Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back To Basics!

Well, you would have thought that after my last blog and the reverence I paid the simple hotel in Krabi compared to the electricity bare bungalow of Koh Jum, that those days of slumming it are behind me (slumming is a big word for the bungalows as they were quite quaint, had their own shower and toilet and did have electricity for 4 hour night). I arrived yesterday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur armed with a budget hotel guide. I chose my hotel based on the symbols you get above each. Air-Con (tick), Shower (tick), Internet (tick) the rest were really supplementary or should I say, elementary. I had decided on a budget (usually unheard of by me) and limited myself to MYR100 per night (about £10). That should do it. The last hotel I stayed in the last time was only MYR120 a night and it was quite reasonable and I had a lovely view of the city, it was close to the shopping district and had internet although its strength was so poor in the room it was almost non existent some times. But I had a mini bar and TV and the bathroom had a bath. So back to my current search, I had agreed on The Green Hut Lodge also near the shopping district so that I was familiar with the best places to eat and shop. It had all the criteria I needed and maximum room was MYR85. I thought bargain.
I had back up hotels should this one be full, but if you ever get to see my travel bag, you will realise getting about fills me with dread. The place looked nice enough. I was asked to go see a room and low and behold the upstairs sections of the building had been raided by Irish builders. Now I am not being racist here when I say this I merely have first hand knowledge of their quirky building ideas. Walls were there shouldn’t be walls, stair wells that seemed to grow out of nothing and find there way to the next floor like some Escher painting. The room I was shown thankfully was not the one I stayed in but I am still not sure whether I got the better room at the end. It had two small single beds squeezed into a space meant for a toilet. The air-con was there – well half of it. The other half went into the wall presumably so that the next room could share. I wonder who gets the control or is it battle of the remotes. Also to my surprise the shower and toilet was a shared one. Well there were several on each floor in crazy haphazard places that only Paddy could of conceived of constructing but no room in the hotel had its own shower/toilet. Bit of cheek that they got away with sticking that little symbol in the budget book I say. When I came down I was reluctant but couldn’t be arsed to move besides it looked clean at least and it had internet which was my pre-requisite. Thankfully / or not I was saved staying in that room by the manager who berated the guy behind the counter for being stupid as they could put two people in that room and make more money. “You want single? I have best room for you with double bed and window” and then the best line I have ever heard in a hotel “you have your own air-con – no share!”, “That’s me sold”, I said. So the man behind the counter helped me up the steps with my gargantuan bag. Seems the Wi-Fi would not stretch to that part of the building so I was told I could use it down in foyer. Seems even though the Wi-Fi was down in the foyer I couldn’t use it there either so had to resort to chatting with my girlfriend on an antiquated computer with a dodgy screen. Well they did not lie….. but!!
I eventually went out and dined in the street market I had used as my source of food the previous visit and had drunken duck hot pot. I personally think they used chicken and hoped I would not notice. I noticed but did not pull them on it. It was nice, the hot pot is infused with rice wine therefore reasoning behind the name “drunken”. What perturbs me is the fact that Thai and Malay people spend so much time cooking and eating fabulous meals and yet appear very lazy with their preparation. They all had mad axe cleavers to cut meat with which is effective and quick but means when eating chicken its like pieces of road kill, with shattered and splintered bones throughout. Not a pleasant experience when eating. The last time I came I decided to be adventurous and ordered frogs in spicy black bean sauce. It all looks appetising and certainly the flavours all worked together but fuck me, did they have to chop the little mites up with a cleaver so that every miniscule portion was saturated with tiny cracked bones and splinters. It was worse then eating little fish were every mouthful is a dance with potential slow death by swallowed fish bone.
Stick to the char sui pork and satay sticks I say, at least the only bone is the stick that runs through the centre and with the pork all you get it the occasional gristle which can be crunched and eaten anyway (Neanderthal, I hear you say!).
After some brief window shopping, I ventured back to my room. Not having been too observant the first time I realised, there was a fitted sheet on the bed but no top sheet or blanket, so presumably I would have to just lay there on the bed cover non-gratis, flagrantly nude to the world. Furthermore there was no towel, so I guess no shower for me then. Presumably, the other backpackers that would stay at this establishment came with there own top sheets and towels. With the size of my bag you would be excused for thinking I had a whole array of linen and bathroom accessories in side – but sadly – no! One saving grace was that the Kuala Lumpur city area has limited Wi-Fi service throughout the city and from the top floor of my salubrious hotel I was able to connect and surf porn for most of the evening. During my sojourn with computer on the bed, of which the bed was the only piece of furniture in the room, I noticed the scurrying of a couple of baby cockroaches on the wall. Damn – well I guess I could not have expected to avoid them in a place like this. After squashing a couple including one which had crawled on the bed and up my arm, you would have thought, he’ll pack now and go find another hotel. One with its own shower and a towel. I am not that much of a snob, well actually I am but I am also interminably lazy and I couldn’t be arsed traipsing around at the time of 11.00pm in search of another hotel. I would also have to argue about getting my room fee back although I would have gladly foregone the MYR52 they charged me (I should hardly complain for a room worth £5 a night, should I). But it crawled up my fucking arm!!
I decided I would brave it and after spraying the contents of my mozzy spray around the bed and luggage (who knows whether it would keep the cockroaches away but at least lying on the bed I should be spared mozzy bites. I slept disjointedly and at one stage felt one in my hair. Oh this was intolerable. Then the neighbour came home at around 3am and was banging and clomping and making all sorts of racket – someone should complain (I am shy! – well lazy at least). I survived the rest of the night without noise or bug incident although I am sure if I taped myself they all must have swarmed all over me the moment I went into deep sleep the little bastards. I had a wash and blow dry at a shopping mall today and have decided on a full body scrub when I arrive in Coolangatta. After my girlfriend reads this she will probably make me wash again in Sydney before I can even kiss her.
So Now I am in the airport, ready to return to Oz and more tastes of adventure and food odysseys await. Thanks for joining me.
You will be hearing from me again real soon.

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