Thursday, September 29, 2005

Petronas Twin Towers Sky Bridge

Had to bring two overseas customer sight seeing in KL and where did we go to....Petronas Twin Towers. Since we arrived around 11am, I thought it would be a good idea visit the Sky Bridge. The tickets were free so we headed to the counter (Go in through the main entry of the Philharmonic Orchestra, turn left and there would be an escalator going down on the right). Luckily for us, there are still tickets left for the 2:30pm tour.

After some shopping and lunch, we headed for the tour. You could actually go earlier so that you could watch the documentary played in the theatherette. If you arrive just on time, you don't actually have time to watch the full documentary before they herd you out for the tour.

All visitors have to go through a metal detector and have their bags scanned. Shopping bags would be tagged and kept by security. A guide then herded us into an elevator and within half a minute we were on the 41st floor (if I am not mistaken). We were allowed to wander about and take photos for 10 minutes after a short briefing by the guide.

Found it quite an interesting place to go if you are at the tower and have some free time since the tickets are free. But I found out that one of my customer was afraid of height when we tried to take his photo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Vistana Hotel - 27/9/05

Vistana Hotel, Penang Island

Short 2 days trip to Penang and I thought that I would give Vistana a try. Arrived around midnight and the check in was done very quickly and without fuss eventhough I was also checking-in 2 other overseas customers.

For RM130++ the rooms are big but the amenities are very basic. The only things they provide are the coffee making offers and toilet stuffs. The bed were big and comfortable and tv channels had Astro channels.

Very dissapointed that there were no broadband in the room. Probably because I had been travelling overseas for too often but then again, this is Penang, a developed island with lots of business travellers. I asked about dialup in the room and I was given a number. Didn't work cause the call kept going towards the receptionist. So I spoke to the receiptionist, and it turned out that I have to "enable" dial out for my room phone. Tried dial up again but still could not login and after a bit of fiddling, turned out that they have given me dial-in number and not would just be 1515.

Breakfast was not part of the package and is RM15 per person but it's very basic.

If you need to take a taxi, advised to grab one outside the hotel (if you know your way and the rates) cause the "taxis" or limos provided by the hotel are very expensive.

Generally, I won't come back here unless if it's for personal holidays and checking emails are not necessary. There is TMNet Hotspot in the lobby but the lobby isn't very large and at night you would see a lot of other travellers there with their notebook. I prefer the privacy of my room.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Back to the Philippines II

Back to the Philippines 21/8 to 26/8/2005

While waiting for the flight to Manila. This isn’t one of the flights I look forward to because it’s always on a small 737 that doesn’t have any personal in-flight entertainment and can be quite a bumpy in this typhoon season. The overcast sky doesn’t enhance the mood either.

Upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International airport, I decided to make use of Shangri-La’s transport service to get to the hotel. In my first trip, I had taken the normal taxi and that cost me about 400Peso. This time, it is going to cost me USD25 but I felt much safer. Upon informing arriving at the waiting room, I was ushered to a sofa and given a choice of mineral water or tea/coffee and my room reservation was confirmed. After awhile, the brand new Camry (if I remember correctly) pulled alongside the room and I was on my way. The picture of the Jeepney above was taken in the comfort of the limo.

For those who haven’t been to the Philippines, let me first say that it’s a very nice place to visit and the people are very friendly. However, their security situation forced the government and most private enterprise to put in place tight security checks. As an example, before being allowed to drive into the lobby area, all cars are checked for bombs by 2 guards using mirrors to inspect the bottom of the car. There are also the K-9 units you can see at the back of the car, checking the boot.

Upon unloading the luggage at the entrance of the lobby, another K-9 unit is there to sniff the luggage. Most hand carried bags would also be searched. All the checks may seem to be inconvenient but it is always done with a smile and by very courteous guards – you really cannot get angry with them for doing their jobs,

View from my room. You can see Manila is a very developed place, and this view is just a tiny slice of the metro Manila skyline.

In a repeat of my first visit, they tried asking me to upgrade to another room because they are short of non-smoking rooms. I wanted to tell them for making the same mistake twice but I held my tongue since they were courteous about it – I later found out that they were undergoing some renovations. Anyway after some calls, I got my non-smoking room but without the fruit basket. I think they just cleaned out that room. I was further disappointed they did not put the basket there during the subsequent days I was there – ok, I normally would not make a big fuss about it but I do miss the mangoes : (

The study table. Nice, big, well lit and plugs that comes with adaptors for internation visitors – cool. Of course paid broadband as well.

Absolut Vodka – Time to PARTY !!!

Ok so it’s not a 1L or even a 700ml bottle of Absolut, but little bottles of liquor that’s part of the rooms, mini-bar.

Philippines Kentucky Fried Chicken in GREAT!!

Ok, KFC here is great compared to Malaysia. If anyone from KFC Holdings is reading this, please follow the recipe of the Philippines. Let’s be honest, the best part of the chicken is in the fried skin….cause beneath it is the same white chicken meat. I normally get bored after the 2nd chicken and that’s where the side dishes come in to keep the interest in the food. But here in Philippines, the chicken comes with the gravy that is used as the topping of the mash potatoes. For take away, it comes in a small container. It’s totally unhealthy and incredibly delicious. Just pour or dip your chicken in it and munch away. And when the skin has been eaten away, just put more of the gravy on the chicken and ……. Burp! I already know what I would be taking away the next time I am in the Philippines :)

//sorry no KFC pics. Would do that the next time I am there. Too finger licking good I forgot to snap any photos.