Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fake Cops On The Prowl....

Taken from "The Star"....

Published: Thursday October 28, 2010 MYT 6:45:00 AM

Updated: Thursday October 28, 2010 MYT 11:00:25 AM

Kiwi tourists robbed by a couple of ‘cops’

TWO New Zealanders lost RM10,000 to a couple posing as police officers, reported Harian Metro.
The two victims in their early thirties were walking along Jalan Tong Shin in Kuala Lumpur around 5pm on Oct 26 when they were approached by the couple in a car.
According to a source, the suspects in their early 20s came out from the car and told the Kiwis that they were police officers and wanted to see their passports.
“The ‘police officers’ seized their passports and their wallets, got into the car and sped off,” said the source.
The victims made a police report at the Dang Wangi police station.

The exact same thing happened to a friend of mine at 3am on a Wednesday the week before when he was walking home...
He had the the presence of mind to ask for their ID and the "cops" got a bit more aggressive and threatening but he walked slowly on and manged to contact the real police who swooped-in with a vengeance (5 police cars in total) and nabbed the two impostors.
He said that the impostors were a bit thick,slow and stupid as they let him make a phone call-and let him keep walking.
The police had been alerted earlier as the impostors had also demanded a free massage from one of the foot-massage places along Tengkat Tong Shin.
The only downside was he then spent a few hours at a police station giving a statement-but he did the right thing.
He said that the real police were very polite and friendly.(which surprised him!) but rather unorganised and chaotic at the Police Station (which didn't)

I know that some people here think that a tourist/foreigner must carry their passport with them at all times (locals carry ID cards) but I have never read this in any official documentation and certainly new arrivals are not told this at the immigration desk.
My friend needed to take his passport to the police station as part of the procedure for making a statement but he didn't have it on him...and the real police weren't bothered-they just drove him home to get it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Walking along Changkat Bukit Bintang,Kuala Lumpur

I had to laugh over this.
A perfect example of how *not* to hold a product launch/event.
I've written before about how clogged the pavement/sidewalk gets along this street;what with all the jockey-parking,cars parked on pavements,banners, plants and posters placed on the pavement and now,lots of places put tables and chairs outside as well.
These have proved to be very popular with everyone,except when you need to walk along the pavement because,well you can't.You have to walk in the street and hope that none of the cars,buses or coaches that constantly swarm up and down the street will hit you.
Bars that can't put tables and chairs on the pavement have resorted to putting up barriers outside their venue so that cars don't park on the pavement and in some cases these bars have added stools to the barriers to provide a little outdoor seating.Fish and Chip,Sutra and Baan 26 have done this.
Anyway...back to my point.
Volkswagen held a promo at Elixir last night.
Nothing wrong with that you might say.
And,indeed it made a change to listen to lots of different local amateur bands thrashing out their stuff instead of the usual boring and utterly predictable mind-numbing 80's retro music that most places in KL are in love with. How come there is no 90's retro? or 00's retro come to that.
And we all know that the 70's produced the best music.Ever.
So,outside Elixir were a couple of new VW Polo's (yours for only RM 108,888) and a succession of bands playing on the pavement.That's right,on the pavement. No stage.And you guessed it,you had to walk in the busy road to get past.
So where were the crowd?
Standing on the other side of the road in front of Healy Macs,Yoko's and Sutra.
With cars and buses and taxis going past in a constant stream blocking the view.
It just looked so bizarre,a band playing to the traffic.
The sooner they make Changkat Bukit Bintang a pedestrian only street and close it to traffic the better it will be for everyone.(except the car jockeys, lazy people and posers who can't walk a few yards to their chosen venue)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day Trip to Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

I guess it's a pretty good way to use an old abandoned gravel pit.
Sunway Lagoon Theme park is one of Kuala Lumpur's most popular outdoor destinations.
In true local style,it's way over-the-top and far too big and over-developed.
It's also very tacky.
But,who cares?
It's packed on weekends and school holidays but if you go midweek you can have it virtually to yourself.
But don't go on a Tuesday because it will be shut.
Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is split into 5 different areas or "experiences"
1.Extreme.This means riding ATV's and  rope rides such as flying foxes and a bit of Paintball. There used to be a go-kart track but I couldn't find it....
2.Amusement. This includes the usual roller-coasters and other spinning,rotating and falling devices designed to seperate you from your lunch.
3.Water.Lots of different water slides,a wave pool and a surfing machine.Great!
4.Wildlife. A petting zoo and a few pathetic sunbears,snakes and birds.
5.Scream. Horror rides incorporating the latest audio and imaging systems.

It's a hell of a lot to pack into one day.My suggestion would be to just go the waterpark as it's muh more fun than all the others but if you want to experience a bit more....
RM 80 will cover you for enterance and unlimited rides in any 3 of the above whilst RM 100 will cover all 5 areas.Locals only pay RM 75 for some reason.
You cannot bring your own food or drinks into the park and you have to buy  the slightly overpriced and bland restaurant food or eat snacks from kiosks conveniently located all over the place.
I don't think they will search you too thoroughly as I did spot a group with a bottle of scotch.
Beer is available.
I think it's pretty expensive for a day trip-especially if you go as a family but as I said,it gets mobbed on weekends and if you're 14 years old it's a good places for members of the opposite sexes to ogle each other in swimsuits.
You'll probably have much more fun if you're with a couple of kids as it's a great excuse to be silly and act like one yourself.
If you don't have children of your own try and borrow some for the day (always ask first)
Sunway Lagoon is  about 45 minutes by taxi from central KL.There seems to be about 5 different ways to get there and 25 ways to come back. The roads around here are so bloody confusing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Sabah you should jump at the chance.
The last time I was in Kota kinabalu was nearly 20 years ago so when I was recently given a chance to go back I was quite excited at the thought.
Sabah is an outdoor/adventure holiday destination.
Most tourists spend a few nights in KK before heading into the interior for a spot of mountain climbing,trekking,rafting or they head to the coast for some scuba fun.
I couldn't do that as I only had a couple of days but even as a two-day break it's a good destination.
Although it's an expensive flight from KL to KK ,my ticket on MAS was RM1,600-Air Asia are about RM 800-1,000 it's well worth it for the 1,000 mile journey.
Kota Kinabalu town itself is pretty ugly,a bit smelly and lacks any sort of charm and yet for some reason, it's a very likeable place.
Although the days of colourfully dressed tribes- people wandering around town are long-gone it still has a frontier feel to it.
The town center is fairly compact, a bit run-down and grotty and easy to navigate but there are few real attractions.
Some parts of town are squatter slums and I've been told that you should keep your wits about you when wandering about.
There are quite a few street kids eager to find out what's in your pockets, these kids have been denied an education due to their somewhat shady legal status so begging and hustling is really their only opportunity.
The city is not very "wide" if you know what I mean;walk 4 or 5 blocks back from the coastal strip and you're starting to climb up into the hills.
This means that the city sprawls in a line along the coast.
For a small city there are a surprising and annoying number of new shopping malls popping-up everywhere but there doesn't seem to be enough shoppers to fill them.
I stayed at the Merridien,a rather large,impersonal and indifferent hotel on the waterfront-a  room will set you back about RM300- RM500 but there are lots of cheaper options around town.
Daytime activities are limited to hanging about by the pool or having a walk up to Signal Hill past the clock-tower to get a view of the city.There is a museum and other attractions but you need a taxi to take you there.

There is a national park offshore,about a 45 minute speedboat ride where 3 islands are accessible for diving or snorkeling and they have some nice beaches.

Kota Kinabalu is noted for it's fine seafood and there are lots of eating venues to choose from.
At night there is a strip of bars and restaurants opposite the Meridien called,rather imaginatively "The
Waterfront" a sort-of mini version of Singapore's Boat Quay/Clarke Quay  that seems to be the place to hang-out.It's pricey and full of tourists,with younger locals going out later hitting places like The Loft and Bed.
A bit more relaxed is a Bar callled Upperstar, next to The Hyatt where two big bottles of Carlsberg are sold for RM 18. Which is very good value for money.So good in fact that I had to go back again.and again.
A nice place to chill and watch the sunset....I'm just trying to work out why I like it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Celsius Bar @Fahrenheit 88

Did you see what they did there?
The imaginatively named Celsius Bar has recently opened in the as yet unfinished Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall.
Located on Bukit Bintang,opposite Pavilion,it's a refurbishment of the old and decrepid Berjaya building.
They shouldn't really have bothered.
The mall has no anchor-tenant,no big names and is a hotch-potch of shops with no grouping or themes.
It's also at least half empty and freezing cold .
But...what might be good is the bar Celsius located at the back of the building.
There are so few bars on this street so Celsius is a welcome addition, whether it's any good only time will tell.
I'm not sure if it would ever become a destination in itself but if you're working or staying nearby it may be a welcome sight.
Or if you're a Chinese wanna-be gangster you may have a beer here before heading into Bintang Palace night club.
Celsius is currently having a promotion-selling 2 pints of Tiger at RM 26 and whilst this is not exactly "wow" factor it is pretty reasonable.
It looks fairly predictable in an almost tacky way and has yet to really take-off.
It also smells a bit of cement dust as there are still some building works going on in the vicinity.