Tag Archives: KL

Luxe KL

There is so much going on at the moment, and so much to write about.

I had a really great time in KL, and was able to laugh and marvel at my ridiculous “jet-setting” lifestyle again. It also occurred to me that it won’t last forever, and that I need to appreciate my freedom right now.

This trip also provided the opportunity to think about my job and whether I want it to continue, and the benefits and challenges of the lifestyle of an ‘aid worker’. I think I will save those thoughts for another post. Although, I will simply say that weekends in KL fall clearly into the benefit category.

I finally bought sheets for my bed, and I think this was one of the best purchases I could have made. The best part was that it felt extravagant and luxurious, but actually wasn’t really, as two sheets and two pillowcases cost about AUD60 and I’d been fixated on how terrible my current sheets are for so long. Spending that kind of money isn’t exactly going to put off buying a house for another year. But of course, I also spent money on sushi, books, and a haircut which might cumulatively put off buying a house for another year, but that’s fine because I really don’t want to buy a house right now.

I stayed in an excellent guesthouse called number eight, which I recommend to everyone without reservation. It’s comfortable, clean, stylish and cheap. But if you are planning to stay in KL anytime soon book ahead because it’s popular.

I had a long wait at the airport on the day I left KL, and was shaken out of my KL-induced zen-state by the many Australians in transit. I don’t intend to complain about Australians, but when I see and hear Australians I notice their behaviour more acutely.

One incident that really shook me up (which might say more about my fragile state at 6.30am), was when a girl of about 14 had a moment in Starbucks. She was ordering a muffin and the Malaysian-Indian girl behind the counter asked her to repeat what she wanted, unclear of what flavour she’d asked for. The Australian girl misheard the Starbucks worker and started to panic. I was walking up to counter at the same time, and had heard the exchange, so piped up that the girl wanted a banana muffin, but it was too late, she burst in to tears and screamed “I don’t understand!!” An overreaction sure, but I guess she was probably just tired and intimidated and wasn’t very good at controlling her emotions. But what shocked me most was the reaction from her family. She ran to their table and was met by her parents’ shouting with absolute disgust, “what’s wrong with you?”, “what’s your problem?” Then a drink was spilled and the tension escalated. What that girl needed in that moment of panic and what she received from her parents were so fundamentally different. The tension escalated further until her mum told her to “get out of my sight, I can’t look at you right now”.

Again, I want to clarify that I’m not linking this incident to the Australian-ness of these people, just that because they were an Australian family I seemed to take the incident more personally (why? I don’t know. A question for another post, but probably the more interesting component of the story).

Maybe there is a history of this girl behaving this way, and her parents are frustrated and tired, and I don’t want to judge anyone’s reactions. Her parents are only human too. But it was sad to see a girl panic over something fairly minor and instead of receiving support from what would be her main support network she was told she was bad and that there was something wrong with her. It seemed sad that humans aren’t very good at understanding each other.

It was all just too much too much for 6.30am.

KL adventure sans laptop

I’m not so diligent that four days without posting is going to shock anyone, but I’d like to think you’re checking daily for updates, so I will save you the trouble. Tomorrow I am going to KL for four days, and….

I’m not taking my laptop.

I haven’t gone anywhere without it since I bought it a few months ago, but there is absolutely no reason for me to take it this time so I am forcing myself to leave it at home.

I doubt I will have anything so compelling to do that I will need to use an internet cafe, so I won’t be responding to emails either. My phone has roaming so if you need to contact me just call or text my regular Aceh number.

Holidays over

I got back to Banda earlier today and am back in the office already.

The strongest reminder of my brief and 100% brilliant trip to Australia is the extra squishiness of my belly thanks to a week-long binge of Christmas food.

Last night in KL we did a late night run to McDonald’s (instigated by self-confessed hippies who would usually sneer at those who enter the Golden Arches of Shame – but this is what a steady diet of fish and rice will do to a normally uptight hippie).

When I protested at being forced to order food I was reminded that I’d be sweating, pooing and vomiting food out as soon as I got back to Banda, so should eat as much McDonald’s as I could before then. I ate a red bean “prosperity” sundae and it was dee-lishus.

Even though you didn’t know it existed I would like to apologise for not posting my Christmas Mix before Christmas. I will put it back into the incubator for next year. I’m downloading some Christmas music today so with 363 days to mull it over (next year is a leap year don’t you know!), it’s sure to be smokin’.

Was greeted by an earthquake when I got off the plane this morning. It wasn’t that strong but the arrivals terminal looked like it wanted to fall over anyway. I’m guessing a group of determined people could push that building over if they cooperated.

My year in review using photos I forgot to post at the time

I’ll work in a vaguely reverse-chronological order.

November: Clara and Jesse by candlelight at Canai Mamak, Banda Aceh.

November: My personal mission statement realised. Found in a food court in KL, Malaysia.

September: Ryan Cook sleeping because he’s about a nano-second old, and exhausted. Shepparton.

End of July, maybe August: Kids posing for photos with weapons of war, Prishtina, Kosovo.

July: Ice Banana and Bum Bum. Subtle adult humour, Mostar, Bosnia.

July: Dinner by the Mostar bridge, Mostar, Bosnia.

July: My 45-minute tour of Dubrovnik and all I see is this surly American tourist, Croatia.

July: Oh dear, kitten will chop its head off, Istanbul, Turkey.

Easter: Abby and Chloe in the garden, Rushworth.

Easter: Chiara, Em and Abby rockin’ out, Rushworth.

Unsure of date (sometime after Paul got his new Mac):Marty and Sarah are cool for a brief moment. Lara’s house, Northcote.

Phew, now that they are out of my “to be posted” folder I can breeeath easy and move on to 2008! See you there!

The Interlude that didn’t end (getting back to the KL story)

The ‘brief’ interlude to my KL report lasted for over a week. So I will get back to it and show you a nifty picture from the Indonesian Embassy in KL.

The people lined up here are mostly Indonesian migrant workers who need new passports or updated documents. They get in there early in the morning (there is a queue at the front gate before the embassy opens) and stay there all day waiting to see someone. There is lots of food and drinks to keep everyone going for the day.

Fortunately the queue to get a visa to Indonesia is much shorter. You go there in the morning, hand in your papers and wads of cash and return three days later to pick up your passport that hopefully contains a shiny new visa inside. I won’t talk about how this almost didn’t happen for me because this dull post will become even more so.

Actually, in that respect this post captures the feeling of standing in the visa queue perfectly.