KL Notes

Our long weekend in KL was exceedingly pleasant but not particularly blogworthy. I’m just writing my notes here for future reference, but if you’re after more interesting stuff I promise to try and post my Pulau Ubin photo of a scary witch-face rock fairly soon.

Ate well: yummy chicken porridge on Jalan Alor, great pork ball noodles and poh piah on Jalan Imbi, the biggest otak piece I’ve ever seen in my life at Madam Kwan’s (thanks Benny!), sublimely moreish joo hoo char at Old China Cafe, fun at Kim Gary’s with Macau pork sandwiches (thanks to umami’s review) and boiled Coke with ginger, and last but by no means least, Nando’s. I know Nando’s isn’t particularly Malaysian but as far as I know there aren’t any branches in Singapore, and we like it lots.

Sightsaw slightly: Ogled the Petronas towers like everybody else, wandered from mass at St John’s cathedral past the Masjid Jamek (beautiful mosque, pity about the overwhelming smell of sewage) and Merdeka Square, then down the Petaling Street market crush where I found it laughable that anyone would actually buy anything.

Wall stencil graffiti of a skeletal beggar
Down the road from St John’s Cathedral

Shopped badly: like many other intense sensual experiences, this second shopping trip to Sungei Wang just didn’t live up to the first. Bought nothing worth mentioning.

Met up with Benny: for dinner and a trip back to his house, during which he illustrated a few of the differences between Malaysia and Singapore. “Eh, ‘dilarang masuk’ lah!” I said, as he blithely steered his car past a big DILARANG MASUK sign. “This is Malaysia lah!” Benny said, “The sign only means you shouldn’t enter, not that you cannot enter.”

Generally took things easy: Sleeping in hostels formerly used for housing refugees (Zagreb), backtracking from irrelevant bus stops along Polish highways in search of unpronounceably named salt mines and national parks, exploring the ruins of Ayutthaya on foot in the blazing sun – these things are for other holidays. In KL we take cabs, feel no compulsion to seek out “culturally enriching experiences”, and sleep till noon every day. Quite a refreshing way to holiday, once in a while.

Sibu Island Resort (Sibu Tengah Island, Malaysia)

I’ve been too stressed trying to juggle coursework, Alec, and other social commitments to write stuff down, which is a big pity because there’s been lots for the blogging. Let me try and claw some back. Here’s more about Sibu.

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I could find so little written about Sibu Tengah online and in guidebooks that I was a little worried about having booked us on a weekend there. I had alternate visions of a mosquito-ridden hellhole, or at the other end of the spectrum, a hermetically sealed Four Star Resort 101 with no real character of its own. Thankfully, both those fears were unfounded. We are neither militant backpackers nor cleanfreak kuniangs,¹ and Sibu Island Resort suited us just fine.

Well-maintained grounds (with deer and rabbits randomly running around!), clean and comfortable (even if not luxurious) chalets, and decent food meant that our creature comforts were satisfied enough. The staff are either totally brainwashed, brilliant actors, or genuinely like their jobs. We were greeted at the reception by the resident band singing a welcome song, and when we left, nearly 10 members of staff were at the jetty waving goodbye. Kinda cheesy, yes, but also rather endearing, and I like the idea of a place that would bother with stuff like that. In general, service was warm and largely efficient throughout our stay, and more than a few members of staff went beyond the bare bones of what was necessary to be helpful.

We snorkelled twice on the Saturday, once in the water just off the island itself, and once off Sibu Kukus, a small uninhabited island 30 minutes away by boat. I don’t know much about snorkelling, and I’m aware there must be much better snorkelling out there than at Sibu, but I had a great time. We saw lots of fish, often swimming right among schools of them, and gawked at huge violently purple anemones and other weird coral formations. Alec’s back is still peeling.

On Saturday night, the resort put on some sort of cultural performance cum games entertainment during dinner. Nothing that would knock your cultural socks off, but again, we were endeared by the sheer enthusiasm of the performances, which weren’t by a professional dance troupe but by members of staff. It turned out that one of our regular waiters was the chief choreographer.

During the games segment, men were getting pulled up on stage to see who was the best at copying sexy cha-cha moves for a prize. Alec had resolved to leave the area safely before this segment began, but was artfully distracted by yours truly into staying. “It’s all right,” he muttered desperately, “I’ll just avoid all eye contact and they won’t pick me,” upon which the MC started demanding the presence of “That handsome guy over there! Let’s have that handsome guy up here!” Alec sat tight and insisted he was ugly, but then the MC said “Maybe the pretty girl can convince him!” and I was far more susceptible to flattery since my dignity wasn’t on the line. I grinned broadly, patted him on his (sunburnt) back, and gave a thumbs-up to the MC. And so it was that Alec cha-cha’d.

As I said in my previous post, Sibu was great.

¹ Not defined in the Coxford Singlish Dictionary! It kind of means delicate squeamish girlies.


Was great, by the way.

Sibu at sunset

Wish I had time to write more about our weekend in Sibu, Alec’s adventures in Singapore, MY NEW IPOD MY NEW IPOD MY NEW IPOD THANK YOU ALEC, the joy that was White Chicks, and our plans for next week. But I don’t, unfortunately.

(So happy.)