The boring bits

Malaysia’s commuter train system makes Sydney’s look positively fantastic by comparison. Out of four trains I caught today three were cancelled without warning. I’d be standing watching the indicator board which would flash to say the train was coming, then subtly just update the train arrival time to 20 minutes in the future.

All we did was to catch the KTM train one station away to the Mid Valley Mall. B had some local banking business to attend to, but when we got there we discovered that the cheque had been left in the hotel room. So I thought I’d just whip back to get it.

It took me over an hour, thanks to the trains.

I observed one train, presumably to Singapore, race past, pulled by an extremely noisy diesel electric engine belching clouds of black exhaust.

The electric commuter trains were neither bad not particularly good. I wonder how reliable they are though. I saw another diesel towing a commuter train bound for Shah Alam. The train was still in service, but behind the diesel was a wagon holding a big electric generator, presumably to power the train’s airconditioning.

The banking was as frustrating as banking is and Maybank seems to be very poorly integrated electronically between branches. Interestingly, they use the fingerprints associated with the Malaysian identity card to verify identity.

Tried to use their internet banking service tonight but it was down for maintenance. This country is frustrating at times.

By the end of the banking it was late and we couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere far for dinner. We were wandering around when we saw the Ipoh Chicken Rice restaurant and decided to eat there. The food, while pricier than a hawker stall, was brilliant. Finally a really good chicken curry and the chicken and chicken rice was the best I have ever tasted, especially with the lime flavoured chilli sauce.

Yet another late night, but I managed to fit in a short swim in the wonderful hotel pool before it closed for the evening. The pool area is beautifully lit up at night. I made sure to have a few goes at the waterslide as well.

Arrived back to find that my phone has suddenly picked up a whole load of email messages when it changed roaming providers. Grrrrr.

Travelling with a baby is proving to be a wonderful, but sometimes exhausting experience. Alex is a real hit with the locals, attracting admiring stares wherever he goes. Women, and even the odd guy, come over, pinch his cheeks, want to hold him, ask about his age. They aren’t used to rosy cheeks over here. One Singaporean woman even asked if we put rouge on him. A couple of Indians at Changi Airport asked to pose for a photo with Alex.

We have a lightweight stroller that we take him around in, but often I’ll end up carrying him when he starts to get stroppy, or we have stairs to climb.

Malaysians tend to stay up late and I don’t think Alex has been settled in his cot before 10pm local time (midnight Australian EST). His routine has been thoroughly disrupted and it’s left him a bit cranky at times. To settle him down we have to sing songs to him or tell him his favourite stories. I tell him about Pirate Suits and Gruffalos many, many times each day now. Each night now we send him to bed with John Williams music in the background. He’s even picky about that, likes the louder pieces. Tonight, for instance, he was closing his eyes to the main Indiana Jones theme, but when the softer love theme played in the middle he cried. I had to fast forward it to the main theme again.

I am really enjoying spending more time with him. He might whinge a bit, but he also gets very happy, waving his arms and bouncing up and down. Hopefully he’s getting something out of this holiday, experiencing the different sights, sounds and smells, experiencing a different culture even if he doesn’t understand it yet.


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