Back at the Shah Alam
Hotel I finally have some time to check out the hotel shopping and
surprisingly discover that the hotel has a charming little arcade
of shops. One in particular--M & M Gifts--attracted my attention.
I found out that its run by a very nice lady and her two helpful assistants.
One of the girls, Jackie waited on me by following me around the shop
with pen and paper taking (buying) notes, jokingly commenting, “Like
my secretary.” The shop is a franchisee of Royal Selangor, top-of-the-line
pewter ware of superb quality. The shop’s owner confided in
me that the Selangor factory was only 40kms away. But take note,
the factory doesn't give a 10% discount or even offer a cheaper price
so why bother when the hotel store is convenient. So convenient
in fact that I had them ship many of the heavier items home--arriving
only a few days after my return. Great local Malaysian Royal
Selangor pewter and my holiday shopping was a snap this year.
By the way, my only
gripe with the hotel—not being a Muslim—was the five daily calls to
prayers by loud speakers from the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah
Mosque, aka, the Blue Mosque. A belated conversation with hotel
manager Karl enlightened me that his hotel regulars all know the prayers
are broadcast on loud speakers so they request a room facing away
from the lovely Blue Mosque. Ok! Next time I know, but
you dear reader have advanced knowledge and can make an enlightened
Like it or not, all
good things eventually come to an end, but to lessen the pain of leaving
this wonderful country I headed for my favorite airport hangout—the
Duty Free shop. However, I had to board another plane in the
U.S. and therefore couldn't transport any type of liquid. In
the alcohol section I sadly left behind my favorite cognac and went
to my next typical Duty Free stop, the men’s cologne section.
I even came close to buying Fahrenheit’s new cologne but it was taken
back by a no-nonsense clerk, her nose upright, when she saw my U.S.
passport. What really hurt was the deal of all deals.
A top growth French wine Romanee-Conti attracted my attention at $32
a bottle. One can't even buy a bottle of Romanee-Conti
in the U.S. at (figuratively) less than a million dollars a bottle.
I tried to make
up for the “no liquid rule” by buying out all of Air Malaysia’s very
favorably priced duty free merchandise. The airline guide “Invitation
to Inflight Shopping” offered excellent merchandise with prices in
RM or USD at a favorable rate of exchange. I was sort of mollified
after having divested myself of all remaining Ringgits and a few U.S.
bucks. But, even now, weeks later I wistfully recall the Romanee-Conti
I left behind.
In August, 2007 Malaysia
will celebrate 50 years of Nationhood and Kuala Lumpur may rev’ up
a bit. But hell, who will know, the city is
already alive. I can personally attest that Malaysia has friendly
people; likes Americans; has excellent sightseeing; and that their
golf courses are priced to play. I think I've exposed the Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysian atmosphere sufficiently enough to make you want
to see the 50th National Anniversary celebration for yourself.
So book early, at the Ritz if you like, but remember to change your
money at the Central Foreign Exchange.
Perhaps a downside to
visiting the Malay Peninsula is that it’s a long trip, yet the wonders
of Malaysia make the trip worth the effort. Also, this can and
should work to your sightseeing advantage. Plan ahead so that
you can layover coming and going and visit other exotic places like,
Taiwan; Singapore, Bangkok or even Hawaii. Good travel packages
at favorable rates are out there and you'll receive excellent service
on Air Malaysia by friendly attractive hosts and hostesses.
What more could you ask for?