The first time George arrived in Kuala Lumpur, he was pleasantly surprised at how modern the airport was. Shiny, stainless steel and glass gleaming. The drive out from the airport towards home was a breeze considering that the KLIA Expressway was a 6-lane carriageway. Some parts of the highway is an 8-lane of dual carriageway too. There were no donkey carts either…
Malaysians generally are foodie people. They greet people with, “Have you eaten?” and will fuss over whenever guests come to the house by serving whatever they have in the kitchen. The day starts off with a hearty breakfast of nasi lemak, laksa kari or roti canai, whatever that tickles your sleepy taste bud. Come 10 am, you will see half of the office has gone out for their coffee break (and some snacks). 1.00 pm is lunch. Again, there are gadzillion places for you to tuck in depending what you have in mind. Upscale western? Sure…Mid cost, quick, Western? Yeah got that too? Mexican? Spanish? Japanese, Turkish, Moroccan, French, Italian, South African, South American, Korean, Indonesian, Thai….(I still can go on and on), and of course the local Malaysian food – Malay, Chinese, Indian, Punjab and those are just some of the main group of ethnic food. There are a lot more from the sub ethnic food from the various states.
There is dinner and late supper too. If anyone calls you out for a late kopi (coffee), I can assure you it will come with food as well. It can be another round of nasi lemak, roti canai, burger or a full meal of fried rice and the works. Kinda deceiving huh?
Some of the things that made any true blue Expats feeling jittery are these:
- can I get my kind of food? (chips, cheese, soft drinks, meat, vegetable etc etc). George found his Kraft cheese dinner, Nacho Cheese Doritos and Coke Zero easily here
- will I miss my Starbucks? (there are 130 Starbucks in Malaysia with 42 in Kuala Lumpur and 41 in Selangor alone)
- access to quality, efficient and cheap medical care?
- will I be travelling on bad roads? (most highways and expressways in Malaysia are two-lanes)
- shoes, under garments, socks…(Ok, we still cant figure out this one yet)
- decent public transport (…and this too…)
Being in a Muslim country, George could not believe it when he found out that alcohol are being sold openly. Just walk into any 24-hour convenient store, you can buy beer or wine. Or finding out that mobile phones are cheap as it comes. Or how about buying original DVDs selling at RM12.00 (USD4.50)
Kuala Lumpur is blessed with huge malls and in fact four of the largest malls in the world are right smack in the Klang Valley. You want malls? You got it!
You wont miss any of your favourite chocolates here.
Looking for the perfect chips for your BBQ?
Along the way, he picked up a taste for guava and pickled guava, banana leaf rice, tumeric fried chicken, satay and the thick, sweet ABC soya sauce.
Access to medical is fairly easy. He was pleasantly surprise by the fact that it doesnt take long to see a doctor at the clinics. The plus side in addition to this is that the medicine is dispensed at the same clinic too. There was one time when we had to go to he hospital as George had fractured his ribs after tripping over at a slip at….(where else but) a Starbucks outlet…..He was seen by a doctor at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). For the consultation and an X-ray it was RM50.00 (USD17). Additionally, a whole whack of high quality medicine was an additional RM60.00 (USD20)