Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gypsy Bar, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Mmmm...not sure what I think about this.
I mentioned a while back about local residents complaining about the noise coming from the street.
Well, in an effort to anticipate any clampdown from the local council Gypsy Bar have fitted this horrendous looking glass wall dividing inside from outside.
And it's sort-of changed the atmosphere of the place.
Inside is even colder and noisier than before whilst sitting outside it's a bit quieter and you can hold a conversation at 11pm without shouting (too) much.
However, it's also a little warmer sitting outside now and the air can be a little stuffier but worse than that, if you look into the bar it's like you're sitting outside a shop.
You get used to it and after a while and tend to ignore it, but it is bloody ugly.
I know why it was done, just that a bit more thought could have gone into it black aluminium frames instead of silver.
There's also no TV to watch outside but I understand that one will be fitted in time for the World Cup.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There's Just Too Many.....

If you take a walk around Jalan Bukit Bintang/Jalan Alor/Changkat Bukit Bintang area, you may find that...
There are just too many...
Convenience Stores..... selling nothing but potato snacks and fizzy drinks...
Money Changers....must be at least 25 just on Bukit Bintang alone.(Best rate is the one just down the steps in BB Plaza)
Backpacker did so many suddenly spring-up?
Foot Massage places and their annoying touts...nearly as many as there are convenience stores and some do more than feet. The general rule (so I've been told) is that if the touts outside are wearing some sort of uniform/T Shirt then it's usually legit. If they are old and tired and worn-out looking girls from China outside, then you may get a happy-ending inside.
But keep your eyes closed and think of someone else....
And those retards with no teeth who hang around Bukit Bintang offering Nice Young Lady Beautiful Massage,Sir?
Coffee any city now I guess they are everywhere but I have a big problem paying as much for a coffee as I do a beer.
and talking of come there are so many;
Irish Bars..
Tapas Bars..
Italian Restaurants..
they seem to be taking over....

If somehow you could combine all the elements above, you'll probably have the most popular place in town..

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Best Chinese Food in Kuala Lumpur?....

...probably can be found at Restoren Crystal Jade Kitchen. There are a few dotted around town, my favourite being at the Food Court level in Pavilions on Bukit Bintang.
They are also at Mid Valley, The Gardens and Lot 10.
Rather surprisingly they are actually a Singaporean outfit.
Yeah, I know, Singaporean Food is usually crap.
But they've got it right this time, or altered the recipes for the more discerning, grown-up palates of Malaysians.
Some of their restaurants are halal whilst others serve pork.
Downstairs at Pavilion is non-halal whilst they have one in the walk-through near La Bodega that is halal.
It's a nice place for a splurge on a Sunday lunchtime or at any other time really.
You know you've found a good restaurant when you have to wait for a table, although the staff seem to turn the tables quite frequently so you don't have to wait too long, say 5-10 mins.
Crystal Jade offers good Dim Sum and a very extensive menu.
Price range is mid+ level and, as you would expect for that price the service is always good.
Amongst my favourite dishes would have to be the White Radish Cake Fried With Beansprouts which seems to be cooked in a unique style here, you can always tell an upmarket restaurant as they snip-off the unsightly bits of beansprout! the Beef Noodles are also good and some of their Dim Sum comes with a dip consisting of Soy Sauce mixed with HP Sauce-a truly great combination. The wild-fried rice is very tasty but the dish from heaven has to be without doubt Deep Fried Prawns in Wasabi Sauce.
Yeah,it's pricey but once-in-a-while it does good to treat yourself.
The only bad thing to report is that it's in a bloody shopping mall and the air con can make it a bit chilly after half an hour or so.
Oh, and if you sit on the soft bench seats it seems that the table is a bit too high, either that or I'm a bit of a short-arse.
Definitely worth a try though.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Taman Negara National Park

The official tourist literature goes on and on about this place.
Me? I wasn't quite so impressed.
Nevertheless, a visit to Taman Negara is on a lot of people's to-do list and it is another excursion to get you out of the concrete jungle and into the real thing.
It takes about 8 hours to get to the National Park from Kuala Lumpur.
You will need to stay overnight for a couple of days to make it a worthwhile experience.
There is a coach service that departs the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Jalan Sultan Ismail at about 10am for a 5 hour journey via Jerantut to Kuala Tembeling from where a speedboat will take you on a 2-3 hour kidney-crunching,bone numbing ride to Kuala Tahan-the Park Headquarters.
It can be a fun journey but the boat ride is a bit too long. And hot.
At the park itself the only place to stay is at the Taman Negara Resort, which is predictable in it's mediocrity.
The food is dreadful.
Across the river, a RM5 boat-taxi ride away from the "resort" is a motley collection of ugly floating restaurants, moored in place by huge ropes that are easy to trip over in the dark.
The food here is also dreadful.
It's always a constant surprise to me that so many Malaysians seem to be constantly eating-or talking about eating that they put up with such crappy restaurant food.
And, in true local style there is the litter and rubbish strewn along the riverbank.
But, like so many Malaysian experiences, you don't go there for the food.
People go to Taman Negra to experience the jungle, which is now called "Rain Forest".
Tigers, Elephants, Panthers, Leopards, Monkeys, Tapirs-you won't see any of them.
Unless you are very lucky and are off the beaten track camping in the jungle.
If you want to see animals go to the Singapore Zoo.
The Taman Negara Resort encourages a few wild boar and monitor lizards by putting food out for them and for most people these are the only animals you'll see at the park.
You may see a few water buffalo during the boat trip.
The park headquarters provide useful maps and walking along the trails can be fun and you'll see lots of big trees but the most popular and easiest trails are cleared of any growth and are about 6ft wide.
Theses trails can get very crowded.
And littered.
Much more fun than walking/tripping over in the jungle trails is a speedboat ride shooting the gentle rapids-wet and fun!
Or try a walk along the canopy walkway amongst the tree-tops.
At night, you have a choice of either sitting on the terrace above the river drinking beer or of going to bed early. even if you bring a book, the lighting at night is too dim to read by.
The views of the mountains, rainforest and rivers can be quite spectacular and can refresh/re-charge even the most jaded person who is stuck in the concrete of Kuala Lumpur and if you've never seen rain forest before, you'll find it amazing.