The big 3-5 in KL

Hello from Malaysia!  I arrived here by train from Thailand almost a week ago, and I have been stunned by the fascinating blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and colonial architecture, culture, and food.  This has been a great place to visit for someone who loves to 1) take photos, and 2) eat.

I had always wanted to do something interesting for my birthday during this trip, but since I rarely plan too far in advance, I really didn’t have any specific ideas.  When my regional itinerary finally materialized during the last two weeks or so, it looked as if my birthday weekend would be right around the time that I would be passing through Kuala Lumpur.  So, still slightly burned out from recent stays at noisy, dimly lit budget hotel rooms of questionable cleanliness, I decided to splurge on accommodation there.  I have always loved historic hotels, but most of them are extraordinarily out of my price range.  Having found a good deal, I booked two nights at the Hotel Majestic near the old Art Deco KL train station.

Quite majestic (but no moose, though)

Quite majestic (but no moose, though)

Let me tell you:  it was worth every last penny.  Between my stay there and my four previous nights at the Museum Hotel in Georgetown, Penang, the last week of accommodation has easily been the best I’ve ever experienced. Worldwide.

My room was modern and gorgeous.  The customer service was phenomenal.  When I went down to the front desk to ask about the shuttle to the train station, the staff person actually sprinted outside to make sure that the waiting shuttle didn’t leave without me.   A top-notch breakfast and laundry service was included (yay!  Clean jeans!)  And my bathtub had its own television.  I discovered this at about 2am just after brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed.  I flicked on the TV just to take a look… then spent the next two hours in the bathtub turning into a human prune – an eyeglasses-and-nightguard-wearing prune- watching Speed.  Ah, Keanu.  Still dreamy after all these years.

Determined to make the most of my birthday lodgings, I spent several hours at the pool and then squeezed in a reservation for afternoon tea.  I have never gone to an afternoon tea before, but it seemed like a pleasant way to get lunch without leaving the building!   Leave it to me, however, to do something stupid before heading to such an upscale establishment.  In my attempts to quickly shower off from the pool before tea,  I somehow managed to aim the shower spray directly into my eyes while trying to avoid getting my hair wet.  Startled, I yelped out and instinctively bolted forward … directly into the shower wall, clocking my forehead so hard that my teeth crashed together and I felt momentarily stunned.   I made use of the minibar by borrowing a cold can of Pepsi  to hold against my swelling forehead as I got dressed.   I was pretty sure that this was not what is meant by “One lump or two?” when going for tea.

Afternoon tea at the Majestic

Afternoon tea at the Majestic

The afternoon tea was an elaborate and delicious offering of little sandwiches, scones, and cakes (although I was wondering if maybe they could dope up my tea with some Tylenol.  My forehead was really aching).  Toward the end, I saw the staff singing “Happy Birthday” with a plate holding an iced cupcake.  I pleasantly thought, oh, how nice, it’s someone’s birthday.  Then I remembered that it was MY birthday!  The dessert was not for me, however, which was just as well:  any more sugary, cream-filled baked goods, and I would have to be ordering a side of statins.

I *did* get a surprise dessert later on, though.  I was getting ready to meet up with my new friend Mike from the US for dinner when my doorbell rang.   A staff member was waiting at my door with a complimentary chocolate birthday cake!   I was so touched that I didn’t have the heart to admit that I am allergic to chocolate :(.  Not to worry: Mike stopped by, polished off half the cake before dinner, then finished the rest when I saw him the next day.  Can’t waste a good cake!

Death by chocolate...potentially ;)

Death by chocolate…potentially 😉

We got a late dinner at one of the only places that we could find that was open, a restaurant called Wong Kok.  They also had a free “birthday special” on their menu:  the largest glass of milk tea I have ever seen.  With its own ladle.

Excuse me, I believe I ordered the LARGE milk tea?  HELLO!

Excuse me, I believe I ordered the LARGE milk tea? HELLO!

We finished off the celebration in typical Zakelj birthday fashion:  singing karaoke until 3 in the morning.

Mike singing a country song

Mike singing a country song

I gotta say:  #35 is going to be a tough birthday to beat.

Categories: kuala lumpur, Malaysia, southeast asia | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “The big 3-5 in KL

  1. Mary Petelin

    What a wonderful way to spend your birthday! Happy belated! Enjoy!🎈🎁🎉

  2. It’s great to get another of your long-awaited blog entries. Wifi there must be good. When I initially saw the KL, I misread it thinking it was your whacked out version of 35 in Roman numerals. LOL!

    • My brain is so fried with the umpteen different Asian languages I have encountered in the last few months that I don’t even know if I can remember my Roman numerals!

  3. carlsonken2

    Happy Birthday. Love the So I Married an Ax Murderer reference. 🙂

    • You got the reference, hooray! The next time I go to karaoke, I’m just going to crash the microphone and start beating, “HARRIET! Sweet Harriet! Hard-hearted haggler of haggis!” and watch the expressions on people’s faces as they try to figure out what the hell is going on. LOL.

  4. Leni Dragar

    Happy Birthday Becky! I have enjoyed reading about your travels!! 😊

  5. Max

    Hippy Bathday, Becky! “It’s getting better all the ti-i-i-me”

    • Thank you, Max :). I am in Singapore now, where there are a ton of Aussie expats, and I think of you whenever I see a “flat white” on a menu. Such an Aussie drink!

  6. YouSun J.

    Dear Becky ! I read your new post regarding Malaysia and impressed your skilled composition whichmade me already in Malaysia, also pictures are very interest as spices. But unfortunatelynot enough your pictures then next time please show to readers your pictures more. Anyway I am very happy you had spent nice time in Malaysia safely and hopinggood trip contnuously, for which I pray. Best Regards,Sun J. You

    Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2014 17:11:57 +0000
    To: sunjyou@hotmail.com

    • Hey You! This was just meant as a quick birthday post (alas, I am incapable of just writing something small. Call it my talkative nature). I will include many more photos of KL when I write about the rest of my visit to the city, whenever I get around to that :). In Singapore right now staying right by Boat Quay. Too bad I couldn’t meet you for a coffee while you were here! Thank you for your kind birthday wishes.

  7. Diane Tribbett

    Happy Birthday, Becky. It sounds like a delightful day!

  8. Apolonia Zakelj

    VSE NAJBOLJŠE ❤ happy belated birthday & happy early Sv Miklavž NASVIDENJE

  9. Hi! Enjoyed reading your blog! I am from Malaysia and I never thought of staying at a historic hotel. Thinking about doing it in the future now 😀 Check out my blog for some tips if you ever come to visit East Coast of Malaysia 🙂 http://caddymanny.wordpress.com I hope that my blog will make you want to come to Malaysia again 🙂

    • Even before reading your website, I already wanted to visit Malaysia again1 I admit that I did not do a ton of research about the country before I arrived and that – mostly due to time limitations- my route through Malaysia revolved around traveling from Bangkok to Singapore by train. (It may not be evident by my previous posts, but I am a big train dork). However, after visiting both Penang and KL, I wish that I had more time!!! I really would have liked to visit the Cameron Highlands (had to nix that idea because of the recent landslides :(), Malacca, and Langkawi, although the more I read, the more I would love to see the eastern coast as well. Oh, and Malaysian Borneo. In other words, I will need to come back someday! Thanks for posting, and I will definitely check out your website more in depth. Good pictures of all that great Malaysian food!

  10. Milen@Vidko

    Becky, happy 35th, belated! Enjoyed your blog, had a similar bump on the head experience on “Italian” marble… can’t wait to see you and hear more, soon!

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