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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Far East Adventures

Petronas Towers and Us
Hong Kong Airport CLEAN!!
So this trip is so different from our motorcycle travels that we wanted to share our thoughts and experiences and many of our family and friends have asked for it as well. The first of which is the fact that the flight is in the order of 14000 kms,  divided into a 13 ½ flight to Hong Kong followed by a 3 ½ hr flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL). And contrary to what we all might think it is mostly over land as the plane flies north over BC, Alaska, Russia, and  China.

We were able to fly business class this time courtesy of our daughter and husband, and we began musing about how we were living in the air at 40000 ft for most of a day.  Our hats go off to the Air Canada/Malaysian Air staff in Hong Kong who linked our luggage through to KL without us having to exit the secure area or go through immigration. And our first impressions of the Chinese in Hong Kong was very professional and friendly. Wow! Why couldn't they do that from Nanaimo?? LOL
First morning in KL having coffee

Next we land in KL after midnight 2 days after leaving Canada, due to a 15 hr time difference over the Date line. Shannon and Jim were there to pick us up, and then an 1 hr drive to their place. You start to realize that KL is 4 million people and the distances are vast. And it was 31C with near 100% humidity after midnight.

Kings Palace
We got to bed right away since the 1 hr drive allowed us to chat and catch up somewhat and we then slept pretty well. Since Shannon is fitting in our visit, our son and daughter in laws visit as well as year end school visits, she was very busy but we were able to go to the King’s Palace, and the National Monument, then out for lunch, then to the kids school, an excellent ex-pat international school very close by them.

The next day we felt like we were on work experience as Jim took us to the PETRONAS Towers where we saw where he works, the unique bridge between the 2 towers, and the magnificent settings in downtown KL. Then we found our own way around for a quick lunch as Jim had to take out one of his departments for lunch, then we travelled back to their house in a monsoon rain. Wow, can it rain there at the drop of a hat.
Sandra and Shannon

 There are even apartments there that have their own private pools within a block of the towers.. And to add to the surreal experience we walked through the Mandarin Oriental hotel directly adjacent to the towers and the place where they lived for about 3 weeks. The kids got to know the hotel staff as they headed out and back from school each day. How they have put together this change in their life is nothing short of amazing. Shannon and her family have been writing a blog on their adaptation to life in KL which may be of interest to anyone thinking of doing an ex-pat move.

That evening Shannon wanted to prepare a traditional Christmas dinner ‘Smith’ style, with perogies which she made from Grandma Smith’s recipe, turkey and all the trimmings. It was superb.
International School and one of our grandsons

Apartments with small pools on decks

Off to bed so that we could get up and travel all the way to the LCC terminal at KLIA and board an Air Asia jet to Thailand where we’ll spend Christmas on the beach in Phuket. I think I am on Amazing Race!
Large Mosque in KL 

KLCC Christmas Decorations Yes they celebrate everything!

Rubber jogging track in KLCC park at base of Petronas towers

The Park at KLCC

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