Sunday, January 9, 2005:

Because of stopping in Seoul, and because of leaving late, even on the “early” flight, we arrived in Hong Kong 15 minutes after our flight to Kuala Lumpur left. They gave us some vouchers for a free lunch (although not really, since it wasn't enough to cover lunch), and already had boarding passes printed out for a later flight to Kuala Lumpur . The only remaining issue, therefore, was getting in contact with the people who were supposed to pick us up in KL. Alas, our cell phones, which supposedly were set up to work overseas, did not work. We got Cathay Pacific to give us a phone card, and that card worked, but no one picked up the phone. I guess it was because it was a Sunday and no one was in the office. The Hong Kong airport was interesting, it looked more like South Coast Plaza than an airport – all sorts of expensive jewelry and clothing stores in the concourses.

When we got to KL, we noticed on the approach massive groves of Coconut Palms, or so Justin thought. After getting out of the airport – we arranged transport through our hotel, and will get reimbursed – Justin noted the palms actually weren't Coconuts, but rather Oil Palms. And they are everywhere – apparently Malaysia is one of the main exporters of Oil from these palms. During the drive from the airport to the Mandarin Oriental, we noted the roads in Malaysia are much, much, much better than those in the Philippines (not to mention Southern California when it rains). No potholes to speak of, very good overpasses and connections between roads, and everyone appears to follow the driving regulations.

As we approached the hotel, it was impossible not to see the Petronas Towers, which are directly adjacent to the hotel. The Twin Towers are the defining image of Malaysia, and are the tallest twin towers in the world. And unlike many tall buildings that are just big rectangles, these look really cool, both in shape and in color – they have a metallic sheen to them and are very reflective of the sky. The shape of the footprint of each tower is based on a shape that is important in Islam. We had a view of the Twin Towers out our window (room 1113), and you have to get right up to the edge to see the top.

We got the hotel around 6pm local time, and immediately relaxed. We turned on the TV to see that the Chargers lost, in what looked like a downpour, and the Kings lost to Charlotte of all teams in the NBA. We ate dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental, Lai Po Heen. Crystal ate Tiger Prawns in a butter and garlic sauce. Each prawn was 100 grams. She originally was going to get lobster, but the smallest lobster they had was 1 kilogram. Justin ate some marinated beef with a pepper sauce. We got back to the room at 9pm and were asleep by about 9:02.



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