Friday, September 25, 2009

Selamat Siang

...means “Good Day” in Malay, which forms the basis for Bahasa Malaysia. Interestingly enough, it is most commonly written using the Latin alphabet.

Why am I talking about the Malay language? Well, last week I joined some friends on a short trip to Malaysia. Short, because it was only for 3 1/2 days. The main reason for the trip was that a friend was attending her convocation from RMIT, and it was decided to make it a holiday as well. Hey, you live only once, so might as well take every opportunity to see how the rest of the world lives.

There’s a homely feeling there since environment and climate wise, Malaysia is like Sri Lanka. The main difference being the level of development they have achieved. It is a glimpse of what Sri Lanka can become. The other nice thing is the level of cleanliness. That is something I really wish we have, more than even development.

The Kuala Lampur International Airport is situated in a district called Sepang, about 50km from KL city. The whole area is covered with Palm plantations, which at first I thought were Coconuts. Apparently Palm oil is the second biggest export after petroleum. From above it basically looks like somebody took a strip out of a green carpet so that planes can land. The airport has two terminals, where the main one houses immigration, customs and etc, and to get from one terminal to the other, there is a pair of automated trains.

KL city is basically a concrete jungle, but it doesn’t feel like it because there are lot of trees. Somehow they’ve managed to create a balance between the concrete and natural greenery.

The Corus Hotel in which we stayed is right smack in the middle of the city and just a few buildings away from the famous Petronas twin towers. Unfortunately we kept putting off visiting the towers till the last moment, only to find out on Saturday that it was closed during that weekend because of the festival. So we missed the chance to go up to the sky-bridge. Tough luck I’d say.

There are more than enough shopping malls in the city to keep the shopaholics in a permanent state of ecstasy. The largest one we went to was the Times Square Mall. It has about 12 floors with about 100 shops in each floor. You do the math on that one. Most of them are designer clothes and fashion accessories. Seriously, once you go inside, you don’t feel the time moving. Have you noticed that most malls are built in a way that you don’t see the outside when you are in? When you don’t see the daylight changing, you feel like time has stopped. It’s a sneaky, clever way to keep the shoppers inside. Because of the festival season, all the shops were having some sort of sale. Otherwise, I don’t think the prices are that cheap. Food on the other hand is quite cheap, and tasty.

Being huge wasn’t enough for the Time Square mall people. They wanted more excitement, so why not put an amusement park inside it. Yep, it has an amusement park, complete with thrill rides and a twisting, looping roller coaster. It was my first time on a roller coaster and it was scary yet exciting. I guess it has an added scare factor than the outdoor one’s, because it goes twisting around the other rides so closely that you think that you are going to hit them. If it gets too hot to handle, the easiest remedy is to keep your eyes closed.

We did have a good time though; the only damper was that it was raining most of the time. I also would have loved to go visiting some other sites as well, but there is so much that you can do in 3 ½ days. Who knows, maybe another time perhaps?

On a separate note, I don’t know about other airlines, but compared to Emirates, our Sri Lankan has a long way to go. You’d think it would fall apart the way it was shuddering during taxing. The return flight had a weird engine noise as well. Oh well, guess we have to keep our faith with the engineers.

Annual office trip is coming up this weekend, so I’ll be off to Habarana and Trinco, again, and sponsored too :D Yay... lucky me.

Have a good weekend all.


Random street shot - KL city
Petronas Twin Towers @ night
Random street shot - KL city
Random street shot - KL city
Reaching for the clouds
Random street shot - KL city
Inside Suria KLCC Mall
Cosmo World, indoor amusement park in Times Square Mall

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random...stuff :)

I have been neglecting the bloggie for a while now. It’s been a bit busy these past weeks, what with some exams and work and know. The good news is that the exams are over, at least for another two months. Bah...I have no life...

In an admirable move, the Indian government has stepped up its austerity drive, mainly because of the effects of the global recession and the severe drought in some parts, which is taking its toll on the Indian economy. Austerity is defined in economics as when governments reduce its spending. The foreign ministry has advised the ministers to limit expenses on travel, furnishing for ministers' offices and residences, publicity work, as well as seminars and workshops in luxury hotels. It has also been suggested that the ministers travel on economy class when flying. Most of them are adhering to the cut backs, except the flying in economy class. It’s is very commendable that they are mindful when spending public funds. I can think of a lot of people who should take an example for the Indian minsters.

Looks like another would be Sakvithi was arrested for allegedly defaulting LKR 430million. It’s sad to see that values such as honesty and integrity are becoming mere words. Soon they will have no value. Why can’t people do an honest day’s work without hurting other people? Hah...If there was an answer to that question, there would be a lot less problems in this world.

A female British rower named Rosalind “Roz” Savage is rowing across the Pacific Ocean, to become the first female rower to do so. Earlier in 2006, she became the 5th woman to row solo across the Atlantic, East to West. Now she is crossing the Pacific, and on the 6th of September 2009, has reached Tarawa, in the Republic of Kiribati. Kiribati is a small island nation in the middle of the Pacific, composed of 32 coral atolls. By arriving in Tarawa, Roz has completed the second stage of her journey.

She started the first stage in May 25, 2008 from San Francisco and arrived in Waikiki, Hawaii in September 1, 2008. The second stage was started from Hawaii in May 24, 2009 and completed after 104 days at sea, covering some 2500+ miles (about 4000Km)

Stage three will start in 2010, heading to Australia. When she finishes the crossing, she will cover about 9500 miles. Man, that’s a lot of rowing. More info can be found on her home page.

You have to admire the guts of some of these “adventurers”. They are not satisfied with having a mediocre life. They take risks and go for the kill. How many of us can say that we would do something like this? I am definitely not one of them :)

Roz Savage, Pic from Wikipedia

Have a good week everyone!