And we’re off! the first few days in Kuala Lumpur

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After 4 days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia we?ve finally found the time to start writing this blog. We’ve quickly realised that overnight flights at the start of the holiday can be rough. Getting a good night sleep on a plane is really hard. Overnight is OK for flights where you are returning home as the kids are back in a familiar environment and you can all rest for the next few days. But at the start of a trip, overtired children in a strange new country where you have to find food, transport, your accommodation and adjust to so many new things? well its not a great way to start a holiday. Of course it did mean we got our body clock on the right time straight away. We arrived at 4am, 3 hours before sunrise. As soon as we got our bags we took the kids to enjoy their favourite part of Malaysia ? McDonalds Breakfast Happy Meals (with toys)! I finally convinced Colin to brave public transport (for perhaps the third time in the 10 years that I?ve known him) and we caught AirAsia?s Skybus into KL.

At 9RM for adults and 4RM for kids it?s much cheaper than a taxi (80RM). My only tip would be don?t let a 4 year old choose your seats because they will choose to sit up the back, which was bumpier than a rollercoaster ride. Hayley managed to somehow sleep on the trip in thankfully. The Skybus dropped us off at KL Sentral station and from there it?s was 5 min walk with all our bags to catch a monorail to our hotel.  Thankfully by this stage the sun had risen. I was starting to feel like we had somehow missed a day. By now we were all tired and looking forward to a nap ? but unfortunately we weren?t smart enough to book an early check in to our hostel, Hotel Paradiso, so after leaving our bags there we had to wander the streets of KL. Nothing opens there till after 10 except for Starbucks and even movies don?t start until 12-2pm. We also didn?t realize that it was a public holiday so things opened even later than usual.

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We found our way to a Gloria Jeans where all the staff fell in love with Hayley and spent the next hour trying to win her over. Eventually the kids got tired of sitting there so we wandered around closed shopping centres looking for something to do. Eventually we gave up and went to another MacDondals. Thankfully Hotel Paradiso must have taken pity on us and had our room ready by 12pm so we could all finally have a long awaited sleep before heading to our favourite street café on Jalon Alor. The food was just as good as we remembered. The kids discovered a new dish, chicken fried rice that they liked and alternated between eating that, plain rice and huge slices of watermelon.

The first few days in KL the kids were exhausted. Recovering from an overnight flight and getting used to a strange country has taken the kids a lot longer than we expected. Even with daytime naps and early nights, they are still overtired. On our second day in KL we went to the wading pool and playground at KLCC. Again, embracing our new long term, budget travel status we walked from our hotel to KLCC – around a 20min walk. We discovered the Pavillion Shopping Centre, which almost has to win an award for the cleanest shopping centre in Asia. Decorations for Chinese New Years were everywhere. Hayley quickly discovered that the floor on the walkway through Pavillion was slipery enough for kiddy-urban skiing. As soon as we got there she grabbed one of our hands each, locked her legs and slid along the floor as if she was skiing. Noah wanted in on the action too and we proved quite a sight. After our long walk, we made if to the wading pool at KLCC.

The water was very cool and shallow, with several waterfalls. Noah spent his time running through waterfalls and trying to jump into a tiny circular pool that 10 babies were sitting in. He really didn’t understand why I came running over like a crazy woman dragging him out of it until I quietly explained that small pools of water filled with babies tend to be not so much water as wee. Ever the master of subtlety, Noah spent the next ten minutes asking me loudly why all those other kids kept jumping in wee. Perhaps I was over paranoid but hey, a 1m circular pool filled with babies just doesn’t sound sanitary to me! After the swimming pool it was off to the playground until we were all too hot and tired to play anywhere.

We headed back to our hotel for a rest while Colin went to do some work. On our third day we trekked back to KL Sentral to sort out the ongoing Asia Air refund debacle. Another lesson we have learnt over the past few months is never try to cancel flights with AirAsia. Firstly most of the call centre staff have no idea how to cancel flights. It tok Colin two months of talking on the phone to arrange cancelling the flights, which were eventually refunded to us as a credit minus fees (they can?t just cancel for some reason ? we initially just requested this so our travel insurance could cover our losses). And don?t even bother asking for a written receipt stating your credit value and any fees/charges to take to your travel insurance company!

By the time Colin got through the hours and hours (and I’m not exaggerating) on the phone to Air Asia to arrange the credit everything was sorted… except of course the written receipt and the fact that to use the credit you have to call AirAsia to use it. Again Colin was back on the phone before he eventually gave up. Anyway… fast forward to the present day and thankfully Air Asia is very easy to deal with in person, as opposed to the three months on the phone that have nearly sent Colin insane. Within 15 minutes Colin had everything sorted and our flights to Bali were booked. After sorting out our AirAsia issues, it was off to Lake Gardens to enjoy the worlds biggest playground (well the biggest we?ve ever seen) until it got so hot we ran out of water and had to treck back to Hotel Paradiso for a drink and naps. Day 4 saw Colin off in search of wifi to do some work so we headed back to KLCC (kiddy urban skiing on the way of course) so I could take the kids to an interactive music display at Petrosains.

For 6RM for the three of us it was a bargin. Of course the kids were hoping that Petrosains still had a dinosaur display we saw on our last visit – but that has moved to elsewhere in Malaysia. When Noah was told this he cried for 20 minutes until the staff found us the address for the exhibits new home. Our mission for our next visit to Malaysia is to track down the dinosaurs at their new home! The music display was really better suited for older kids, but that didn’t stop Noah and Hayley enjoying playing air guitar, electronic harps and starting their own new disco dancing craze in a special room that was supposed to demonstrate the difference between normal, stereo and surround sound systems. I couldn’t get them to stop dancing long enough to explain the purpose of the exhibit, so eventually I gave in and joined the crazy dancing (thankfully it was a fully enclosed small room that no one could see into and I choose to think there were no security camera’s).

After enjoying a smoothie from Juice Boost we met back up with Colin and took the kids to ToysRUs to look around. Another successful morning had, we headed back for another rest before it was time to track down Nana and Poppy at the hotel. Which much to Hayley and Noah’s delight was just past the kiddy urban skiing areana, better known as the walkway outside Pavillion shopping centre. By now, as soon as Hayley sees the building she grabs our hands and you can actually feel her muscles tensing in preparation with every step closer we get. At least its cheap entainment!

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