Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Darth Vaders

At breakfast in our hotel we were surrounded by women dressed like this. We saw them often in the street. It is very hot in Middle Eastern countries and Malaysia is apparently 'cooler'. I am pleased they don't come to Melbourne for our winter. We stayed in a tourist area and so did they. They like Malaysia because most of the food in KL is halal.

While at home if I see one I stare at them hoping my eyes tell them that because of the form of dress, they are not welcome in Australia, it was the opposite in KL. I did not look at them but took them in in peripheral vision and in passing glances. But I looked enough to see them staring at us. Apparently ugly old white men are of interest to them.

By now, you will have picked up that I am not keen on their dress. I had been almost convinced that they prefer to dress like this for reasons of modesty. After observing them during our stay, I can only conclude no one would choose to dress like this for the sheer impracticability.

Modesty fell out the window when I noticed how they painted their nails. A high class prostitute would not have had better finger nail jobs than these women.

It had never occurred to me about how they eat. Think about it. How do you eat in public and not show your face? I can tell you, it is awkward. It must be a damn bitch when you have a cold.

We were waiting outside the hotel as many returned to the hotel from shopping expeditions with their husbands and at times children. I watched one get out. She reached into the car to get her child, often not the easiest thing to do. A gust of wind blew and her eyes were covered by her veil blowing up. There must have been a double layer as her face was not exposed but she couldn't see. She almost dropped her child, her shoe came off, she teetered and stumbled and then recovered.

R reminded me of a couple who were sitting in the hotel lounge area, a DV and her husband. His mate arrived, they kissed, embraced and walked arm in arm outside where they sat, ate, smoked and took tea. They had a wonderful time. They were almost like old lovers catching up twenty years later. Meanwhile his DV wife sat on in the lounge. We had coffee and a snack. She just sat on, and on.

This is not about modesty. This is pure repression of women by men who get around in very normal clothing and speak and act as the rest of the human race do. To make women wear clothing like this by cultural indoctrination from a young age and repression is a disgrace. They are semi disabled by what they wear, viewed as suspicious by most of the world and have isolated themselves from general society where communication depends strongly on being able to read facial expressions.

A few things occurred to us while we ate breakfast. What if one of their kids gets lost in a shopping centre? How could they ever find their mother among all who looked the same. Actually, they don't all look quite the same. There are different body shapes. This led us to another thought. A bloke could say, my wife is so beautiful. But how would you ever know? Hey man, are sure you sure that woman who is tagging along behind you is really your wife? Her shape and eyes look right, but are you sure? We did see a couple who even had their eyes covered. Never mind the tourists photos who could be him with anyone.

Fully veiled women in black is crap and I will have no truck with it at all and nor should any woman who believes in the so quaint old expression of equality of sexes. What we saw was pure oppression and making women into disabled non human creatures.

Australia would do well to take a lead from France and ban such outfits.

I must have mentioned my issues with them to a friend as this 'joke' photo arrived in my email inbox. Even worse is seeing them make their daughters wear such garb.

Moslems unite but not in Malaysia. Malaysian Moslem women wear a scarf but don't hide behind black.

I have no problem with the natives wearing their pretty traditional dress. One does love the smiling and happy natives. (that is irony, in case you don't get it) There is lot more to how the Darth Vaderers dressed.

I am really being intemperate now, but how dare they infringe on us and spoil our breakfast with their silly garb and how dare they stare us like WE are the freaks.

Malaysia Day 7

Manny collected us early and a pause for a drink and petrol, we sped along the motorway to the Cameron Highlands turn off. Sped is a word I don't use lightly. I saw the speedo of the Audi touch 180 k/mh, about 110mph. I was checking, yes crash barriers both sides. I was about to experience a best of in my lifetime.

We stopped off at some falls along the way, just as a minibus full of Japanese arrived. Their tour guide was loud. One old man positioned a banana in front of his crotch for a group photo shot.

Wow, we have taken a detour to England.

Even modest housing has Tudor features.

We stopped off a cafe that overlooks a tea plantation. Naturally our refreshment was a cup of the local tea. Now I am more a coffee drinker, but I don't mind tea and I have the occasional cup. I had the best cup of tea I have ever had. I don't know how they do it, but it was just wonderful. The temperature had dropped somewhat and it was quite lovely sitting and overlooking the tea plantation with a fine cuppa.
Meanwhile back in England, we found the Smokehouse.

It was now only 22 degrees and the sun was shining weakly. Even up here, the Indonesians were burning. The Smokehouse garden was lovely.

Of course if you are in England you must have Devonshire tea. No doubt colonial administrators and their families found the climate up here much more to their liking.

 That would be Ficus Pimula growing on the stair rail.

Our waiter was an older Indian man. He had an English air about him. He had either lived in England or had watched a lot of English tv. A fly appeared and I gave it the Great Australian Wave. I must apologise Sir. They have used manure fertiliser on the golf course opposite. It is being renovated as the Sultan is not getting any younger and parts were too steep for his golf buggy.
 The open windows indicate that we are not in England and cool fresh air is being let in too the guest rooms.

 It does get cool enough in the evening to have a fire.

 Christmas in July in the dining room.

All good things must come to an end. Manny declared he would never visit the Cameron Highlands again on a Saturday. It took us a about one hour to travel ten kilometres.

We pressed on to Penang. This is the seven kilometre long bridge from the mainland of Malaysia to the island of Penang.

Friday, July 13, 2012

This week's footy team

I've changed my mind again. This week I have decided to support the Collingwood Football Team. Sharrod looks more like a soccer player. Perhaps I should follow soccer.

Malaysia Day 6

We did not have much planned for today, except Manny had said he will call for us late afternoon. We took ourselves off to the shops after breakfast.

We wondered what was the at the other end of the monorail line. Here is some signage. It goes to a place called, Titiwanker Titiwangsa. It took about the same amount of time to go to the end and back as it did the other direction to KL Sentral return. It was an interesting enough trip. We passed many large Western hotels.

We then took a light lunch at U Cafe.

There were a lot of these rather gaudy tourist buses around.

Manny collected us late afternoon and took us to his office to show us around and he made us excellent cups of coffee.

It was then up KL Tower. It sits atop a the delightfully named Pineapple Hill and was built primarily for communication purposes. Completion was in 1996 and the tower dominated the skyline until the even more impressive Petronas Towers was built. The lift took us up to a 360 degree viewing area. There is also a revolving restaurant above.

The views were stunning of course, in spite of the perpetually hazy sky, blamed on the Indonesian. It became a running joke for us. How is the weather this morning? Ok, except the Indonesians are burning again. (This is a serious problem) (This photo might be from our hotel room. I am not sure)

There are the twin towers. We are going there now.

Here we are, right at the foot of the Petronas twin towers. I was a bit blasé about them before I saw them. It is a stunning piece of architecture.

It is still daylight and we are in a rooftop bar of nearby building with the yuppies of KL drinking Asahis. Oh, here comes the owner of Cafe Marina to chat to Manny. Oh, here comes the chef to chat to Manny. We are coming to realise Manny is somewhat of a VIP.

Slowly the haze colours as the sun sets in KL.

We were so close to the towers. It was mind blowing to see them light up.

We stepped out onto the terrace. What a pity we aren't dining here. Manny had plans for us. After taking some outside ground level night time photos of the towers, he took us to a triangle in the middle of a large intersection for even more photos.

Then we were off to Prime at Le Meridien for some fine dining on steak. Ok, it was not cheap, but given how much hawker food we had been eating, food was costing us little and it was time splurge in an air con restaurant with excellent waiter service. Unfortunately I had caught a cold and it was at its worse that very night. No beer Manny. Get a bottle of wine, and a fine bottle of Chilean red he selected.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chernobyl Weirdness

Who would go on holiday to Chernobyl? Isn't it dangerous. Wouldn't you get radiated? Well, a Melbourne chick has gone there and the photos are wonderful and depressing. Take a look Kitten of Doom's blog and see a part of Russia preserved in time. I've direct linked to one post but you can find the rest.

Malaysia Day 5

This could be subtitled getting ripped off but only realising after the event.

Manny was busy again, well we told him what we doing today and he took it onboard. We were off to the bird park and butterfly house. We asked hotel staff for a taxi and while we waited, a taxi driver across the road called to us. No, we will take the taxi organised by the hotel, thank you.

On the outside of cabs are signs warning you to ensure the taxi meter is turned on and do not negotiate a fare. Our shiny new blue SUV taxi arrived and the driver told me he only got the brand new car yesterday and I was the first passenger to sit in the front seat. He turned the meter on and took us to the KL Bird Park. The fare was MR22, about $7.

From the bird park we walked to the butterfly house. I had hoped to see the miniature deer but R was not keen. The deer park was near by. We caught one of the old and predominate taxi cabs back to the hotel. When we told him where we wanted to go, instead of telling him to use the meter, we agreed to the price of MR20, cheaper than what we had paid to get to the park.

It seemed a quicker trip, perhaps because the one way roads worked better and this drive took a couple of short cuts down side streets. In spite of signs all over taxis that you must insist on the driver using the meter, I thought we had done well with the agreed price. But no, we discovered later that the new blue taxis have a higher flagfall and a higher travelling rate, so the basic taxi would have cost a good bit less had we made the driver use the meter.

These birds were very plentiful in the park.

Through a water curtain.

He/she was not afraid of humans.

Are these Australian emus? The girl had no fear of them.

I think we are in Australia, a cassowary.

The crest was unbelievably fine.


A scarlet bird from a distance. I thought I would come across it to get a closer photo but I didn't.

An almost invisible squirrel I think.

Pink flamingo.

Some refreshment, only spoiled by Middle Eastern tourist who leave the rubbish everywhere and just throw things on the ground.

It was wise for this woman to have her photo taken by a polaroid when she first arrived. We saw her as we were leaving and she looked as hot and bothered as we felt.

Another photo shoot. The Aussie sulphur crested cockatoos squawked and squawked. One of the staff feigned punches at one, which did not look good, and the little boy cried in terror.

Very regal.


 Could be a lori, not lorikeet. We left the bird park and on foot started along what I thought was the correct way to the butterfly house but I wasn't confident. We backed tracked and checked at the info counter. Yes, just walk on, so we did. Around a couple of corners and we arrived at the butterfly house.

This one rather liked R's hair product.

Not just butterflies, but some serious creepy crawlies. Doesn't it look like a man's face?

Yes, it is  tarantula.

We rested for a bit back at our hotel and then set off for a short walk to the Pavillion shopping mall. The KL shopping malls are huge with monster car parks underneath them. We wanted coffee and went to a chain place called Old Town. We were given menus and then ignored while staff chatted among themselves. We left and had much better coffee at U Cafe near the monorail station.

A magazine had been delivered to our hotel. What a pity the back cover is the front cover and the pages read all wrong. Ah, for people who read differently to us.

 The Pavillion.

We had underestimated how many shirts we would need while we were away, well we took all our short sleeved shirts, so we bought a couple each  in Parkson department store.  I had a haircut. I gave the lass money and she sorted out change and put some money in a vending machine to pay for my haircut. She did a great job.

 There are so many fountains in KL.

 In U Cafe. Fans are always plentiful in outdoor areas.

 Just because the poster boi is cute.

Manny arrived at 8.30 and took us to have pumpkin steamboat. He is a regular customer at this place near his office, so we had three staff hovering and helping. But once again we were in the heat outdoors. No, they aren't toothpicks, but guess.......noodles. Correction. They are mushroom on the plate, not noodles.