Tuesday, July 5, 2011

KL fragments - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

- An ad sign at Suria-KLCC reads: "Download tomorrow's edition of the New Strait Times today at 9pm!" Tomorrow's news today at 9pm? Those guys are not journalists, they're fortune tellers! It might not be a great newspaper but its horoscope section must not be bad at all...

- Does a real VIP need to have a "VIP" sticker attached to the windscreen of his car?

- I come back to KL two months after the last time I was here and: a popular fitness club is closed, my favorite Cantonese restaurant is closed and replaced by a Taiwanese dessert place, a very popular backpackers lodge has closed down, the Italian restaurant where I used to buy my take-away pizzas is closed for renovation, other bars and restaurants in Bukit Bintang don't exist anymore, and the same thing happened to some shops in the shopping malls downtown. This is not dynamism...this is cheating!

- A sign stuck to the window of the KLIA express train reads: "Thanks for keeping your feet and luggage off the seat" How nice, they don't forbid it...they just thank you for not doing it! You're welcome!

- Typical life cycle phases of a restaurant at Changkat Bukit Bintang: 1. simple and full; 2. closed for renovation works; 3. fancy and half-empty with a pushy and annoying waiter chasing customers on the sidewalk; 4. closed for good.

- Illegal street vendors at Bukit Bintang laugh and help each other with their bags when they are chased by the police. When I saw a similar scene at Rialto bridge in Venice the fugitives were panicking and the policemen were confiscating their goods.

- Two models are posing behind a shop window at Suria-KLCC. People are taking turns to take pictures of those beauties. I take pictures of them all.

- The waiters of a Jalan Alor restaurant wear plastic bags on their heads to protect themselves from the rain.

- Dozens of immigrants hang around Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor selling folding wooden baskets. It's a mistery.

- When asked by the organizers of the modeling contest what she would like to change about herself, one of the girls answers that she has already identified and removed an unwanted aspect of her character. Being the this the only one that she had one should deduce that there aren't any others left, which means that she basically is a perfect person.

- A taxi driver tells me that some cabs at night are driven by part time, improvised drivers on the hunt for tourists to rip off. He heard one of them boasting about charging an American sailor 300 dollars to go from KLCC to a hotel nearby, by taking a long, obviously unasked detour around the state of Selangor. Another one confided to my driver that he makes 1000 ringgit a day on average, when this guy, working 10 hours a day, can barely make 100. And because of few people like this KL taxi drivers (including himself) have the reputation of cheaters among foreign tourists.

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