Monday, January 28, 2008

Trip to Kuala Lumpur (KL)

My sister and I were lucky enough to take off for a few days just the two of us. We flew to KL (capital of Malaysia) and had fun shopping, site seeing and hanging out.
Our hotel was about 30 minutes from downtown. It was near the Ikea (however, to explain that to a taxi driver you had to pronouce it, Icky-ah). My sister had stayed here before and said it was really nice because it's attached to a mall. Nothing wrong with that! Here are a few pictures.
She was right that it was a really nice hotel, however, she forgot to mention that the beds were the hardest beds I would ever have slept on. When I walked in and put my purse on the bed, I noticed that my bag kind of made a thumping noise. That seemed a little weird, so I decided to sit on the bed and I let out a gasp. "Oh yeah, "said my sister, "I forgot to mention that they like their beds really hard." I was extremely surprised when I actually fell asleep and slept quite well (despite a bit of back pain in the morning). Maybe all the hard shopping we did tuckered us out enough not to care about the hardness of the beds. There really is nothing a little shopping can't cure. :) As well as the nice mall attached to our hotel meant several nice restaurants.

We shared some yummy pizza at this Italian place as well as a tiramisu for dessert!

This mall also had beautiful Christmas decorations. This was a life sized gingerbread house. Very cool. I love that it included the palm trees. :)
One day we took a taxi downtown and went to the famous Petronas Towers. You may recognize these buildings from the movie Entrapment (with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery), the 3rd season of The Amazing Race and many other clips in TV shows or movies. The Petronas Towers are the world's tallest twin buildings.

We were told that they only issue a certain amount of tickets to go up to the Skybridge (the connecting walkway you see about halfway up), so we wanted to get there fairly early. We arrived at about 8:20, knowing that they opened the ticket booth at 8:30 am. Well, apparently others had the same idea as us because when we came down the escalators, this is what we saw.
Ok, so others had gotten up earlier than us. We were on vacation. Who wants to get up at 7:00 am and stand in line? Clearly, these people did. The tickets are free, which I was really surprised at because most touristy things cost a bizillion dollars these days and the line up actually went fairly fast. Since they only give out a certain number of tickets and they only let about 15 - 20 people up every 15 minutes, they have little monitors up telling you what time of tickets they are currently issuing. As the long line ahead of us got shorter and shorter, the time of day to go up got later and later. The monitor would say, "Now issuing tickets for 9:15 ... now issuing tickets for 9:30," and so on. We kept watching it and all of a sudden it went from, "Now issuing tickets for 10:30," to "now issuing tickets for 3:30." What? By the time we got up to the ticket booth, they were issuing tickets for 4:15 pm. It was 9:00 am in the morning.
Luckily for us, at the base of the towers is a mall. :) Could we spend all day at a mall waiting for our time to go up the towers? You bet we could!
Yet again, there were beautiful Christmas decorations and I had to take pictures.
This "tree" was about 6 stories tall. Very cool. And the wreaths were about 2 stories tall as well. The mall wasn't even open yet when we walked in (Asia time is very different than here - they open at 10ish - and that's only certain stores), so we walked outside and took the touristy shots.
We also sat and relaxed at a Starbucks (you can see the bars still on the store beside the Starbucks).
This was a very nice mall. One of the 7 floors was strictly stores that you might only be able to shop in if you were STINKIN' RICH!!! A lot of them even had guards in front of them. We did saunter into Banana Republic, but they didn't have a good sale rack like they do in our Vancouver stores, so we slowly sauntered out, trying to look like we belonged there.
The kiosks in the middle of the mall were more our speed. :) I forgot to take a picture of my loot. I did buy quite a few cheap watches and jewellery throughout this mall.
Do you notice anything strange about this Santa? Why the need to paint his face white? Strange.
Maybe they wanted him to blend in with the mall itself. Most of the walls/stores/decorations in this mall were white, which is why when we came down the escalator at one point and saw all these Buddhist Monks in their orange, they really stood out. I don't know why it looked so odd to see them shopping in Swatch. They are people just like the rest of us who need to some holiday shopping. :)
Finally it was 3:30 and we were supposed to be in the lobby of the Towers at 4:00, so we headed out of the mall. First we had to watch a 3D movie (hence the beautiful 3D glasses below) of how the Towers were built and of course all about Petronas Oil/Gas. Side note: I'm wearing one of my new necklaces in the picture below. :)
I made it onto the Skybridge!
The view was nice, but the Skybridge is only halfway up the buildings, so it would've been cool to say you'd gone to the top of the World's Tallest twin buildings. Oh well. I'm glad I did it and would recommend doing it, however, it's one of those touristy things I can check off my list and don't really need to ever do again.
The last day we just relaxed at our hotel. I went to the pool and Jodi went to Starbucks to do some reading. It was a nice little getaway for the two of us.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mall and McDonalds

Of course we had to take a trip to the mall and do a little shopping. All of their malls are built up. They are usually about 7 stories tall and are quite large. I don't know if that's because they don't have much land to build horizontally, so they have to go vertical, or what, but it makes for some pretty big malls (which is just fine by me!).

All decorated for Christmas.

My sister said when they moved there almost 5 years ago she could barely find a Christmas ornament and now it's everywhere. Why the change now? Who knows.

While at the mall, it's always good to make a stop at McDonald's.

I was supposed to look like I was really listening to the girls tell me an incredible story.

I love this picture of Jackson and I. He's like most boys and doesn't love to hug, so our form of affection would be to come really close together and we would touch foreheads and either smile or do that pretend mad sound of "errrrrrrr" if we were playing mad. Love that boy ... and now I miss him even more, so I'm signing off for today.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Funny spellings

Can you tell what kinds of stores these were? Some of them are easy, but still funny.

#1 - Pharmacy

#2 - Boutique

#3 - Cosmetic

#4 - Computer

Apparently I must apologize again for the lack of posts over my holiday. I have gotten bugged a few times about people checking every day for new pics, but alas, there would be nothing. I think if I was just travelling and not visiting anyone, I would've had no qualms about sitting at a computer for an hour here and there updating my blog, but I couldn't justify it when I was with family who I only see twice a year. I have now organized my 800 photos (that's after I've deleted the bad ones) and have 3 new posts today. Don't worry, I won't subject you to all 800 photos. :)

Pampering myself

Spa treatments are incredibly cheap over in Asia, so of course I had to indulge. I went to a swanky hotel that has a spa in it called Sanctuary and had a 2 hour massage for $30. It was heavenly. When I walked into my "room," I assumed it would just be the room where you get changed and eat some fruit and wait for your masseuse to come and get you. No, this room was all that AND my room with the bed where I'd get my massage. It all came together. I had my own change room so I didn't have to worry about other naked women walking getting changed (ok, I know most people back home use the individual change rooms within the main change room, but some weird people still change right out in the open and I'm not used to that - sorry if you're one of those people - not every one's comfortable with that - hee hee). Here, take a look at some of the pics.

In the 3rd picture you can see two chairs at the back of the room. I sat here and soaked my feet first and got that amazing scrub on them and my calves, then layed down for my 2 HOUR massage! Afterwards, behind that wall where the chairs are, is my very own tub, steam room and shower. My very own! Again, no awkwardness walking into a steam room when other people are in there. I'm not a huge lover of the steam room (I start feeling like I can't breath after awhile), but I do enjoy a good 5 - 10 minutes of it. I sat in my steam for 20 minutes, so I was really sweating and ready to be done, but extremely relaxed, then had my shower and took my leave. Beautiful!

Next, my sister's friend had 2 facial certificates that she wasn't going to use before they expired, so she gave them to us. NICE! It didn't say how long they were, so I was expecting them to be about an hour, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when we arrived and they said it would be for 2 HOURS! Am I a lucky girl or what?

It was nice to be in the same room as my sister so we could chat if we wanted to, although trying to talk after they had put these masks on us was quite interesting. We had many giggles. Afterwards we talked about getting another one right before I left to come home (as this was in my first week or so of being there) but I said that I was hoping to have a tan by the end of my trip and didn't know what a facial would do to a tan. We tried to ask the girls what would happen, but it was one of those "lost in translation" experiences because they said, "Oh yes. You come back and we will take care of that tan. We will take it right off and make you white again." They couldn't understand that I would WANT my face to be tanned because they all walk around with umbrellas and big visors trying to protect themselves from the sun. Yeah, they're probably the smarter ones, but I can't help loving the look of a tan. Oh yeah, and I didn't make another appointment to go back there later. :)

Then we went for pedicures. This store had just opened and it was good, however, they didn't have enough technicians to clients so one minute you would be getting a massage on your legs, then you would wait for 10 minutes because she had run to do another client and then another technician (is that the right term for them?) would come and they pretty much played musical chairs. It was quite funny. We were supposed to be there for an hour and a half and we ended up being there for 3 hours (for $30). Luckily I had bought a new book that morning and brought it with me. It was the new Mitch Albom story (Tuesdays with Morrie) called For One More Day. It was quite good. I read it in one day, so it's an easy read. He said he wrote it because he was talking to his Mom on the phone one day and after he hung up he thought, "What if that was the last time I ever talked to my Mom." So he wrote this book about this guy who gets one more day with his Mother who had passed away a few years before and he had much more he wanted to say to her.

Anyways, I forgot to take a picture of our toes afterwards, but I had a deep purple done on mine and my sister had a pinky/purply/red done on hers. She asked a couple of days before I was going to leave if I wanted to go get another one, and although I did, I said that it wouldn't be smart as I would just go home and put socks and shoes again anyway and no one would see my lovely toes. :(

Pampering yourself can be very nice ... especially when you feel you deserve it and it's cheap. :)


I don't know if you've ever played Wii, but it's quite fun. I'm sure there are MANY types of games, but we mostly played Wii Play which is with this Rabbit and you can make him dance, shoot, fly, do obstacle courses and many other things. It's quite fun.

There's also Wii Sports and you can play tennis, baseball, boxing, bowling, golf etc. The thing you hold in your hand (the baton) actually vibrates when you connect with the ball so you really feel like you're part of it. I got a little too into it though, because my arm was actually sore the next day from playing tennis. How pathetic is that? :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Well, I'm back

God has an interesting sense of humour.

He took me from this ...

and I woke up to this yesterday morning!

A bit of a shock to my senses after being in such heat for 4 weeks.

I know I'm really far behind on my blogging, but it was hard to sit and blog when I had nieces and nephews to play with and my sister to hang out with. I am organizing my pictures and will update soon.

Back to work tomorrow ... well, in about 3 hours actually. I went to bed 6 hours ago and woke up an hour and a half later. I tried to fall back to sleep for 2 hours but it was useless. My body and mind were thinking it was 7 at night, so I couldn't sleep and I started working on my pictures. So, I'll go to work with an hour and a half sleep and see how that works out for me. Remember me talking about how crappy my job's been lately? Well, in the 4 weeks that I've been gone, 4 people have left my office and one of those even took a demotion to get out. More proof of how bad the morale is in the office, so needless to say, I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow. 3 days after I had set out on my trip, I got an email from work about a decision they wanted me to make so unfortunately, it didn't totally leave my mind.

The Good News is that I know God is loving and has a plan for me. If that plan includes being in this work environment, then I know He has some reason for it. I will try to stop complaining and try to be proactive in getting changes made in the office if that's a possibility. God only wants what's best for me. I need to focus on that.

Sorry, went off on a little tangent there. I will try to post about my awesome trip very soon. I did get to relax a lot and I did feel the stress of work almost completely leave my brain, so that was great. My sister and her family were awesome and I can't wait to share more with you about my trip.