Monday, July 04, 2005

This entry is about the events of last weekend so it's a bit backdated.

Amy, Vince, June and I survived each other's company over a 2-night trip upcountry. On Anthony and Wendy's invitation, we spent both nights triple-sharing a room at the Ritz-Carlton, KL, to attend their wedding on Saturday evening.

We arrived at KL's Bangsar district exactly 5 hours after we left the First Coach office at Novena Square as scheduled. On the way up, we had only 1 rest stop at a place where, to our surprise, we found an A&W outlet serving our favourite root beer in chilled mugs. But we were a little anxious that the bus might leave without us (not much shopping, eating and toilet activities we could do in 20 minutes anyway) so we grabbed our root beer in paper cups to go.

KL has pretty much everything: big, impressive buildings and monuments; busy public and private transport systems; and lots of happenin' people and hip places to visit. Everywhere you look it's a bit different from the last place you looked at, not like the cookie-cutter scenery we get here -- the same stores with the same deco and layout whether downtown or in a "heartland" mall. Smaller-scale family businesses also thrive here in the low-rise areas. It's nice to see that big business hasn't completely run rampant and taken over.

KL is also dusty and grimy, and despite the effort made to keep the streets clear of litter, there seems to be a dull grey coating of some powdery substance over every building in town. Pollution, the price cities pay as they grow in size, importance and population.

After checking in on Friday night, we went out for dinner and a taxi ride to the Hard Rock Cafe where June confirmed her arrival in yet another foreign city by purchasing a few HRC t-shirts, one of which I became the lucky recipient of. Thanks, June! We walked to the KLCC at the base of the twin Petronas Towers in the hope of catching a midnight movie, but it looked like the rest of KL also had the same idea. We made a u-turn and went back to our hotel where we met Weng to go over some details for the wedding.

Saturday morning we woke up too late for the Ritz-Carlton provided breakfast so we followed Weng's directions in search of a certain famous "Muk Kut Teh" stall on Jalan Medan Imbi. We ordered from the first stall we came to and though June later scouted ahead and declared we were at the wrong stall, our herbal pork garlic soup was still better than the stuff we get in Singapore.

From breakfast we walked to Berjaya Times Square and made a bee-line for the Baskin Robbins, another treat that has gone extinct where we live. Of course, you know what else is in this building that would be a great attraction for June and me: the indoor roller coaster operated by Cosmo's World. Amy isn't into thrill rides so we abandoned her outside and paid 25RM each for an unlimited pass into the theme park.

"Supersonic Odyssey" is quite an extensive ride passing through every part of the indoor theme park. It starts high, which saves the initial clacketty climb and whizzes through a course boasting several banks and a few twists before ascending in the middle of the ride so as to plunge through 2 great non-consecutive loops before the end. We came out dizzy with wobbly legs and at least for June and me, eager to do it again later.

We didn't have much time so we went to try out the other ride that we thought was worthy of our time. "Space Attack" is a twin suspended "Viking" like ride that begins with a standard "Viking" type swing then goes into 5 rapid 360° loops one way, then another 5 backwards. Oh, the screams! Thrill factor way above the coaster I would say.

We were needed back at our hotel soon, so Vince ran off to find Amy while June and I stayed on to ride the coaster one last time to get our money's worth. We walked back to the hotel drenched in a sudden downpour.

As soon as we got ourselves showered and dry,Weng brought in Edward and Cheryl to meet me to rehearse our tribute to Anthony and Wendy. It was a short, [mostly] true dramatization of the love story behind the happy couple. Obviously, Edward played Anthony and Cheryl played Wendy. Weng was the narrator and also Wendy's mom, and me, well, I played "everyone else": Anthony's friend, Wendy's friend, and boring lecturer. Perfect casting, then.

Our "play" seemed to have gone down well. No vegetables came hurtling down our way, but that was probably because we were scheduled to go on before the dinner's first course.

You already know how the wedding went so skip to the next day where the 4 of us went back to look for our elusive pork soup for breakfast and went to the right place this time. Unanimously, we decided that yesterday's was marginally better.

Back at the hotel, June and I had a little time to kill before catching our coach back to Singapore. The 4 of us explored the hotel swimming pool and spa then went up to the 19th floor lounge for another round of coffee/tea and a read of the daily newspaper. We met Weng, Luanne and Desmond there too and yakked a bit before we had to leave. Amy and Vince were booked on a later coach so we took leave of them too, leaving them to their own devices until check-out time.

Waited for the coach at the place where it dropped us off the night before, which was the wrong place to catch it again. Fortunately, we were a little early so we decided to explore the area while we waited, and found the coach parked around the corner where other passengers were boarding. That was a lucky break for us.

Home by 1700. What a weekend!

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