October 2007 - Singapore & Langkawi
Up at 7, started packing at 9. Ran out at 1030 to finish off the shopping I was pondering overnight. They were setting up this huge lunch buffet in the main restaurant with it’s own juice bar. Note to everyone, between 1030-12 is the best time to shop in department stores because you can walk with the flow of people traffic and there are no queues at the cashiers.
Back to the Hotel at 12 for check-out, cab over to geek heaven, aka Sin Yin Shopping Mall where I wondered the 7 floors looking for a Creative sound card for my laptop, they exist, I know they do, just not here or in Australia. Also the prices weren’t as impressive as I thought. I had messaged Trent how much his recently purchased 500gb hard drive cost. They were selling it for $212, he bought his for $160. So that was one purchase that could wait until I got home.
Just down from there is a shopping area (indoor and outdoor) called Bugis Junction. All the locals were out shopping here but Charles and Keith did have my shoe size (pair number 4) and I found another pair but once again they didn’t have my size. Randomly walked past a shop that looked pretty cool and found this really nice dress that is so different in colour to anything I own that none of the shoes in my wardrobe match. After a late lunch I headed back to Orchard Road for one last look around which included the designer shops at the Hilton and the final pair of shoes from Charles and Keith (number 5).
Dolce and Gabana, I loved their shoes, I loved their lacey tops that were only $1200 each and finally I loved that pair of sunglasses with Dolce jewelled down one side and Gabana down the other and since they weren’t as bank breaking as the other two I indulged in my special treat for the trip (not to be worn anywhere when I’m likely to take them off and leave them). Funny side note, two locals walk into Dolce and Gabana, one older than the other, walks up to the lady, “I need something not too casual for my friend here.” If only things were that simple.
With my day's shopping in tow I had to return to the Hotel and cram it all into my suitcase. Only problem was that there were people EVERYWHERE. So when the bellman said I could use the waiting lounge area next to Reception I cringed. This would have been fine if there were no people around but the only chair free (and notice I said chair, it was the only chair there, the rest were lounges) was in the back corner. So when my suitcase was bought to me I thought it completely acceptable that I didn’t want to open it in front of 30 odd people. I asked for somewhere a little more private and they pointed to the seating in the reception area, personally I thought the word private was pretty obvious, but clearly not, I had to spell it out. Finally they caught up and took me to a little hallway between the driveway and the luggage store, you would have thought it a public area by it’s look and came complete with a lounge to sit on (I wonder if they use it to sleep on when it’s quiet?).
I would now like to share with you some of the customs regulations for Malaysia, although not as strict as Australia they have some interesting points…
Duty exemptions PER traveller: …Soaps and Dentifrices in open containers to a total value not exceeding RMB200 (about AUD$66). New wearing apparels not exceeding 3 pieces. New footwear not exceeding one pair. Portable electrically and battery operated appliances for personal care and hygiene not exceeding 1 unit each… Gifts and souvenirs to a total value not exceeding RM200 [Condition: Non-residents must have the intention to visit Malaysia not less than 72 hours.
Like customs in Jakarta airport however it was all talk. The customs officials just waved you through with a big smile on their faces not even looking at the customs form (not that I was going to declare anything) but I had to laugh, one pair of shoes... I had five! I arrived at the Hotel around 830 and was greeted by many a smiling face, including the duty manager. It was raining lightly and I was taken by buggy to my room which doesn’t really have a proper door, just two sliding glass doors. They open and I walk in “wow” I thought, “five nights of this will go down a treat.”
I had noticed a fruit amenity in my room, all oranges so I mentioned that I was allergic thinking that was the simplest way to make sure they don't come back (for those that don't know I used to be allergic, not anymore, but never started eating them again). This led to a phone call from the duty manager explaining that he has made a note of my allegy, that I was given ginger and lime tea on arrival, "is that ok?" telling me that I should mention it when I go to the restaurants. It was the Four Seasons service that I didn't need. I just didn't want the oranges to sit there for 5 days knowing that I wouldn't touch them. It was funny though.
I ordered room service (without any oranges) and eventually went to sleep.