Photos: Bookfest @ Malaysia 2014

I figured it’s rather timely to post these while the book fair is still ongoing – just so people who love books as much as I do can still make their way to Bookfest @ Malaysia 2014.

It’s the first day of Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) and here in Malaysia, it means that everyone gets to have a long weekend. No work until Tuesday for most people as our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate the end of Ramadan and break their fast.

We had a long day today – we (along with other people from the Embassy) visited the house of the Ambassador’s chauffeur (he’s a loyal employee and has been with the Embassy here for decades) to celebrate Hari Raya with him and his family. It was nice to be exposed to their religion’s traditions which, I must admit, seemed really foreign to me prior to coming here.

And it was so heartwarming to see how his family is so tight-knit and are happy to see each other during the holidays. It’s like Christmas back at home but without alcohol and a bit more quiet. After that, my husband’s colleagues from the Embassy decided that we all drop by the Batu Caves (as it was only 5 minutes away) before going home. But I will write more about that next time. After the Batu Caves, we went home for a nap, caught the Philippine President’s State of the Nation Address via live streaming, then went to the book fair to check it out.

We weren’t disappointed. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre was filled with books and people trying to get their hands on the titles they wanted. The best part about the book fair? All the books are on sale – some with even massive discounts. Here are some photos from the fair:

The halls in the ground floor were divided into two – the Chinese and English sections.

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Creative juice: Batik painting lessons

As mentioned in the previous post, it’s basically hard to get bored in KL. I guess that’s why a lot of expats choose to move to this city or other neighbouring ASEAN capitals due to vast amount of things you can do, places you can explore, and new things you can try out. A couple of weeks back, I went with a couple of ladies that I met at the International Women’s Association here in KL to a Batik Painting lesson.

I’ve always loved painting and doing something creative with my hands so when they told me about this activity, I knew I just had to go. So at around 9:30 in the morning, I found myself walking to Kompleks Kraft (KLCC) which was a mere 10 minute walk from our condo. Yay!

It’s quite easy to spot along Jalan Conlay as it’s right next to the pretty Royale Chulan Hotel.

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Changes and boredom

KL is such an expat friendly city. It’s like Singapore, Hong Kong, and even Manila (yes, people! Manila is expat friendly! Come see it!). There are so many different things you can do that it’s actually hard to get bored.

Which is a good thing since my husband worries about me getting bored (which might lead to me getting cranky) here while he’s in the office. See, back in Manila I worked as a full-time journalist. I did TV and multimedia and was always on the go. I was doing things like this and before that, things like this and this. I’m pretty much out all day till a bit late at night – like 5 to 6 times a week.

I did stories on diplomats, foreign policy, and politicians. I covered the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice and did stories on the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue. I met lots of fun and interesting people. I also did stories on art, beauty, fashion, travel, and food which you can find here. It was so much fun but I was as crazy busy as my husband was back in the home office, making the move here to KL a welcomed change. Now, only one of us is crazy busy! 😉

definitely and obviously miss my job but the time to lie down and actually get to do some reading (I brought a lot of my books from Manila!) is such a glorious feeling! So different from squeezing in a couple of pages while my crew cab zig zags along Manila traffic!

Sometimes, I wake up basically asking myself: Do I really have free time? Or am I just forgetting something?

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KL Adventures: History in the heart of the City

Ah, so touristy of us! But you see, here’s my travel philosophy: Do the touristy stuff first, then do what locals do. Don’t you dare leave the country without doing both or else, the experience would be somehow half-baked. You see, I believe that touristy places are ‘touristy’ for a reason. (Read: When I say touristy, I don’t mean tourist traps!) They’re popular because they’re worth a visit. I’m a sucker for museums, national parks, and monuments as they are great places to learn more about the country’s history and people.

So – for my husband and I’s first free weekend here in KL, we went to Merdeka Square, the KL City Gallery, and the Central Market. Along the way, we were able to pass by beautiful vintage architecture as well as Masjid Jamek (This was around 3 weekends ago so I’m kinda late in posting this! So sorry about that – been rather busy). I haven’t been to Malaysia before and though my husband has been here a couple of times, he has never set foot in most of Malaysia’s historically important places. IMHO, going to KL just for shopping and not really appreciating the place is a complete waste of time and funds. The city is so rich with culture and diversity – it’s a must to get out there to learn and experience everything first hand!

Well, the husband does admit that his travels prior to meeting me were complete brouhahas and now, getting to visit new (and even old places) are more fun cos he now has better company. We’re cheesy like that. 😉

Where was I? Ah, our little field trip right smack in the middle of the city. We left the house at around 11 in the morning. The sun rises and sets pretty late here in KL this time of year so it wasn’t that hot yet but I still opted to bring a water bottle and stash it in my bag as we will be gone the whole day and I knew there will be lots of walking involved so I dressed for comfort.

We live within the City Centre otherwise known as KLCC and it’s pretty easy to get to our destination via the LRT (Kelana Jaya Line). For tourists, this is also the best way to get around the capital as traffic here can be pretty heavy. The best station to get off from is Masjid Jamek which is only 3 stations away from KLCC and 2 from KL Sentral (where a lot of the hotels are). The train ride costs RM1.60 (Php21.91, US0.50, EUR0.37) per person, one way. It’s a bit of a walk from the station to Merdeka Square which is our major destination but it’s the farthest thing from boring.

One of the fist things you will see after getting off the station is Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque) which is also known as the Friday Mosque. Yes, the train station is named after it so it’s easy enough to remember! 🙂

Masjid Jamek. One of capital’s oldest Mosques.

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Adjustments

Now I don’t really remember anyone saying that moving to a different country and starting a new life (read: from scratch) was easy. That’s because though it’s fun and exciting, it’s no walk in the park.

It’s been 13 days since we arrived in KL. We have finally moved into our new apartment – a two bedroom, three bathroom unit with its own storage room. It’s huge for just Alvin and I and I feel like it’s empty most of the time. And that’s because it is still quite that – empty. We’re taking it slow when it comes to buying furniture as we want the condo to look exactly the way we’ve been planning without breaking the bank.

So far, we’ve purchased the essentials and we’re predicting my decorating plans will take about 3 months to fully materialise. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that I stick to my deadline and that I am able to have everything running by then as guests ranging from family and friends will be arriving in just a couple of months.

We were told by most of the people from the Embassy that KL is a post where you would definitely be getting lots of visitors due to its proximity to Manila. No complaints there, I say. As most of my friends and our family (even the ones in the Western part of the world) are already making plans to come over and it would be nice to show them around.

Speaking of visitors, the Ambassador recently hosted the son of one of the DFA Undersecretaries who was on a short trip to KL with his friend. We had dinner with them that night and shared lots of great stories over food. I had the pleasure of getting to know the Undersecretary back when I was part of the media, covering the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) back home. The Undersecretary’s son is fun and smart – just like his dad. My husband and I had fun pointing out their similarities as he seemed like the exact (only younger) replica of his father.

Had a great time last night due to awesome food and even better company. Thank you, Amb. Malaya! 🙂 #twitter

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