Tag Archive: flying

Kuala Lumpur Overview

I had a terrible flight into KL. But that’s not about KL, it’s a whole different story. There is a longggg walk to airport from the airplane, and really lax immigration (my guy was on the phone the whole time). I would suggest booking your tickets into KL in advance, as buying them there is a bit strange. I booked my ticket though AirAsia going to KL Sentral but my boyfriend went before me and said to just get off the bus at Purdyura Bus Terminal. I asked if my bus stopped at both, they said no. I had to go in though domestic arrivals to buy a ticket (past police!, but they seemed to think it was standard) which cost 8 ringgits (2.5 USD). You might hear that Star Shuttle leaves every 30 minutes, and maybe they do during the day, but from 11:00 to 12:00 (midnight) there aren’t any. I bought my ticket at 11:03. Sad days. At least the airport has free wifi. You need to connect then open a web browser and click ‘search’ or something like that.

In the morning we went to the Batu Caves.

After visiting the Batu Caves we went to KLCC (KL City Center) which is where the Petronas Towers are.

After KLCC we walked about half an hour to Times Square, which is a mall/hotel/amusement park (they have Borders which I thought was out of business) that currently has a raffle going on until September 29th, 2013 to celebrate 10 years of being open. I thought by the name ‘Times Square’ it would be outside, like a park inside of a building and the building have the mall, but nope. To enter the contest you have to spend 50 ringgits in one receipt and then you can get a capsule from the world’s largest capsule vending machine! It was on break when we got there. They allow 80 people to try from 12pm and 70 people to try from 5pm. Oh well. It’s always fun to explore a city on foot even if they don’t really want you to–half the walk ways have no sidewalks.

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From here we got food in the Bukit Bintang area (the heart of the Golden Triangle), which is mostly Chinese. This area has a lot going on at night. My asparagus with prawns had surprise mystery meat in it (I think some sort of pig), which for a vegetarian is sad, but for someone who lives in Asia, not surprising. We came back to this area for dinner the next day and everyone’s food was great–we shared a large ‘de-boned’ fish cooked in salt and pepper sauce (surprise! it was fried, and had two bones) and I also got asparagus again because we don’t have it in Korea! This time no surprise mystery meat, just cooked in garlic.

On our way back from Bukit Bintang in the afternoon we went to Central Market and Chinatown.

In the morning we went to a Chinese Temple called Guan Di Temple which was built in 1888. Guan Di is the God of War, however the temple also has the Goddess of Mercy, God of Prosperity and God of Education and Learning inside. There are many dragons, 2 protective warriors, and 4 protective creatures outside the temple. If you’re not a fan of incense you won’t last inside too long (like myself).

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Across the street is an Indian Temple called Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, built in 1873. It was made public in the 1920s. Many gods are celebrated here. It is much more popular to go to than Guan Di Temple. I could hear prayers and chants from Sri Maham Mariamman from my hostel roof, 2 buildings away. Intense.

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After this we walked across the river going to another touristy area of Merdeka Square, where Malaysia claimed their independence in 1957. Coming from the south east, you will go past the textile house which is a very beautiful building, done in red and white in Islamic style. To the east is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which has housed many things, but most importantly houses the most photographed clock tower in Malaysia. That was a big enough deal on the sign for them to write it. It is nice. We tried to walk to Masjid Jamek, a working Mosque but were turned away because we were wearing shorts. It seemed very beautiful.

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Walking back towards the square, we stopped at the fountain sculptures which have a lot of homeless people around them. Going back towards the square, we walked past The Royal Selangor Club which is a traditional British building; it has a Long Bar inside which only allows men. From here we reached the Flag Pole which is 100 meters high. Continuing along we came to the I ❤ KL sign which is outside the City Gallery. They had some great new photos, which I think you could vote for using your phone, and a 50 ft wide model of what the city will look like by 2015, when they plan on finishing a taller building than the Petronas towers. The model did night and day and had a tourism video playing in the background. I wasn’t listening too much as I was just trying to get photos of the model before the lights changed. Other than that, the City Gallery sells souvenirs. I got a free phone key-chain for liking the facebook page.

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This was when we really started to have problems. We thought to walk to the National Monument. This is a popular bike route, and we could see why after we started it. There is no where to buy water or snacks and it is HOT in KL. Not humid though, so it felt better than Korea. According to GoogleMaps, the walk is 1.9km, and should take 25 minutes. When you only have warm water and have already been walking all day, this is a lot and feels a lot longer. Now I feel like we were just complaining. The walk is surrounded by park, so at least it is not bad scenery, if you don’t look into the stagnant pond. We ran into this same problem of no water or food shops again when we walked though the Perdana Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Museums and around the KTMB HQ. There could just be guys selling water or other drinks from stands and this problem would be solved.

The National Monument is interesting….Men celebrating on a pile of dead bodies. The area around it is beautiful with other statues and 3 domes.

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From here we walked though the Perdana Botanic Gardens,Parks, and Museums–which is just a large park with many different areas. Waterfalls are not all as they appear on signs (small and man-made). The Amphitheater is huge, as is the Bird Park but we didn’t want to go into the Bird Park and nothing was on in the Amphitheater. The Orchid Garden is beautiful and free. They have many different kinds from all over Malaysia, which has over 200 different species of orchids. I guess they don’t have (or I didn’t see) my favorite which is a spider orchid (and which my parents also found randomly growing in the backyard in Florida).

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Continuing in the park, we went past the Planatarium which had at least 3 mini traditional and famous time keeping devices/buildings/structures from China (not sure), England (Stonehendge) and India (Jantar Mantar). We got to touch them! Finally!

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After more walking, getting lost looking for food, realizing where we were, getting food, and going back to the National Mosque it was 2:45 which was prefect for going in at 3:00. There was a bit of a line but we still made it in the first group in–they did run out of covers for men and women. Covers are necessary if a woman shows her legs (they have different covers which are just head scarves for little girls) or if a man’s shorts are above his knees. There was a lot of information inside and the man telling people about the temple seemed so happy to be doing so. From the roof, there are 16 funnels for water, which lead to one in the main prayer room which cleans water for the washing before and after prayer. Woman are not allowed into the main prayer room. The building can hold 1,500 people for prayer time. There was also a few informative posters, including one showing that Mohammed is basically Jesus’ cousin, which included the Muslim names for the same people that Christians believe in (Adam was still Adam but Eve had another time). There are some tombs in the back, with 3 empty spots.

KL 587Overall, KL has some steps to take in cleanliness and homelessness, but the touristy areas are pretty clean and taken care of. Walking is not suggested (but I’d do it again because that is the best way to explore!) as some places don’t have sidewalks and there are no posted maps or tourism signs to help you find your way.


Delhi Airport

I thought I’d never like any airport less than JFK because JFK has no seats. Well, it has some, but never though for everyone, or even half of everyone.

When I got to the airport I had to go though some sort of security just to enter so the airport would not be packed. Only those flying may enter, I guess. The guy would not let me in with one page of my Orbitz updated confirmation because it didn’t have my name. I had to pull out the original which did and then he said I was too early. No, the flight time changed, that’s why I showed him updated….fair enough it didn’t have my name, but it had the wrong times.

When I checked in I asked about changing currency and they said I could after I went though immigration. Fair enough, I didn’t see any outside anyway. Oh, as I was checking in 2 employees were yelling a personal conversation over the guy who was checking me in. I couldn’t understand, but by the looks on their faces and my agents face, it seemed like something upsetting to them, and something he didn’t want yelled at him from both sides when he’s not involved.

At immigration the guy was annoyed my passport would not scan. That’s what the numbers are for. If it doesn’t scan, type the numbers. Don’t be lazy and give me a dirty look.

At security I was hasseled for a bag tag that the airline gave me at check in. I also had to switch lines because of sexist security. Why are certain machines for men and certain machines for woman? Does that matter? After I switched for 5 minutes I was told I could go back to my original line because they opened up the womens line there. As I started to walk though another woman ran though. You can’t run though the gate, nor can you go though at the same time as someone else. So confused by her. Didn’t say a word to me and when we reentered she got to go first.

Once past everything, I was told I had to change money before immigration. So I was left with about $50 in rupees. Good thing I was able to exchange in Shanghai.

A bit confusing to find your way around as well.

Shanghai in 8 hours

On my way to India, I had a layover from 12:55pm to 8:30pm–taking the time to get out of the airport and to where my friend wanted to meet plus the time to get back to the airport and the 2 hours to check in….it was really from 2:50pm to 6:30pm, and 3 hours and 40 minutes in Shanghai.

You CAN leave the airport in Shanghai if you are from certain countries if you have a layover that is less than 48/72 hours–if it’s longer I’d imagine you went there on purpose…really after 12 I think you’re there on purpose but on my way back it was 22 hours to make the flights super cheap. You can’t be coming from Hong Kong, stay in Shanghai for 48 hours and then go back to Hong Kong, have to go somewhere else so its really a layover and not a short trip. I don’t understand why the government doesn’t promote this more, since it really is just a great way for the country to make some tourism money. I’m not sure why else it exists.

Anyway, after you leave the airport, you can get on the metro easily and go anywhere! Both airports are on the green line and I went to Jing’an Temple to meet my friend (another English teacher) as she lives near there.  This took about an hour. At the airport stop (at least at mine, Pudong International) there are some weird decorations to let you know you’re in China. They were all in bad lighting, so my flash always popped up.

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Once getting off I could see that China was still all decked out for the Lunar New Year

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We went to lunch at Din Tai Fung which is famous from dumplings so we got the Mushroom ones and the Vegetable ones. My friend is a meat eater and said she liked the Mushroom ones because they were more ‘meat like’. We also got the most popular side dish which was sauteed greens in garlic. So good. There is a reason it’s the most popular. Service was a bit odd as we got everything separate, but it was busy. They have soy sauce and vinegar on the table for you to mix, and deliver very pretty ginger for you to use in your mix as well. You can watch the dumplings being made, but I’m not sure how anyone would know which are theirs.

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After that we walked though new Shanghai which is filled with sky scrapers. There was also a knock off market. I was quite surprised at how people just yelled what they were selling at you. We didn’t buy anything, but we went back on my return layover.

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We ended up at Peoples Square where parents advertise their unmarried ‘old’ children for wed. I put old in quotes because by American/Western standards they are not old, only about 25. The signs will list their age, height, likes and dislikes and other parents will make notes of things to show their children. I don’t think I saw any of the kids actually there. There is a separate area for people who are willing to accept non-Chinese nationalities.

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There is also an amusement park with some really unsafe looking rides…

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And of course Cherry Blossoms!

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Next we decided to walk to the waterfront to see the skyline. While we were walking it started to rain, but hardly enough to need an umbrella, but of course everyone pulled them out. I have a horrible fear of getting hit in the ey by an umbrella.

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When we got to the waterfront I remembered being there when I was 16 and we did a boat cruise. I was hoping my mom could go though those old pictures (not on my computer) and find one of me in Shanghai but she couldn’t. I guess I didn’t take many pictures of myself on the trip and relied on others, but if we had shared them, they would have sent them and we would have saved them, right?

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Realistically, the photos below was the only reminder that I was in fact, in China which is a ‘communist’ country.

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Next was the subway back to the airport, where my friend told me that I had, realistically, seen all of new Shanghai in one day–less than that!