Batu Caves

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[3:02 PM Sunday, 12:02 AM Sunday MDT]

This morning I had quite an unusual breakfast buffet. It was really a buffet from around the world featuring everything from pancakes to sushi to panang curry to all kinds of fruits. It was fun and my favorite thing was some Chinese ball. I don’t even know what it was.

After breakfast Trevor and I went to the Batu Caves (E101.6841 N3.2363) and had an awful time dripping in sweat and humidity climbing up the stairs to the Hindu shrine. I took pictures.

After that and a nice taxi ride back into town we went to the largest technology shopping mall in Malaysia in the Low Yat Plaza (3° 8′39.41″N, 101°42′35.04″E). I bought a new digital camera for what I thought was a very good price but a Froogle search shows me that it wasn’t the rocking deal I thought but still a little less than I would pay in the USA. But we needed a new camera anyway so I’m happy. Besides, now I can take pictures.

Low Yat Plaza is a huge shopping mall just for technology. I think it was 6 stories high with stores tucked into every nook and cranny. I needed a mouse for my computer (I thought I would be cool and leave mine at home) so Trevor and I went looking. I wound up buying a Hello Kitty mouse that my kids can use when I get home. But I swear I’ve never seen so many cell phones in my entire life!

After that we went to lunch at a Thai restaurant (that wasn’t as good as the one back in Salt Lake that I go to) and then back to the hotel for a break.

Greetins from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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[6:22AM Sunday, 3:22PM Saturday MDT]

I bet you didn’t think I was going to wind up here! When I said that I had a long flight I meant it… 16 hours straight with a quick transfer in Singapore.

I’ve always found it extremely hard to sleep on planes and only managed to get a couple of hours of sleep, 30 minutes at a time, even with the Lortab I took to relieve my extreme back pain.

I do have to say that Singapore Airlines is without an doubt the best airline in the world. Even flying coach was as nice as First Class on Delta. Not only is the service actually that, service, but the seats recline way back and have a foot rest both for your legs and to rest your feet on. They had a lounge area in the back of the plane where you could get stuff to eat (and real food, not just peanuts in a hermetically sealed bag) including fresh fruit, snacks, and ice cream. I don’t think 15 minutes went by without a waiter walking down the isle with something to eat.

Every seat had it’s own entertainment center withe more than 80 movies, video games, television stations and more. You can even play multi-player games with others on the plane.

You don’t even want to know about first class where the seat is so wide it is really a bench and it fully reclines into a full-sized bed with curtains to create your own little room. Now that is classy.

So I left at 9PM on Thursday and arrived in Singapore at 6:30 AM on Saturday. Then I had a quick flight over to Kuala Lumpur and then an 80 minute taxi ride from the airport ( 2°44′59.32″N 101°42′46.17″E) to the hotel ( 3° 9′13.13″N 101°42′24.90″E). Apparently they built the airport pretty far away.

I was at the hotel about two hours before my colleague arrived and we met a guy from CityLink and went out to lunch at the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant ( 3° 9′25.76″N 101°42′46.87″E) for Dim Sum. They guy from CityLink was afraid that I was a typical American and would want to eat at Burger King or California Pizza Kitchen. He was very happy to find out that I’ll eat just about anything (except KFC which apparently HUGE here). After lunch we went shopping and I got something for Ella that I think she will like. I also went to Tower Records and picked up a remix CD of some Alphaville songs.

At about 2:30PM we returned for the hotel for about 30 minutes and I was supposed to go back out for a meeting and dinner. I woke up the next day (Sunday) at about 4 AM. That was quite some sleep!

I’ve got to get ready for the day now and hopefully gorge myself at the breakfast buffet.

Oh, I forgot to say that the King of Brunei is staying here at the hotel. Until recently the King of Brunei was the richest man in the world until Billy Gates passed him up.

Greetings from LAX

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[4:10 PM Pacific time]

Given my fortune cookie yesterday I just had to laugh as I sit here in the terminal at LAX waiting for my next flight.

This morning as I was getting ready to leave on a business trip I discovered that during the night the van quit working again. I didn’t have time to attempt any repairs so I’m sure it will sit broken in my driveway until I get back. I guess it’s time to get a new van.

It turns out that I’ve developed a kind of ritual when leaving on a business trip. I don’t pack until the day I leave. I furriously respond to all the e-mail I can before rushing out the door. I eat lunch at Granato’s and take half of the Muffeleta sandwich with me on the plane. I go to the restroom when the plane starts to board and first thing when I get off (I have a great dislike of answering nature’s call while in the air).

I have a terrible 5.5 hour layover here until my connecting flight. My work obviously places higher importance on cost than on convenience. So I’m sitting here looking at all the people going into the security checkpoint below while I sit on the restraunt level wondering if I should go check in or if I should just sit here and get something to eat (I have 4.5 hours left of waiting).

I’m not yet disclosing where I am going because it might make my trip seem more eventful than it really is. You will have to guess and be surprised (or not surprised if you guessed right).

Sadly, my fortune took me a different way today than visiting my good friend Joe (a big shout-out for Joe over at Cherish Bound). I’ll definitely come and visit when I get back. By the way, I pretty much eat lunch at that Maverick down the street every day. I like the tacos and the Cheddar Bratwurst and a 32oz Dr. Pepper.

Why don’t they carry Dr. Pepper on a Delta? For that matter, why is the snack and beverage service on Delta so crappy? I mean, other airlines are just as crappy but they are honest about it and make fun of themselves. I think Delta believes it is still the premier airline in the world and this is just a rough patch they have to muddle through. I think it is going to get worse and worse. But I digress.

I think I’ll have some sushi here….

[6:01pm]

About an hour ago I found a table in the food court directly under some air conditioning AND with a plug in the floor. I settled in for a long wait. I’ve been checking my e-mail and other things (like writing in this blog) while connecting to a cell-modem from T-Mobile. I’ve forgotten how awful it is to use a modem and the only thing I can say thank you for is AJAX which, as you know, only loads the stuff that is needed instead of the whole page. It actually makes some applications usable. Funny that. Some of the applications I always use on broadband I immediately gave up and moved on to sites that actually work.

For the past 30 minutes people keep eying my unused power outlet. I finally felt sorry for a 10 year old boy who was walking around with his grandfather looking for somewhere to recharge his GameBoy for a long flight to Australia. I suppose if I camp out here long enough I could pimp out my extra power outlet.

Another amazing thing is the fact that there are probably 10 really good places to eat here, some of them full-blown restaurants, but the vast majority of people are eating at McDonalds. I know that when I traveled internationally I always wanted to eat at McDonalds because it was familiar and safe. I have a feeling that when Josh goes to Japan in a few weeks he will be eating there for every meal. Still, it seems funny to me.

[6:10pm]

I just figured out how long my next flight is and I’m not happy. Not happy at all. Let me just say that it is longer than I thought it would be and that always sucks. But if I said how long it was you would have some vague general idea where I was going knowing that planes fly about 500 mph. I’ll keep it a surprise.

[6:56pm]

I’ve held out long enough. I’m going to abandon my prime location and power outlet to go get something to eat and pee. I also need to walk around for the next couple of hours to stretch my legs. I might not be able to update until tomorrow.

Fortune Cookie

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I got a fun fortune cookie today at Asian Buffet:

You will do something unusual tomorrow

Keeping Track of Books

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I’ve been intrigued by library software for some time as I’ve been a book lover all my life. In the past year I’ve begun to think that I’m getting to the point where I have more books than I can keep track of.

I have a friend at work, Josh, who also has a lot of books and who uses some software to keep track of what he has. Then when he is at a bookstore he can whip out his MacBook Pro and see if he already has the book or not. I had never heard of software for tracking books before but I had thought about creating a custom database.

But yesterday I found a new website for keeping track of books called LibraryThing.com. It has a simple interface and can easily add books by scanning the ISBN barcode on the book. Another nice feature is the mobile access so I can look up my books on my phone.

But I also found some other sites such as Bibliophile, What Should I Read Next, BookCrossing, Reader² and Listal.

I also use the Now Reading plugin for WordPress on this very blog to keep track of books I’m reading and have read, which isn’t the same things as my library I know. I think I might give LibraryThing a try.

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