Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Malaysian Tyrst: The Spunky Rewind...

"8 RM for a free seat"- The animated bus-conductor recited.

"Yikes! What does that mean?"- I was naturally taken aback. That honestly didn't make even an infinitesimal bit of sense.
"You Indian?" - He investigated.
....I was taken aback! How did he manage to hit the Bulls eye with the first shot? And how was it relevant, at that point of time? 
I hesitantly nodded my head...I was clueless really.
The sluggish middle-aged conductor, dressed in a carrot-tinged uniform, found enough reasons to present a comforting chortle....
"No worries, the Wi Fi inside the bus is FREE..."- He giggled..."We love Indians...!"
And off we went deep- into the land of sky-scrapers, fashion, shopping, junketing, food and indulgence...the next couple of days would be as fascinating as ever...


Well, well well......the One Republic concert happening right at the heart of a city, did manage to draw us, the rock-star souls right across from the "Land of Unity in Diversity" to the land that has been aptly "baptized" as "Truly Asia".....yeah no points in guessing there, Malaysia. Everything was so DAMN unplanned in this trip that saw a preeminent reunion of sorts...the 3 metal-heads came along and hugged each other at the Kuala Lumpur Airport...Our first international hug.....Oh whatever!! 

The trip that was marked by a surge of glorious uncertainties, brainstorming blunders, late-night cancellations, mutual conflicts, rejected leaves and a few heart-breaks to round it off, did happen...FINALLY; it was meant to.

"It's our 3rd anniversary man"- Varun sounded livid at my untimely call.
"Dude, loads of bids to evaluate"- Atul sounded perturbed.
All I said was- "Masti, Food, Music, Cheap gadgets...." and disconnected the call....the next time we exchanged pleasantries was right here, at the KL Airport. True fanatics so as to say.

Honestly speaking, I had absolutely no hope, the delayed travel plans had completely screwed me up; the flight tickets and hotel booking seemed like "mission impossible" considering the fact that it was supposed to be "season-time" with respect to tourism in Malaysia. I hunted down the best travel agents in town, all I could get was a hefty hopping flight; that would, in effect consume a couple of days on it's own- a 8-hour-long-halt at Bangkok didn't seem to be a good idea at all, especially with the growing rush for "Visa on Arrival" ....it was going to be a tough tough exercise.

TRING! 
The unexpected phone call changed my perspective., and unfortunately, it was my boss' requisition who did the trick. "Try to find out the cheapest deal online for my next business meeting in Kuala Lumpur......" - He instructed.

TADAAA! 
A quick-fire round-trip booking was the "Eureka" moment...the alacritous cruise denting my credit card balance with a light-bump of INR 16,784; astonishing eh! I still remember my PNR number because it comprised of the essence of speed...symbolizing the seamless and hassle-free booking procedure: JYPH3G ...phew that was one speedy last minute call.

Anyway, coming back to the ride into the city that scripted magical memories....it was like a real-life-theater; quick change of the sets...brilliant backdrops, vibrant natural colors, the clear blue skies, fresh air and course....slowwwly intercepted by the tall, lanky edifices. We were pretty much into it, right from the very beginning...trying to figure out local dialects, food habits, dressing sense and of course, gaining some vitally important insights on the city-specific "idiosyncrasy" . Yes, we had to chalk out a distinct road-map and glad that we did it on the road itself...


"Here!! you get down....."- Our trance broke as the driver announced. Yes, as far as the vision could traverse, it was all about heights..the pinnacle, the loftiness...it was quite a challenge to track down the vertex of a concrete convergence. Anyway, Jalan Hang Lekiu, the Federal Territory of KL, was our "PIT-STOP", quite a central location that is, as our driver had earlier informed...pretty close to the Central Market, BBKLCC and of course the elusive Petronas Twin Towers.
Well, the "Jalan Hang saga" did manage to pose a few issues initially; the pool of variants presented through the common first name could be a bit capricious at times..few of them are Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Hang Jebat, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Jalan Hang ISAP. Never-mind, the well-defined demarcations & direction maps would always guide you to the right spot.


Arena group hotel, that's where the booking was done...very reasonable in their room tariff and extremely cordial in their reception; however the check-in time has been rooted to an untimely 2 PM local time. Who cares? The globetrotter instinct in us, propelled a premature explorer-centric-spree...
"Let's explore the local markets first...Selamat Datang and the local China market is pretty close by I guess; in-fact if time permits we can even head off to the Petronas towers...that should be a perfect Subh Arambh"- Varun sounded extremely enthusiastic then, he had always been like that...right from the University days. Not to forget, he was on an unpaid leave then...the  insouciant rockstar and vagabond-ish spirit in him, had over-powered the "target-hunter-centric" instinct.


Alright then; the luggage was safely deposited at the hotel reception and the early morning expedition began at the Jalan Petaling Street Market, Chinatown and of course, the world famous Bazaar Baru Chow Kit. It's a good time to tell you this: A Samaritan did manage to send across this message wide and clear...."Bargaining is an art, KL is absolutely the perfect ground to harvest your haggling skills".


Ahan...BANG ON! I mean; it's all about subtle voice modulations and capitalizing on your persistence...this art of "bargaining" and Atul, bro, take a bow...you are a legend. Well,the Malaysian bazaars would give you a glimpse of everything, absolutely everything....gadgets, clothes, shoes, watches, gift items, cooking ingredients, fancy incidentals; and yes of course if your treasure hunting spree is right up there, you might just excavate branded products at almost half of their tagged prices.


The Central Market, of course is legendary in it's own terms....it presents a wide variety of the conventional and of-course "not-so-conventional" form of Malaysian art, craft and hand-made "gems"; you can easily step in and spend a couple of days browsing through their traditional masterpieces. Grabbing a couple of memento's for your near and dear ones, won't be a bad idea either. BBKLCC is another spectacle...it's like a complete assortment of local and international brands, a hub that creates an over-lasting impression for sure. Once you are there, I think there're enough reasons to procure a complete bit of garment-stock for nearly the next couple of years....


"Phew...our hands are already overloaded bro...let's head back I guess...we need to have a good lunch before the show begins....."- Hmm, Atul was completely right with this one; a good bit of lunch was definitely on the cards. 
"Plenty of inspiration on the other side of the road, baby"- Yeaaah! Varun had quickly sighted those culinary hubs inviting the tired souls...of course, with extended arms. And off we went....


"Indian, Chinese, Australian, Singaporean, Malaysian....whatever you wanna have, Sir"- The Indian-looking steward offered with a pleasant smile.
"Whatever man...bring it on...BRING IT ON...."- I screamed out in ecstasy, too hungry to make a choice really....


3 Hours later....
"Duuuudeeee....this is unbelievable!!! "- I conjectured..... Jaw-dropping stuff to say the very least. We standing right at the center of the biggest amusement park in Asia...the majestic Sunway Lagoon. The 'Open Theater' at the Sunway Lagoon amusement zone was supposed to host the monumental "One Republic Concert" on the Halloween Night; dude. it sounded creepy alright....


Sunway Lagoon, one of the biggest architectural innovations that the world has ever seen, has the world's largest wave pool, measuring impressive 139,800 square feet...the humongous assortment really, it has the embedded "fun quotient" that has drawn visitors from different parts of the globe; to stroll in and enjoy the essence of life. I guess, the out-of-the-world, newfangled Scream Park was really the highlight of the evening...it granted us the best moments of our life. We laughed, we jumped, we screamed, we bumped...all we knew was - "Life is here....the moment is here, make the most of it". The dazzling "light-pool" scripting a virtual fairy tale seeped into us, the fairy tale that was far from being surreal...it was a myriad really, the myriad that not only shook us to the core, but made us dance in sync with the rhythm of life....to celebrate as if in homage to it's unscripted grace. The concert, was predictably psychedelic...but the "heart of the evening" was embedded in the mind-blowing medley begin sung in harmony with the thousands of fans who have accumulated at the "heart of KL" to commemorate the legends of rock music...the magical rendition would stay alive...forever.....


The day after was another fantastic one; the hangover of the last nights' melodious drama was still looming high as the lanky KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers unfurled their pulchritude. We had seen them in pictures, but the "pinch of reality" was as sweet as ever.....


"Get into the pose centric mood folks"- Atul was back in full form after the early morning refreshing breakfast...Indeed man!


"Yeah man....I wish I had a office right at the highest floor...Up there"- Varun was back to his ambitious self....he pointed RIGHT up to the top most tier of the LHS Tower..the perfect "Kodak moment" :D


It was of course, as they say, a picture perfect errand...gosh, so much of mind has gone into those "lifeless" patches of concrete to create such a towering piece of wonder; this is architectural brilliance personified. We felt so "meager" standing right in-front of the "twins". We kept hunting for the right "angles", her illuminated self hypnotized us. Period.


Next on course were the beautifully decorated Islamic arts museum that has attracted tourists from all over the world, the "rich" National museum and the monument" and last but not the least, the heritage-stitched Petaling street rich in retail, gourmet delights, the Maha Mariammam Temple and of course, enthusiastic people aiding us on course of a memorable climax of this short and sweet excursion.


"I guess it's time to head back"- Varun decided to step in as Atul seemed to be too engrossed in his ayam goreng kunyit and ikan pari adorned platter. I don't blame him either...a couple of days in a land of "extemporized completeness" was absolutely incomplete.


"Yeah, we do have a flight to catch folks"- I suddenly re-gained my senses...it was close to around 6 o' clock in the evening, just about 3 odd hours left for the journey to end....


"I wish I could stay back longer...infact, we didn't even have the time to cover the world famous Batu Caves, yaar"- Atul sounded disenchanted alright, whether that because of the ambrosial food or the time-constraints...it was hard to decipher.

"No worries, we'll be back soon..."- Varun voice resounded through the deserted "Cafe KL" ..."We'll be back pretty soon", He reasserted....


"But then, you know, our next trip should be a structured one...a very structured one indeed, we'll basically make an attempt to complete the circle, those untouched hubs, those unexplored avenues...let's quench our replenishing thirst *for more*"- I asserted. Let's take a *first hand look* at the discussion session that took place in phases there after. I haven't changed the informal tone so that you could grab a feeler; we have been shifting positions in terms of the questions shot and the queries resolved..it's a team-work at the end of the day.






And as you could sense through the conversation, we are DYING to fly back to the land which has re-incarnated our dripping spirits...to explore those un-covered zones, to "dig deeper" into the unknown territories, to meet new people, to indulge in the rich Malaysian aroma yet again...to relive the zest, to re-kindle the spunk....in short to add that "sense of completeness" to the ride. This is the driving force, ladies and gentlemen...

** I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with BlogAdda.com

** The images have all been clicked through my lens and are copyright protected. You can view the complete set out here.

* The cartoons and illustrations have also been created by me and shouldn't be copied or reproduced without permission...please click on the individual pictures for a better view of the text associated in the speech bubbles.
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