Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I’m writing this from Tokyo, where I’m laid over watching a steady afternoon rain shower while awaiting my transpacific flight to the US. For the first time, I’m flying into Seattle as the port of entry. Anything to avoid Los Angeles, an airport I truly deplore. The 7-hour flight up to Japan from Singapore was great. I had three seats to myself on a nicely outfitted Boeing 777-200, slept over half the flight, got fed twice, and watched some TV shows on the nice little personal widescreen LCD. It was even a touch screen, eliminating the need for the retractable-cord remote. Honestly, that was probably the nicest aircraft I’ve flown on… and it’s Delta. I’ve been quite impressed with their international service as I’ve flown with them the last couple of trips back to the US. The meals are not that great, but they’re okay. If they notched up the food quality a bit, flights on that particular aircraft would compare favorably with some of the best Asian carriers.

This is just a short visit home – a couple of weeks away from the stress and uncertainty of my life in KL as of late. Most this has arisen from having to move soon… my landlord sold the condo I’ve been living in, and the new owner is planning to live in it, not rent it out, so I’ve been looking at numerous places over the past few weeks, trying to find something acceptable, but without much luck until literally the day I flew out from KL. I found a nice unit at Perdana Emerald, a condo development just down the street from where I live now. So I’ll get to stay in Damansara Perdana, after all. Even though it’s being ridiculously overbuilt, as I mentioned previously, the fact of the matter is that it’s a very small enclave and there are, at the moment, only seven condo complexes from which to choose. Three of those are immediately bumped off the list for me for their units being either far too small (Ritze Perdana and its sequel, Ritze 2) or far too large (Armanee Terrace). So that left only four developments, and I wasn’t particularly keen on two of them, leaving only the place I currently live, and Emerald. I figure these must be pretty decent places to live, because neither of them have lots of available units for rent, unlike Metropolitan Square and the tragically misnamed Perdana Exclusive. (Seriously, there’s nothing exclusive about it at all… though it’s certainly an okay place, it is, in fact, the oldest and least impressive of all the developments in the township.)

The condo I found in Emerald is substantially larger than my current place. Still three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but this one is over 1,400 square feet and on the tenth floor overlooking Emerald’s excellent pool. I confirmed acceptance of this unit literally three hours before setting off for my flight down to Singapore. I’m not that happy about having to move, but I’m hugely relieved that I found a place. I hadn’t realized how stressful the looming homelessness was to me until I felt the weight of that stress lifted once I settled a new residence.

Another source of uncertainty lately has been my job. I won’t go into great detail here, but suffice it to say I’m looking for other challenges and opportunities, and one of those coincided with my time in Singapore yesterday. I timed my layover there to give me ample time to meet with someone from a company that is looking to expand into Malaysia. We’ll see how things progress – there’s no hurry to jump into something else, and I have a couple of other options in KL as well, so as things evolve, I will write about it here. Expect some changes, though.

Let’s see, what else… oh, car news. I’ve officially sold the Proton Tiara. I had been letting one of my good friends drive it for the past few months, but the road tax and insurance renewal was coming due, so I figured it was as good a time as any to sell it off. I listed it online and sold it within a day, for about RM1000 less than what I initially paid for it back in September 2008. What a great, cheap, crappy little car it was for me. In other car-related news, I had my first KL fender-bender (in my Kia) about three weeks ago. One of my friends and I were driving in a massive jam on a Saturday afternoon, heading to dim sum lunch (naturally), and in the stop-and-go traffic, we were stopped when a car slammed into us from behind. After taking a few seconds to ascertain what had actually happened (it’s amazing how easy it is to be confused and shaken when something like that happens so suddenly), I got out of my car, fully expecting to see my rear bumper in shambles or hanging off the car or something. I was stunned, though, to see that it was barely even scuffed! Now, the other guy’s car, a Perodua Myvi, was a big hot mess. The front was crumpled, the headlights were all wonky, and the radiator was busily disgorging its contents onto the road. Wow. The Myvi looks nice enough, and is indeed Malaysia’s most popular car for I think three years running now. However, if you want to play bumper cars on the highways of KL, this is not a good choice of car for you. When telling my friends in KL about the accident, exactly none of them were surprised that the Myvi fared so poorly in even a minor collision. Anyway, the other driver wanted to just pay for the damage rather than getting the police and insurance companies involved, so we exchanged information, and, still a bit rattled, my friend and I headed off for our lunch.

Fast-forward a week, and I took my car to my beloved mechanics and asked if they could refer me to a body shop to repair and paint the bumper. Even better, they just took care of it for me. I left my car with them and picked it up the next day, completely repaired. It was only RM280 for the bumper and RM30 for a new registration number plate (the “5” was broken). So I texted the guy who had hit me with the information, and within 15 minutes he had “banked in” the money to one of my friend’s bank account, and my friend just withdrew the cash and passed it to me. It was virtually effortless, and I’m so grateful that the guy who hit me turned out to be honest and efficient like that. That said, I hope I can go the rest of my time in Malaysia without any more accidents!

So that should get everyone up to date on the last month or so. I’m looking forward to some “down time” back in Colorado. It’ll be great to see my friends and family, and it will even be nice to have some relatively cooler weather for a change. We’ve gone nearly a week without any rain in KL and it’s been stupendously hot and sunny for days. It’s bad enough that locals, who virtually never discuss the weather, are doing just that. Okay, about an hour until my flight leaves… I think it’s about 8 or 9 hours to Seattle, but not sure. Will catch up later and post some pics!