Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The many faces of Petronas Towers

As I mentioned in a previous post, we left town for Khmer New Year. First we flew to Singapore where we changed our SIM cards, had Starbucks, used clean public toilets (without the fear of dipping hems in puddles on the floor), checked our emails on an internet connection that wasn't slow enough to boil an egg between page loads, bought chewy gobstoppers from 7-11, bought a magazine without having to spend the equivalent of the USA's defense budget and sat quietly in airconditioning with our spoils at the gate waiting for our flight to Kuala Lumpur (yes, you can fly direct Phnom Penh to KL, it was just a couple of hundred USD cheaper to do the roundtrip during Khmer New Year). We finally arrived at KL international airport early saturday afternoon, cleared immigration, bought express train tickets into town and found the correct baggage conveyor belt. Twenty minutes later it became obvious one of our bags hadn't made it. We lodged our loss with very helpful and appologetic Malaysian Airlines staff (although I was very doubtful it was actually their fault), dodged a couple of taxi touts, found the express train platform and sat in deep thought waiting for the train. I didn't have anything especially expensive in that bag (typically it was my bag!) but it was full of stuff I would miss and couldn't readily replace- bendon underwear, bras without padding (that didn't cost the price of a private lear jet), adidas response running shoes (real ones-that again didn't cost Singapore prices) and the 20% of my current wardrobe I wear 99% of the time all of which was bought in either New Zealand or Australia where girls have hips and bums even if they are a size NZ8-10. The prospect of having to make do till July was almost too much.

Half an hour later we emerged from KL Sentral station taxi chit in hand. Ten minutes after that we opened the door of our luxurious room at Traders having been very kindly and sweetly relieved of our missing bag dilema by the girl at the front desk who rang an hour later to say our little battered orphan had been found and should be delivered to the hotel by midnight. It had been way-laid, it seemed, by someone at Phnom Penh airport who, after a generous rummage, relieved it of a near new voluptuous bottle of John Paul Gautier

I can only hope she (he) smelt nice for New Year!

After hunting down some food and a Coffee Bean cappuchino (for J and me) and hot chocolate (for M) in the mall at Petronas Towers we retired back to our room to wait for our (my) bag.

To get one of the 1400 free tickets, handed out daily, that give you access to a 10 minute 'guided tour' of the highest footbridge in the world that sits suspended between Petronas' two 88 storey towers all you have to do is ....queue.

The advice is to get there early (before the ticket office opens at 8-30am) as tickets go pretty quick. Despite good intentions we all slept through the alarm and at 7-30 made a mad scramble for the shower and then across the park to the towers just making it by 8 and as it turned out by about 40 or so people.

The queue is in the basement of one of the towers, a room barely big enough for the tightly woven line of bleary eyed curious that snaked up and down the length of the room and then down each exit door corridor.

We joined it halfway down the last stretch. A few minutes later as the office opened staff made a couple of passes, experienced eyes swiftly guestimating numbers and a small manned (or womaned in this case) sign joined the queue stating 'no more tickets today'. An hour and a half later grumbling tums and precious tickets in hand we emerged victorious. Little did we know by 5pm the skies would open up and by 6-15, our alotted time, the view from the 170 meter high bridge would look like this......

Never mind we'll get up earlier next time so we can chose an earlier tour time!

The tour was preceeded by a 10 minute 3D piece of propoganda about the highly successful, publically (government) owned largely oil and gas conglomerate, Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd ), and its state of the art, architecturally designed 'icon of Malaysia', The Petronas Towers.

The 'skybridge', which was hoisted into place by crane, symbolises 'a gateway to the future and physically, into the Kuala Lumpur City Centre', the public mall and huge park area beneath.The complex cleverly (I thought ) and subtly incorporates elements of Islamic art and design to reflect Malaysia's spirituality.

The lift to the two storey skybridge whips silently up 41 floors in 41 seconds just enough time for our guide to slip in that little gem of information. At the 41st floor you are given just 10 minutes on the bridge before the next tour group emerges in an immaculately timed exercise in control and obedience.

Despite the rain we enjoyed the experience and will probably try again next time.

Here are some of the pics we took of the towers in the short time we were there.

I always thought pictures I saw of the towers at night were photoshopped to get the silvery effect....not so these are all straight off M's little digital, snap and go camera.

1 comment:

Verity said...

Ahh! We were the silly ones that totally missed out on tickets while we were there! And I can relate about the missing bag! It seems like so many of the little things I love here cost an arm and a leg! Although in my case clothes aren't the problem -many companies still use Turkey for the manufacturing of their clothes so they are relatively cheap and varied here. My wishes are for cheese (other than fetta!), good wine, good champagne, good chocolate and good coffee - All of which you can get here - but at a huge price!

By the way I nominated you to post about things you enjoy about being a mother in a recent if you have time (and/or motivation!)...