These small images link to photographs found in my currently-active Flickr album.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Exchange

Day 114 - We bought a little taka by giving some ringgits today. It's always nice to have a bit of local cash in one's pocket when landing at an airport. Don't let all the zeros fool you; we didn't strike it rich. One thousand Bangladeshi taka is worth a bit less than twelve US bucks.

Some Taka for Our Trip

Our flight from KUL is supposed to depart at 8:30 am. I am not very confident that Malindo Air is punctual. When buying tickets, that time of day sounded like a reasonable hour. Just now we calculated and had to set the alarm for 4:15 in the morning! At least we get in early. After the four hour flight it'll be 10:30 am in Dhaka.

We go for one week and return to Malaysia for a final remaining month of our winter.


Friday, February 21, 2020

Could You Be a Little More Specific, Please?

Day 113 - I am getting the new PC up and running optimally.

Could you be a bit more specific?


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Imported Apples and Shirts

Day 112 - A lot of things are grown and manufactured in Malaysia. Of course, as everywhere, many other things are imported. When we were out today, I happened to snap two pictures of things for sale.

Firstly, the apples were in the Lulu Hypermarket. That's where we do a majority of our grocery shopping. I noted the Gala apples came from Chelan in Washington State. I've seen WA apples in just about every place on earth. Secondly, I ran up to the second floor in one of the MYDIN Department Stores to take the other photo. Jay found one of these made-in-Indonesia shirts he liked. We thought the price was going to be, as the sign suggested. However that only applied to the initial part of the rack. The one Jay brought down to the cashier was double that price. I took the photo to show her. An associate then ran to change the sign rather than the price of the shirt we had taken to the checkout. LOL

Chelan Apples in Kuala Lumpur Shirts


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

My New PC and Our Old Travel Notebook

23.6" and 13.3"

Day 111 - Maybe I needn't have bothered buying new eye glasses a few weeks ago. I just needed to get a bigger computer!

Today, Jay and I went to pick up a new all-in-one computer. I did a lot of online research and learned I'd save quite a lot by buying equipment here and then taking it home in the spring. Some of the money saved went into procuring better specs. Windows 10 seems to love having 32 GB of RAM. Also, booting from an SSD is something quite necessary nowadays too.

I bought the Acer Aspire Z 24 online through Tech Hypermart as they had great reviews and a copious selection. The main outlet is just a little storefront down in Puchong. We'd never really been to the area which is around halfway to the airport. We took the SP LRT from the Majid Jemak Station and rode for around 40 minutes south. Our tickets were US $1.03 each.

The SP LRT Line

Heading Towards Putra Heights

IOI Puchong Jaya LRT station

The process was simple. I'd already paid by credit card, so the staff un-boxed and showed me the specs through the 'Windows System Information'. Another sales girl printed the receipt and we were ready to roll back to downtown KL.

However, the box was a little big, so I summoned a Grab ride-share. It took us nearly as long to return. Although there were fewer stops than the train, traffic and a few traffic lights slowed us down. Still, all kinds of transportation seems cheap in Malaysia. We came more than 20 or 25 kilometers for less than US $7. Okay, I guess getting around was even cheaper in Sri Lanka.

Yay! I love setting up a new computer. I'm typing on it now as getting up to speed is easier than ever with today's software.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

OK Boomer

Day 110 - We've been 'round the world many times over and travelled light. A backpack was often enough. Lately, however, I find that we're travelling heavier and heavier. Well, in my case, personally, but also our bags now seem to contain an awful lot. I can make excuses that the duration of our trips is considerably longer than in the past but circumstances change too. For example, on recent Holland America cruises, we've felt it necessary to pack suits and ties for ship gala nights.

My luggage has always been the cheapest thing in the market. I took pride in that fact. I couldn't get my head around the fact a piece of luggage could cost more than an airline ticket to a different continent. So, last spring, when leaving Malaysia, I picked up another cheap 28" hardshell. It cost the equivalent US $33.

We didn't take it to New Hampshire in May as we took just backpacks. However, that bag did go on both our Alaskan and New England cruises last summer and fall. In November, it returned to Malaysia on our stopover. After that, the same bag landed on the Sri Lankan luggage carousel with a cracked corner. Damn! When we left a few weeks ago, we did pack it full of stuff and returned to Kuala Lumpur. The crack didn't get any larger; however, the writing was on the wall. I gifted the broken item to Jay's elder sister and she managed to get the poor thing back to Sri Lanka. However, I hear it now has a broken wheel too. I used to boast that it was my first suitcase with eight.

Zipperless

I had to search for another 28" bag and feel as though I learned my lesson about going cheap. I do not like the construction of nearly all of the hardshell ones because a little zipper is the only thing holding it all together. That's a tremendous point of stress when it's filled with 30 kilograms of junk and being thrown about by airport staff.

This big bag had a sticker boasting it was unbreakable. It cost more than I ever remember spending on luggage during my whole life. It also was on a remarkable sale at 70% off. I paid over US $102! I like the fact it has latches and a seal. It remains to be seen whether it was worth spending the extra or not. I did run and buy a matching carry-on, my first of that category ever. I paid almost as much for one-third the amount of plastic.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Hanging Around the Maytower

The MaytowerDay 109 - We didn't venture far from our apartment today. In the morning, we did do a little shopping to prepare for next week in Dhaka. We bought a few travel-sized toiletries and some munchies for the flights.

It seems as though Malindo Air has already made some changes to our itineraries. Rather than flying back to KUL at around noon, we'll be departing from Bangladesh at midnight. I hate short-haul night flights! This was not really a welcome change, but hey ... our schedules are pretty open ... for the rest of our lives! No need to sweat the small details.

We went out for a walk in the evening just for a little exercise. There are several new buildings coming up in the area around the Capsquare / Jakel Mall. I wonder how much they'll go for?

It was hot and muggy today, but still a lot easier to get out and about than in a wintery location. That being said, this evening, I can see we are well below our usual number of daily steps on my MiBand. We didn't hit our absolute minimum of five kilometers.

In Front of Hanifa's


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sunday Morning Shopping

Day 108 - Although the free bus to Bukit Bintang wouldn't have cost a thing, I requested a rideshare Grab car. It seemed worth RM 7 (US $1.69) to quickly and easily go over to the famous, enormous electronics mall.

The Electronics Mall Low Yat

My goal was to see if I could find the phone repair shop, I'd learned about on Google. I had contacted Cell Care via WhatsApp and in a conversation, they said they'd change my OnePlus 6 battery for RM 85. My phone is a couple of years old. I'm thankful for the Dash quick charging as my battery runs down in 4 or 5 hours now; whereas, it used to go a whole day when new. This phone is sealed and I could tell the guy didn't really want to go through the hassle. If he was so quick to give up the potential business, I knew it'd be best if I didn't let him do the work.

The mall has many storeys, but we didn't make it past the second floor. There really can be too much of a good thing! The only other goal inside was to find an Acer computer dealer, so I could check out an Aspire Z 24 All-in-One in person. I already ordered one via an online store yesterday and wanted to confirm I'd made the right choice. Wow! They look pretty gargantuan because I've been writing on a tiny 13.3" notebook screen since last November. I think I'm going to like having all those HD pixels.

Where's the Monorail?

It was nice to be out on a beautiful Sunday morning. There are areas on the other side of Bukit Ananas which we don't see as often. Central Kuala Lumpur is not really that big. A hill makes it seem further to that area than it really is. One needs to get around the green hill of Bukit Nanas.

Bukit Bintang

We did take the purple line back to 'our' side of the city. After the quiet area near Low Yat Plaza, it seemed jam-packed. Our side was full of ex-pat workers, mostly from Nepal and Bangladesh. They were off from work and were buying things to send home. I love Sundays because this part of downtown is teeming with such activity.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

In the City

KL

Day 107 - Of course, I never fell out of love with Kuala Lumpur. However, walking around on a Saturday has made this feel like home again.

It seems there's always an event going on a Merdeka Square on a weekend. There's a diverse energy one can feel in the air. It is open and alive. And today that included some sort of hobbyist radio-controlled car racing. Interestingly, I could smell the nitro fuel, so the entire world hasn't gone electric, I guess. I hadn't thought about a little, fueled dune-buggy I had as a teenager in ever-so-long. You know, the ones with the little glow plugs. It was the smell that segued me into those thoughts. They say that the sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses.

Merdeka Square

RC Car Racing

It is so easy to pop out of our building and into the city. You can say what you want about the necessity of nature; I still need the activity of an urban environment. Kuala Lumpur, in particular, currently fulfills my needs.

Shopping on the Way


Friday, February 14, 2020

If It's 33°C, a Shower's OK.

Day 106 - It's a little strange I like the rain so much here. It is odd because one of the reasons we run away from Vancouver during wintertime is in a bid to escape the deluge. Granted near coastal BC, it rains for a better part of the five months we're typically away.

An Evening Thunderstorm

Here though, rain can be somewhat more exciting. Tropical thunderstorms are often intense. I think it is the show-like aspect that I enjoy. We only had a little rain on the first day we got to Malaysia. It was very bright during the time Jay's sisters were visiting.

Finally, this afternoon we had two showers. Earlier than usual, at around two o'clock, it rained hard for a few minutes. Then, just now as we'd decided to go to the supermarket the thunder rumbled and it started to pour. We were already downstairs and waited for a while for it to let up. It didn't. After seeing that it was not over after twenty minutes, we came back up to the eighteenth floor. It was less humid because of the A/C in our apartment.

Eventually, we did make it over to the supermarket. I cannot say the weather-related interruption bothered me. I find showers less annoying than the constant grey clouds which tend to settle over Vancouver for months on end.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dhaka, Not Dakar

Day 105 - One morning, during the spring of 1971, I remember a teacher mentioning that a new country had come into existence that day. I was just 11 years old.

Dhaka

Today we booked airline tickets to visit it. Jay and I have stopped at many cities in SE Asia, so we must go a little west. Dhaka, Bangladesh is a place we've never seen. Getting to Dhaka is a four-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur. We'll stay for just one week and return on February 1st for our remaining month in Malaysia.

I was beginning to worry as I've not added a new country to this Flickr Group for a while. At present, it contains a single photo from each of the 72 countries and territories in which I've lived or visited. After this trip, I can add another.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Free Downtown Bus Loops

If it's pink, it's free.

Life's Outside

Thanks for the Lift, GoKL

Day 104 - Today, for lack of anything else better to do, we hopped on a GoKL bus. One route of the five, free downtown bus loops stops almost directly in front of the Maytower. How convenient for us! We decided we did not really know the purple route but in order to pick it up, we had to climb aboard our blue loop and exchange at Bukit Bintang. We got on a purple and noted it progresses back towards our end of town. By the time we got to the Bangkok Bank area, we decided to simply walk back to the Maytower. We can catch a purple from there should we want to explore the entire purple route.

Then, after getting back home, we discovered an entire orange route was added last year. We've not been on it although Internet comments say it is more designed for locals as it hits government offices rather than tourist spots.

I respect a transportation system designed with free access in downtown areas. If it's easy to board and get around a central zone, people will be more likely to take longer-haul transit to the area. This is simply another reason why I feel more at home in Kuala Lumpur than in many other cities.

KL is Green Year-round


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Two-Foot Screen?

Day 103 - Today, I went out to see the electronic malls that were close to the Masjid Jemak area. Most have switched from full-on computers and electronics to selling mostly mobile phone related accessories. I do need to change the battery in my OnePlus 6 as it's getting on in years. I wasn't too serious about having it changed today. So, it looks as if I'm going to have to go over to the famous Low Yat Plaza, if I'm serious about shopping for equipment here.

Shopping for a New PC to Take Home

When we left Vancouver at the beginning of November, I'd already decided it would be time to pick up a new home laptop when returning. The little travel Asus I'm typing on is fine and fast because of its SSD, but the screen is small so it'll easily fit in a backpack. Now, 17.3-inch laptops seem a bit rare. Most new PCs are apparently getting smaller and smaller. At home, I might as well buck industry trends and get one with more pixel real estate.

Malaysia is a good place to buy equipment. I was almost set to buy a gaming laptop this week and then it dawned on me that perhaps an all-in-one would be a better choice. There's not much to move even if it'll primarily sit on our dining table. At least they come in larger screen sizes. Now, I'm wondering if 24" is too big. It's hard to picture one in the intended location in New Westminster.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Jay's Sisters Returned via Sri Lankan Air

KUL

Day 102 - We went with Jay's sisters to the airport today. KUL is almost 60 km (37 miles) from downtown, so we got a larger Grab rideshare car with enough space for the 60 kilos of checked luggage! As their return flight was on Sri Lankan Air, we had to go to KLIA 1. Check-in started exactly three hours before departure time.

As we've all been hanging out since the beginning of November, it was sad to see them head towards Malaysian immigration and towards the train to the outer terminal.

Jay and I returned to the Maytower in time for lunch. Later in the evening, we got the call that all was well. Their flight had gotten into Columbo about twenty minutes early.

It seems really quiet around here.


Sunday, February 09, 2020

They've Sixty Kilos of Luggage Between Them

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Day 101 - It's been really nice showing Jay's sisters around Kuala Lumpur. I'm glad that Jay has had the chance to provide this experience for them. Jay's younger sister was once here on a brief tour through Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Jay's elder sister had never had a passport nor flown in a jet.

This picture was taken yesterday at the Batu Cave. Today they are packing. Ten days have not seemed like enough time. They have a lot to take back to Sri Lanka on tomorrow's flight. We'll ride with them to the airport late tomorrow morning. As the flight is not until the afternoon, there'll be no need to get up early.


Saturday, February 08, 2020

Batu Caves for Thaipusam 2020 / KL Night Fountain

Day 100 - This marks the centennial day of this season's winter escape from Vancouver. The days are rolling by quickly. It's hard to imagine that we got to Malaysia a week ago yesterday from Sri Lanka. It's even tougher knowing that Jay's sisters will be returning there in just a few short days. We get to stick around until the first week of April.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Today was an excellent chance to visit the Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! We saw the Hindu festival in Penang one winter and last year we were here. Jay went with his sisters earlier in the week, before the crowds. So, today we will call our visit Thaipusam Lite. We took a Grab rideshare both ways, but of course, the traffic was a mess with a few roads closed off completely and others choked with traffic.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

We joined the throngs and got in the main gate. It was a hot 34°C in the midday sun. There were lots of vendors selling food and all sorts of items. Of course, being a pilgrimage for about 1.5 million, there were places to get free food and drinks too.

It took us quite a bit of time to get the ride back to the Maytower. So many roads were blocked, we ended up walking a few kilometers to a location where drivers would have a chance to find us and pick us up. It cost more for the ride back as the algorithms of the Grab servers took note of the crowded conditions. We came back via a toll road and I think the total was RM 22 (around $US 5.30).

Was Going to Post Live But Forgot

Jay was waiting for his paper dosa.Later after Jay's lunch, we took a bit of rest. Actually, I think the ladies went out for a bit more shopping. I'm glad that Sri Lankan Airlines offers 30 kilograms of free luggage as they are collecting more than what we've ever travelled with. It's normal practice for tourists and businessmen to return from Kuala Lumpur with loads of purchases.

Even later, for dinner, we enjoyed paper dosas at a restaurant that is really nearby. We generally get takeaway from this place. As Jay's sisters noted, everybody always seems to be eating here. Malaysia is such a foodie place with its blend of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cooking! The locals take their cuisine quite seriously here.

We walked to see the "River of Life" fountain which starts between 9:15 and 9:30 pm. It is right in front of the Masjid Jemak mosque and at the very point where the Klang and Gombak Rivers meet. This is the historic center of the city. The restoration project has made the area nicer. I do hope that maintenance of the installations is carried out regularly.

Greetings from the Confluence

I Heart KL

The fountains and lights were choreographed to music. Several Malay throaty ballards started the program off and they reminded me of Egyptian female legend, Umm Kulthum. There was a big variety of musical styles. Of course, I thought the original Star Wars Theme was the most awesome.

Today was nice; I am a lucky guy.


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