Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

The view from my window

with 8 comments

This is my 4th visit to Kuala Lumpur. I wasn’t planning to come back and stay on this trip, but things in Medan, Indonesia were just too chaotic and the husband and I were on the verge of losing the plot.

While I certainly wouldn’t describe my experience as typical of anything, I think I would say to anyone that northern Sumatra is not for the faint of heart – make sure you have good, strong local connections before you arrive – or you may find yourself a sitting duck, especially if you are descended from fair skinned European stock – which some folks there equate with the proverbial golden goose. Not all mind you – not by far – most of the locals are extremely helpful and friendly. They don’t get many visitors, so they are genuinely happy to see you and will go out of their way to make sure your stay is enjoyable. Unfortunately our hotel was run by one of the more unscrupulous types, which proved rather a challenge – for both him and me… Sigh – in those sorts of battles there are no winners… grrr… So… instead of staying the planned 5 nights in Indonesia, we only stayed for two. And while the orang utans did not come out to play, we met up with several Tomas monkeys in the jungle… No – it was not a bad time – sometimes things just don’t go the way you hoped, so we decided to move on rather than deal with a frustrating situation – after all, we are on holiday.

So, now we are back in Kuala Lumpur. We made a last minute booking at one of those fading grand hotels that once was five star, but has since been surpassed by the newer, bigger, brighter kids and has been demoted to 3 stars. This is my favourite kind of hotel – not sure why – might have to do with the wooden doors and old fashioned touches. The restaurants are usually excellent as well.

We checked in and it seems that the less expensive class we booked had been oversold, so, if I didn’t mind, they would have to upgrade us to a junior executive room, if that was okay. And here we are. This is the view from the window as I type. And I was just complaining to my husband that in all the times we’ve been to KL, we’ve never taken a decent shot of the Petronas Towers…

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Written by Titirangi Storyteller

12/05/2011 at 3:42 am

8 Responses

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  1. Oh My. What happened in Indonesia that made you leave the country altogether. You should have gone to Bali.

    I too love those older hotels that were once the cutting edge. So much charm. Are those the tallest buildings in the country — and once the world — for 2 weeks or so?

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    Monica McLaughlin

    12/05/2011 at 4:06 am

  2. I was there for three days and wasted half my time trying to prevent myself from being fleeced over and over again. I’d pay for something and then when I got there be told there were taxes, entry fees, camera taxes, guide fees, entry fees… most of which seemed sort of logical until the amounts began fluctuating wildly (at one point they went from $550US to 50 Euros to about $2 US. Then, when I thought it was settled, someone else demanded $600US. It was getting difficult to be nice…) Different people had different things to say and I knew I was being scammed. It just wasn’t worth it to hang out and constantly battle the scammers. The main reason I went to Sumatra was to see the orangutans… the city of Medan I will write more about later… 3 days was really quite enough.

    Indonesia is huge and Bali was very far from Medan. It was a very cheap flight back to KL – plenty to do here on day trips out of the city. We’re off to have fun – not conquer the difficulties of being on your own in a remote corner of Indonesia.

    And it wasn’t all bad – it just wasn’t how we want to spend our holiday.

    The towers were the tallest buildings in the world for a few minutes – now they are not even the tallest buildings in KL. But they are so very beautiful lit up at night – and to have them just outside my window like that – breathtaking!

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  3. Wow. What a nightmare. In Egynp, Bali and Fiji, I too, I was continually approached by people who wanted to sell me things, but I have never experienced officials trying to tax and re-tax me.

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    Monica McLaughlin

    12/05/2011 at 6:09 am

    • We left before it became a real nightmare. As soon as I realised what we were in for on the day we arrived, I booked the flight out and cancelled the last three days of our planned stay. I did stay the second night though cos I was hoping to see at least a bit of the country and whilst the trip to the jungle did not result in seeing orang utans, we did have a nice ride through a lot of the northern area. And a great meal in a great local restaurant.

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  4. Sad how travel means gimme, gimme in so many locations. One can expect it in 3rd world nations, but they’ve been learning techniques so readily that we don’t have a chance. I realize that compared to their lives, we are filthy rich, but it doesn’t make for a fun vacation. I would do exactly as you did…quietly leave.

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    souldipper

    12/05/2011 at 1:36 pm

    • I figure it’s all part of the experience – and one goes into a very poor area like this with one’s eyes open… hopefully. Fortunately I was savvy enough to recognise the situation quickly (though that did not stop them from trying more and new techniques on us! Ha ha!)
      And it makes a good story. We are in a lovely hotel right now… not much to say about it that wouldn’t sound like bragging… ha ha…

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  5. What a beautiful shot of the towers. So sorry your plans went awry with all of the fleecing and money-grubbing. It seems, though, that everything turned out all right in the end as you ended up in a lovely hotel . . .

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    poietes

    22/05/2011 at 6:41 am

  6. I ened up with a couple of hundred shots of the towers at all times of day and in all sorts of weather conditions. What will I do with them all I wonder???

    Yes, it all turned out well – the KL hotel was simply splendid – a perfect stay, in fact. I’d go back to KL just so I could stay there again. It was the 1st time I think I have ever stayed on the 30th floor.

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