It was quite entertaining watching the process of them getting ready to out – a process which started about 5pm and took 5 to 6 hours of shrieking up and down the corridors and in and out of the bathroom in various states of undress. (Yep, on a budget so shared bathroom is this pricey city). The upside was that there were no queues for the shower in the morning as they didn’t get home from “work” until around 5am.

I’m writing this on the bus from KL to Penang but am probably starting to ramble…… I loved Georgetown when I was last there 15 years ago so I hope it hasn’t changed too much. From there we plan to go to Langkawi before heading back to Thailand ….. Need a few days on the beach to chill out for a bit!

Love and hugs to you all,

Kirsty and Mark

PS I hope I haven’t offended any of my gay or Indian friends with my stereotypical observations! Oh, or my hooker friends! ;o)

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