KUALA LUMPUR AIRPORT
the building, they were much more advanced. I was walking with a smile on my face, really felt I'm on another part of the world. I got through the immigration easily but was held for a few minutes by one officer at the customs area who's having some issue with one of the baggage I was carrying, it was more or less 50 pcs of original garment samples of the sports brand that will be the subject of our design planning in the next few days. I showed them all my documents, my itinerary, the hotel I'll be staying, the office where I'll be going, etc. Some 2 to 3 officers even came forward, one officer is familiar with the company I'll be working with and recognized the contact person in my itinerary, the other guy took note of the hotel I'll be staying and ask for my business card. The whole episode took more or less 5 minutes, I was released afterwards. I wasn't alarmed at all coz I was there for legit reasons and the officers looked cordial but I'm a little bothered with what just happened. Anyway, the next day at my hotel room I received a call from the custom guy who asked for my business card and was surprised at his invitation for dinner, hmmm, it made me think for a while but declined the offer since I already have a scheduled dinner with my colleagues that night. But then I thought later, what if I'd accepted the offer, would it made the whole experience more memorable, makes me wonder??
One aspect of traveling that I really look forward to is getting my hands and my taste buds on the country's cuisine. I'm not picky when it comes to food but please no dogs and anything crawling! Aside from the international breakfast buffet that goes with my hotel stay which was really ample and overflowing, I always look forward to our dinner. Our lunch was forgettable although fun as we get to gather on the meeting table with the delivered food from some fast food joints and chit chat personal matters before going back to work. On our first night, our group dined at a fancy resto, the name I can no longer recall and had my first taste of Malaysian cuisine, I really liked it! Having a penchant for anything spicy, Malaysian dish became a favorite. The following night we were treated to Thai cuisine by one of the bosses of Hagemeyer who owns the Thai resto, it was delightfully delicious and my first try at eating a pumpkin pie, yummy and unforgettable!!! On our third night, it was Indian cuisine on the invitation of the guy connected with Royal Sporting House who is an Indian national. I can still remember the guy because he was really nice, charming and playful and even insisted that I joined him in his car when we went bar hopping, but he's totally harmless and a gentleman. It was really fun and unforgettable having tasted 3 different cuisines for the first time in Malaysia, all three delicious, spicy and memorable.
KLCC and PETRONAS TOWER
On my last day, I've managed to check out the city with the help of the two ladies I've befriended in the office. They offered to tour me around the city and did some shopping at KLCC Mall, a six level mall connected to the Petronas Tower, the twin tower which during that time was still the tallest building in the world. It's size and design is truly impressive. I can only look at it with amazement! Shopping is another activity you would definitely enjoy doing in KL. Their apparel and shoes styles were more current and up to date. But I had to limit my purchases to avoid excess baggage. For the Malaysian handicrafts and delicacies, they brought me to this vibrant and colorful Central Market and had fun going over the items and buying some for "pasalubong".
PEOPLE and CULTURE
A mixture of Malays, Chinese and Indians comprises the people of Malaysia. It was very evident when you go to the malls, walk on the streets, dine on a resto and in the office. It was interesting to note that in my five days of planning and working in that office, I noticed that most number of Indians were delegated to clerical jobs, while most Malays are in the supervisory level and most Chinese were in managerial level. I'm not sure if that's also the case in other organizations. Religions vary as well, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians among them. I also can't forget that in Malaysia tipping is considered rude, which is admirable and speaks volume about their character.
A LOT OF FIRST
There were a lot of firsts in this trip that made it truly memorable, that after 10 years, I can still recall significant events that happened, well except for names which I'm totally bad at. I returned there in 2006 on a side trip while vacationing in Singapore and hopefully this year again on another part of Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu. I believe, there will always be a reason to revisit Malaysia.