Archive for April, 2009

tropical beer notes #4

April 17, 2009

Jaz Beer – Malaysia – 5.5%


My aim for this beer note was to work in some sort of gag referencing ‘all that jazz (Stetsasonic)‘ and/or ‘all that jazz (Chicago)‘ unfortunately my segway skills are down right now. Anyhow this was actually pretty good, some upfront hops before it disappears down the throat. Did the job earlier today when I staggered back to our digs looking like I’d just been dunked in Georgetown Harbour. 10/20


totally unrelated to travel post

April 12, 2009

hot in the city

April 1, 2009


We’ve both been to KL before and were unanimous in our recollection that it lacked the “je ne sais quoi” which makes the great cities of the world so great. Nevertheless, we had a few tasks in mind that would best be completed in the city and ended up pleasantly surprised when we stumbled across aspects of KL that exuded a certain sultriness not detected on previous visits.

Task #1: Celebrate Linds’ birthday city-style. This basically meant embarking on a multi-day overindulgence-fest which left us both washed up on the shores of shabbiness. The several preceding weeks of relatively clean living had left us dramatically out of form and by jove, we knew about it. Birthday Boy‘s number one request was beers and a burger of unforeseen proportions, so we made a beeline for the one place we knew could fulfil this tall order effortlessly: the Shangri-La. Insert painful food-induced coma here. Katie and Alex once again proved to be stellar companions as they enthusiastically kept pace with our celebrations and politely allowed Linds to explain the intricacies of AFL ad nauseum over beers and shisha. Alex even allowed himself to be foolishly duped convincingly persuaded to support the mighty Dees when their travels eventually lead them to Australia.

Task #2: Obtain extended Thai visa from embassy, because 14 days isn’t nearly enough. Our maiden encounter with the idiosyncracies of Asian diplomatic bureaucracy found us drastically underprepared and lacking in multiple photocopies of relevant documents, which meant we had to traipse out embassyland on three consecutive days. Hence, most of the activities related to Task #1 were preceded by activities relating to the completion of Task #2. Way to put a dampener on a party. We amused ourselves during the endless wait by spying on other applicants with weird passports (vision of hell: travelling on a Somali passport) and eavesdropping on the dealings of said applicants with “the lavender assassin”: a tiny lady official who, although cute in appearance, shot steely looks from underneath her lavender headscarf as she scrutinised and ultimately smacked down applicants deemed unsuitable. Hilarious, so long as we weren’t on the receiving end.

So back to the sultry part. We spent a lot of time exploring Chinatown and environs noting the weird and wonderful contrasts which, upon reflection, we think contribute to cities becoming great, as mentioned above. Within spitting distance of our hotels (we clocked up 3 in total: the good, the bad and the ugly) we discovered Confucian schoolchildren endlessly performing marching practice (and seemingly, failing to improve at all); wealthy Saudi housewives dressed in full burqa haggling over knock-off Prada; and immaculately groomed (and rather beautiful) Indian tranvestite prostitutes. Add a degree of chaos that comes with the daily oscillation between tropical heat and torrential rain and you’ve got yourself the makings of a half-decent city.