flying solo in 2011

This is probably my most image-heavy post ever in my history of blogging. I can’t remember if I have ever posted anything else with as many pictures as this… though by standards of the online community, this isn’t much. But by my standards it is a record. I would rather write than post pictures simply because it takes less effort to write than to crop my pictures, choose which ones to post and then upload them here. It is a little tedious and I am very lazy, even if I know everyone prefers visuals. But tonight I don’t feel like ‘talking’ as much.

Twelve months in a year, fourteen cities including home, which I am sure you can spot from the pictures. It is that obvious.

Je suis fatigué.

just part of the crowd

Happy to be home. This is the nth time that I’m saying this, but it just hasn’t felt better to be home. This trip wore me out too much I think, that at this point I am physically as well as mentally drained, with not much time for anything else even though I do squeeze out the time on some days to blog because perhaps that helps me to feel a little bit more alive.

Pardon my incoherency. Haven’t been sleeping much at all in the whole of the last 2 weeks, and add on to that, bad quality of sleep on most nights, with the icing of the cake today when I sat through a 5.5-hour meeting, before hurrying to the airport. A touch of irony… the cab ride took me all of 1.5 hours, possibly one of the longest that I have ever been, then it was on to a flight that took about half of that time, then ending with another cab ride that took half the time of the flight. It’s good that the time keeps getting halved that way, or maybe I am just easily amused and seeking some sort of dry humour.

The flight was full of people travelling to Singapore, maybe also back from business trips to KL, because many seemed like they were part of that crowd, with some in business attire and carrying the tell-tale laptop bag, myself included except that since it was casual Friday, I didn’t really care to be in formal business wear even if I was supposed to be involved in a closing presentation meeting. My colleague wore a suit, but I couldn’t give 2 hoots.

So when the plane touched down, there was that mad rush of people to the arrival gates and for the taxi line. It was quite a terrible queue that was forming at T2, something I hadn’t seen in a long, long time. But it moves pretty fast though, so within 20 minutes I was zipping away from the airport towards home in a nice, comfortable cab.

I’m actually really tired now but yet still want to write. About nothing much in particular, I just thought I’d yak a bit here, and post a couple of pictures, possibly the ones I liked the best from the trip.

Last Sunday was an extremely hot day, but from the cool confines of Kinokuniya in KLCC, there was this really nice view of a fountain surrounded lush greenery with a backdrop of buildings in the perimeter. It was so hot outside that I thought I would melt in the heat, so I was really thankful for the airconditioning.

Then whilst I was in a cab that was stuck in a line waiting to get out of the mall area, I managed this picture of the Petronas twin towers. I didn’t get the chance to go up to the bridge but they still look really grand and magnificent from where I was, bathed in the bright sunlight, even if they probably just look like 2 steel structures gleaming in the sun. But at night, from a distance, they, together with the KL Tower, make a dazzling picture with their iridescence.

the distractions

Check this out, blueberry lassi! This was at the place that I had the awesome nasi briyani that made us all so full we felt like snoozing throughout the whole afternoon. And that was when we had an update meeting to conduct. But the lassi was nice and refreshing on a warm day, wasn’t overly sweet, and kind of tasted like blueberry yogurt. I love blueberries!

And on the occasional good-weather day when it isn’t gloomy with dark clouds shrouding the entire sky, we do get a pretty decent view from the lift lobby of the office. The thing is, the office is not exactly located on a very high floor, although at level 10, it’s the top floor of the block, and it helps that perhaps the cluster of buildings in which the office is at sits on a slightly higher terrain as compared to the rest of this. So for a few minutes each day, this natural masterpiece is able to just make me forget about some of the bad things, albeit just momentarily but that is surely better than nothing isn’t it.

apples and trees

First thing that came to my mind when I was this… or rather things, were Mulberry, and Twilight. Haha. Weird combination but that’s what the red apple reminded me of, the cover of the first book of the Twilight series, and then yep the Mulberry logo.

Did some unplanned but much-needed shopping during the weekend, as I sought reprieve from the humidity and scorching sunshine outside within the airconditioned walls of the malls. I walked from the hotel to the Petronas Twin Towers on Sunday morning and almost got fried even though it was just the morning sunlight. After 2 rounds of coffee and some food, plus a lot of shopping later, my tired body decided that I should go back to the hotel, to rest and then work, yes woe betide me. And the moment I stepped out of the mall, I seriously thought I was going to just vapourise… goodness. So the logical part of me went to the taxi counter and hired a cab to take me back to the hotel.

KLIA Express

Does this look familiar?

Last month when I visited Hong Kong, I travelled to and from the airport using their Airport Express, which is less than 30-minute ride and to me is one of the fastest and most convenient way to get out of and reach the airport. Of course it isn’t the cheapest, since you can always take one of the City Flyer buses that charge a fraction of the price (less than half) of the Airport Express train ticket. And if your hotel is located too far from the Airport Express stations, you may need to pay more for the connecting cab fare to get you to the hotel. 

So when I touched down at KLIA, I remembered that years back in 2007 when I was simiarly here for a business trip, I hopped onto the KLIA Express that took me from the airport to my then-hotel which was very nicely located at KL Sentral, so there wasn’t even a need for any connections. This time, I was putting up a different hotel (that I shall probably talk about another time if at all) so I needed a cab ride to the hotel, which wasn’t too bad since I arrived on a Sunday evening, and there wasn’t much traffic. Plus from KL Sentral, I could buy a taxi coupon at a flat fee (RM20) that took me to the hotel. The total trip costs just RM55. And the train ride is just about half an hour from the airport to KL Sentral. Again, I think it’s one of the most convenient, and in this case, economical way to get from the airport to the hotel, and perhaps vice versa. A trip on the cab direct from the airport can set you back by at least RM75 I think. Ok, it’s not really that much of a difference if you think of it, but if you’re going to factor in the possibility of traffic, then this can be an option for consideration.

Especially if you see the ill-maintained state of the train.

So within the 3-4 years since my last visit, I guess they have not done anything about the upholstery but just left it to wear and tear. As compared to Hong Kong’s Airport Express, it’s really a world of difference, with of course the HK version much cleaner and aesthetically-pleasing. Maybe living where I did and visiting some of the places I did have made me pampered, because I am used to seeing things being maintained in although not a tip-top, but at the very minimum, functional condition. It probably explains why I enjoy travelling to Tokyo so much because you probably won’t get much chances to see something in a state of disrepair like this. Then again, Tokyo and perhaps even Singapore, are but the exceptions in the many other cities where such occurrences are commonplace.

Life is just about amassing a wealth of experiences from going places, meeting people, and learning new things. Sometimes a lot of things are not what they seem on the surface, so it’s up to us to either live in a make-believe world of flowers and butterflies or accept the squalor and ugliness as an inevitable facet of life.

bus-ride

It was a relatively short ride on the bus. Actually it would have been considered long, about 40-45 minutes, but since it’s the AirBus that we’re talking about, I think it is short. Just sat in the seat and read the magazines in the seat pocket, drank an apple juice, closed my eyes for a short nap and then we were already landing.

It feels strange to be coming back here this time, compared to when I was here in Oct 2007. And honestly, I am experiencing quite a huge bout of stress right now.

The hotel room is pretty spartan if I were to take a comparison to before, but I suppose currently, I can only look forward and not back into the past, which has earned a page in my book of history. The city was filled with locals and tourists alike last evening when I headed out for a quick dinner, seemingly some kind of procession going on along the Bintang area. Whilst there, I could see the brightly-lit Petronas Towers sparkling against the dark canvas of the night sky, along with the illuminated shopping malls where throngs of shoppers filed in and out, enjoying the last of the weekend, or perhaps in the midst of an extended long weekend for some.

One of my friends is in Korea now on vacation, and my cousins’ family is taking a long holiday in the States. While I am apparently going to be toiling away here for these 2 weeks. Tomorrow is Vesak Day and guess what, yours truly will be working.

It hasn’t exactly been a very long day since I am supposed to be heading back to the hotel soon, IF we can get a taxi in this peak hour. But I am experiencing shoulder ache and my head is throbbing from stress. That’s what happens when you give me an overload of information with things that I feel I am not going to have sufficient time to complete. Sigh. I am not an over-achiever, and it just shows through.

I had a chicken murtabak for lunch today! Oh how sinful, but it has been eons since I last had a murtabak.