Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh man....

So the last week had been a semi-drunk fest for me. And I got nothing tosay about it all really...

I'm gonna post the rest of my vacation pics sometime soon... But I feel no need to rush it because I think no one really cares anyways...

Had a good night out drinking with a fellow Newf tonight... And I got a ride home with the lady who owns the bar...


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Petronas Twin Towers...

One of the most impressive things I saw during my trip were the Petronas Twin Towers in KL. This was the highest building in the world until a few years ago. I should clarify that yes, the CN Tower is higher but that's not a "building," it's a "tower" okay?

What makes it even cooler is that Malaysia decided to not only build the tallest building in the world, but to make a pair of them. And then they hired a different company to build the two identical towers and made them race to see who finished first.

They actually did this.

One tower was built by a Japanese company who started a month or two before a Korean company, but the Korean company finished first. Unfortunately, the Korean tower is something like an inch off of being vertical.

Oh, those Koreans...

So you're probably asking yourself what did Richard like about those buildings so much? They are only buildings right?

Well, here's my answer...

These buildings were so deadly that they looked fake. Take a look at this picture. It really looks like someone Photoshopped the towers in the pic.


And besides looking fake, they also looked like they were from the future, or straight out of Gotham City from one of the Batman movies (I'm gonna go with the one with Governor Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze).

Look at this. Truly amazing. It's how I thought the graphics of the N64 were gonna look back in the day.

And at night they look even more futuristic and badass, but it was had to get a good picture (check out the gallery to see a few blurred photos).

The final thing that makes these buildings cooler than any building you'll probably see anywhere else besides a place with big buildings is that these towers can boast that they were the tallest building of the 20th century. That's pretty rad.

It's like people say the Beatles were the best musical group of the 20th century (and we all know how ridiculous that claim is, everyone knows that it was either Color Me Badd or Diddy... I'm leaning on Diddy) but it's impossible to prove. Well, it ain't impossible to prove that you got the tallest building.

You just need a really long measuring tape.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Muslim alley...

Been lazy with the blogs. I'm back to work and my routine is starting to establish itself once again. I don't have much to write about besides vacation but every time I sit down and try to write about it I realize how big of a task it will be and I refrain.

Here's a video of the street/alley leading into the beach area where our guest house was in Penang. You can hear the cries of "Allah" from the Mosque that is off this street.

I find it creepy creepy.

Make sure you watch it with sound.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Malaysia... Truly Asia...

We left Singapore at night and hopped on a train to Malaysia. When we got on the train, we noticed a bunch of signs promoting Malaysia and the slogan was "Truly Asia."

Malaysia are celebrating 50 years of independence in 2007 so these signs are everywhere. They also had an awesome theme song that they played on the train that went something like "Maalllllayyysiiiaaaa.... Truuullyyyy Aasssiiiiaaaaa...."

It was a really good song.

So we took the night night and it was freezing. They had the AC blasting and it was so cold I could barely sleep. I eventually fell asleep for a few hours and when I woke up it was light outside and I was half shocked when I looked out the window.

The scene was jungle like and this just caught me off guard. It was at this moment that yeah, I felt kinda "truly Asia" ya know. This was different than Korea. It was different than Canada. It finally felt like SE Asia because Singapore didn't. Singapore just felt like I was in nice city anywhere in the world. But now, surrounded by jungle trees and canopy and understory it felt different and it's the first time I've ever experienced a landscape like this.

I spent the rest of the ride staring excitedly out the window until we arrived in Kaula Lumpur.

Kaula Lumpur, or KL, is the capital of Malaysia. I never heard of the place until Sam told me we were going here on this trip.

We arrived at our guesthouse, called "The Greenhut Lodge." This was definitely the best place we stayed during the entire trip. The vibe was very relaxed there and we met some cool people. The most notable people were these two Arab guys. One was from Iraq, now living in Syria teaching Math. I don't remember where the other guy was from but he was a pervert, but it was funny.

An hour after we met these people we were off to some bars and on the way there the topic of ladyboys came up. In SE Asia, there is an unnatural percentage of dudes who get sex change operations into women, and then many of them somehow end up being prostitutes.

So anyway, he starts talking a bit more quietly and admits that he was so drunk a few nights back that he woke up and realized the "girl" next to him was actually a ladyboy. He had no shame in saying this and kind of brushed it off by saying "Hey, how do you know if you like something if you don't' try it?" Good way to justify it I s'pose. He soon admitted that this never would have happened if he didn't get totally shitfaced, so at this point, I made a promise to myself not to get overly shitfaced. Drunk was okay, but I didn't wanna end up at the point where I'm confusing ladyboys for women. It's quite easy to tell in most cases... That is unless you have three or four sets of beer goggles on.

We soon made it to the bar but I was starving and the girls didn't wanna eat so I went and grabbed a bite. When I got back everyone was starting to get into the party but I knew this wouldn't be my scene so I left my crew and went exploring the rest of the bar. I saw these two girls from our guesthouse sitting at a table on the outskirts of the bar. This was more like my scene so I sat and drank with them for the rest of the night.

The bar was pretty much a big ol' meat market dance club. If I'm with the right people I can a lot of fun at these places, most notable if I'm with a few male friends and we're all equally making fools of ourselves, but the people I was with on this night actually liked this kind of bar.

Sam and Leah were both pretty trashed by the end of the night but I was still sober enough to tell the difference between real women and men who turned themselves into women. They were ready to go home so they walked back with a Malay guy who was staying at our guesthouse. We was from KL, but claimed he was in a gang and was kinda hiding out or something. He did have some crazy scars according to the girls.

I stayed drinking with the Irish girls for a little bit and then they went back to the guesthouse as well. I wanted to go do some exploring so I walked up and down the street a few times. This street was pretty much just a strip of bars, but every place I walked by was just another shitty dance club.

I decided it was time to go home but realized I didn't really know how to get back to our guesthouse. I walked in a direction that seemed right but after walking around for 30 minutes I knew I wouldn't find it. By now I had forgotten the name of the guesthouse and all I knew was that there was a 7/11 and a KFC really close to it. A taxi seemed like my best bet.

In KL, none of the taxis have meters so you have to bargain all the time. It only cost us 10 Ringgit from the train station to our guesthouse but now the cabbies were tryna charge the silly tourist 20 Ringgit, when the distance was only a fraction of the 10 Ringgit trip.

The fifth cabby I tried said he'd do it for 10 Ringgit, which was still a ripoff but I knew I wouldn't get it for any cheaper. And plus, 10 Ringgit is only like 3 bucks Canadian.

So I made it back to the guesthouse and the girls, the Arabs, and some other people were sitting outside hanging out.

It was a good night and most importantly, I didn't end up with any ladyboys. The time I spend wandering around looking for the guesthouse could have been disastrous because there were lady boys out looking for prey, not to mention regular hookers. I just tell them that my wife is waiting back at the hotel and then they usually back off.

This works for the random cabbies who are also out tryna make themself a buck by being half-cabby half-pimp. The world is kinda ugly.

But not nearly as ugly as those ladyboys...

More on KL later. I gotta eat something now.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Singapore? You ain't pore...

First thing I gotta say about Singapore is that the place is really nice, organized, and definitely not pore.

I can remember learning somewhere during my studies that Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world and I would have to agree with this truth. Especially considering that this city is located in Southeast Asia. Dare I say it, but the place almost reminded me of Calgary, only not so spread out and nicer.
You can't buy chewing gum here. It's actually illegal. But even crazier is the fact that people drive sensibly and stay in their own lanes. People on scooters and motorcycles don't ride on the sidewalk and they actually follow the same rules as the cars and don't weave in and out of traffic. It's a really civilized place...

Almost too civilized.

We only spent one night and one day in Singapore but that was long enough to see just about all of the city. We visited Chinatown, Little India, walked the waterfront, and went to a bar during the night. We walked just about everywhere we went and it wasn't far.

We spent our one night at a place called Chimes. It was kinda like a walled-in courtyard with a bunch bars in the middle. The places were nice but it was damn expensive. Nearly ten Canadian dollars a beer which is way too much. We knew it was an expensive city and that's why we planned to only stay one night, but I'm sure there were some cheaper options we would have found if we had more time there.

Besides the expensive booze, the worst thing about Singapore was that we had to share a room with other people. One of the people staying in our room woke up and turned the lights on and woke us up.

He was from B.C. and when we told him we were Newfs he made some bad joke about inbreeding. I'm all down for making and receiving fun but you gotta give the relationship a little time to foster before you start hauling out the guns.

With that one comment our attitude towards him soured, but he kept up, hitting on the girls and then talking about his kids back in Canada and how they like Sponge Bob.

On top of this, he was too old to be staying in a cheap hostel, but at the same time kept saying that the made good money in Southeast Asia attempting to get us to ask him what he did. No one asked.

When we checked out I forgot my sheets so I had to run up and grab them. Dude was still in the room and said something like "Well, good luck with your travels and I hope you don't end up in a room in Malaysia with a bunch of weirdos. That can make your trip really bad."

It's a good thing we spent such a short time in Singapore because he definitely coulda been a trip ruiner.

Here are some fridge magnets I bought. I think they kinda sum up the place better than I can.
For those of you who need some translating, urinating means takin' a piss, and lifts are elevators.

Unlike the rest of the world, you can't piss in an elevator here. What a stupid rule...
But I think this is allowed in Singapore. It's a weird world...

Back to civilization...

Yo. I'm back in Seoul and all ready for work tomorrow. It's impossible for me to express how happy and excited I am to be going back to work so I won't even try...

Before I get going on the vacation, I gotta mention that I went to watch some WBO boxing in here in Seoul before I went to the South East. The fights were decent but expensive. Cost almost $200 Canadian for six or seven fights, but little did I know that the price included a four course meal consisting of salmon sushi, yellow soup, a decent steak, and dessert.

The ring was set up in a giant ballroom in the Lotte Hotel at Lotte World. Strange venue for a boxing card. There were chandeliers on the ceiling and the tables were exquisitely decorated. Everyone was in suits or at least office casual but I showed up with a hoody and jeans. I wasn't expecting a night of luxury, I came to watch people fight.

Anyways, the fighters were mainly Korean, with a few Filipinos thrown in.

All in all a good night, even though I couldn't convince anyone I knew to fork out the cash and go with me.

I makes me wish boxing was still popular like it was 10 years ago. If these fights were UFC or some shit it'd be a whole different story and I'd have a giant posse.

People just don't have the attention span for boxing anymore and would rather watch two men hugging on the ground for 5 minutes until someone lands enough elbows to the face that it is only humane to stop the fight.

Well, dunno what you're into but I can't say into men hugging.