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Thaipusam – Extreme Acupuncture

(From February 9, 2012)

Well that’s not something you see every day. We got another four day weekend because of two holidays. The Islamic Prophet Muhammad’s birthday was on Sunday so we got Monday off. I celebrated by going to this big theme park/casino called Genting, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Tuesday was a Hindu holiday called Thaipusam. I went to the Batu Caves where the festival is held each year. One of the things people do for Thaipusam is pierce themselves and hang things off the piercings. The idea is to be a form of penance where one gains favor from the Gods. I opted not to participate.

Now on to something lighter. Monkeys!

The Batu Caves are also known for the large amount of monkeys that live there. And there are a lot. At least there were when I was there a few years ago. It appears the monkeys have also opted not to participate in the Thaipusam rituals and were all hiding or asleep.

As mentioned before I went to this place called the Genting Highlands on Saturday & Sunday. Basically it is a small resort on the top of a hill (about 6,000 feet up) that’s about 45 minutes away from KL. It’s a combination of about five hotels, a theme park, mini-mall type thing, and about four casinos. The best way I can describe it is “tacky”. Unfortunately Genting is aimed more towards families than adults and I happened to go on a holiday weekend so it was swarming with kids. The casino’s there weren’t anything to write home about. Although I guess in a way I am writing home about them… They had a bunch of games I didn’t know how to play. I should probably get familiar with Baccarat if only so I can be more like James Bond. They had Roulette as well and before some of you ask, no it was not that type of roulette.

I’ve begun the apartment search and seen a bunch of places. I’ve narrowed it down to my top choices and now get to have the realtors start negotiating with the different places. Let’s see how it goes. On Monday I walked around the area of my top choices to get a feel for where I could eat/shop/lounge. One of the stores I went into was playing “Getting’ Jiggy With It”. Good old Will Smith music. I had forgotten that song existed. Haha.

I also got up “early” (9 AM on a Holiday) to watch the second half of the Super Bowl. Wish the Niners were in it, they would have won. Oh well, I was glad to see the Patriots lose anyways. And for those keeping count of Super Bowl rings: Eli Manning 2, Peyton Manning 1. Now who would have thought that five years ago.

Last weekend we went on a jungle canopy walk where we got to walk on a series of rope bridges about 100 feet above the jungle floor. It was really cool and also gave a great view of KL off in the distance. Being in a jungle compound high above the floor I couldn’t help but wonder where the velociraptors were. Maybe I’ll see them next time.

The jungle walk was at a place called FRIM. Naturally the GPS on Joe’s car tried valiantly to take us to the wrong place. Before we knew it, we were at some random person’s house in a deadend on the wrong side of the jungle. D’oh. It reminded me of going to pick Zach up at the Navy base in Monterey and Google Maps told us to take a road onto the base that had signs saying “if you go any further you will be shot”. You just have to love technology sometimes.

Well that’s about it for now.

Regards,

-Chris

Oh, and I’ve also decided to start including random quotes from TV Shows/Movies/Actual Conversations at the end of my emails now. Today’s is from the new season of Archer. Enjoy!

(In the jungle and Cyril has just disappeared)
Archer: I looked away for literally one second.
Lana: Well where the hell did he go?
Archer: I don’t know it’s like he just…
*Archer tenses up and starts scaning the trees*
Lana: Mmmm. You’re looking for Predator aren’t you?
Archer: Yes.
Lana: A couple things: a) He’s invisible.
Archer: Not totally. He has a telltale shimmer.

They Can’t All Be Winners

(From January 22, 2012)

Greetings from tomorrow,

It’s Chinese New Year today which means I have today (and tomorrow) off from work. There is only one thing to say to that and I think Homer said it best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opk4x7jzRS4

There were some fireworks last night but I was hoping for more. I was also hoping they’d let me go on the roof and throw fireworks off, but that was a no-go.

For those who don’t know, Chinese New Year is kind of a big deal on this side of the globe. It is traditionally a time for families to get together which meant there was a mass exodus from KL as people went home for the long weekend. In addition to everyone leaving, a lot of the stores close down. Luckily it seems that most of the bars didn’t get the memo on that.

I woke up early this morning to watch the 49’ers and Giants battle in the NFC championship game. Sadly after fighting valiantly for over four quarters and well into overtime, the San Francisco 49’ers were defeated by the New York Giants. It was a good game and a good season for the 49’ers and I am very optimistic for the future. Hopefully they can start drafting good WR’s because they got basically nothing from their WR’s this year. Even in tragic defeat, the 49’er faithful can take solace in several things:

– The 49’ers way overachieved this year which bodes very well for the organization and coaching staff.

– The Giants were the better team on that day and will hopefully be able to slay the NFL demon that is the New England Patriots, again.

– And lastly, Dallas missed the playoffs, again. Take that Tracy!

After two weeks of work, things are starting to shape together. I’m getting to know my coworkers and they all are pretty nice. There is definitely a lot of work to be had here so I imagine I will be putting in copious amounts of overtime once again. Although I suppose that is the same in every professional service business.

On Friday it was raining when I left work and I decided to brave the elements to walk home. Traffic was gridlocked so I couldn’t get a taxi, the rain didn’t look to be stopping any time soon, and I had an umbrella so I figured “Why not?”. That was an interesting walk. Every intersection I crossed was flooded so I had to try and find areas with as shallow of water as possible. It felt like I was playing Oregon Trail and trying my luck at fording the river each time. Some were less successful than others. I still don’t think my shoes are dry. And I lost an ox.

I haven’t been able to start apartment hunting yet as the realtor I’m working with is off for Chinese New Year. When I do start checking places out, I’ll include pictures for those interested.

Lastly, I leave you all with the most important piece of information of the new year. Archer has started up its third season. For those who don’t know, Archer is a TV show that is a cross between Arrested Development and James Bond. It’s one of the best things on TV right now with a great cast including Dr. Kreiger…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HAjloKP3yc

Gung Hei Fat Choi,

-Chris

In Case You Hadn’t Heard…

(From January 15, 2012)

The Niners had a Glorious Victory this weekend! I woke up Sunday morning and immediately checked my phone to see the status (the game started at like 5 AM here).

Saints 32, 49’ers 36. A good start to the Sunday.

It was an epic battle until the end with the lead changing 4 times in the final few minutes. But in the end, the side of good prevailed and the Saints were vanquished. Alex Smith gave a performance fitting of the number one overall pick by throwing for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards as well as running for another touchdown. But the hero of the day has to be VD. That’s right, Vernon Davis.

Seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns with one of those being the game winner with nine seconds left. Nine seconds! The defender hit him as soon as he caught the ball and not only did he make the catch, but he knocked the defender on his ass!


Game over. Niners win.

In other news, I got an additional phone yesterday. This one is a Samsung Galaxy S2 that weighs next to nothing and so far is pretty kick ass. I need to figure out how to get the swype typing to work though. One of the nifty things about the phone is that it is linked to my Gmail account and the Google Messenger system. So if you would like to talk to me but think that it isn’t worth fifty cents a text message, just use G-Chat and I should be online. I’ll still have the other number from my previous email, but that’s a prepaid phone that I’ll mostly just let other people use when they visit.

The first week on the new job went well. It’s hard to get a good idea from just a week though. I’ve been walking home from work each day which is about a 20-30 minute walk out in the heat and humidity. Luckily the hotel has a pool. I’ll have to remember to look for that when getting an apartment.

Ok, I think I’m gonna go read by the pool. I finished the second Game of Thrones book and am already on the third one. All I can say is: Tyrion for President.

(For those unfamiliar with the books, watch the HBO series version. Tyrion (Imp) is the best character by far.)

Strength and honor,

-Chris

Back on the grid

(From January 8, 2012)

Hello all and greetings from tomorrow,

I have managed to safely cross the Pacific Ocean and arrive in Kuala Lumpur (KL), although some may say that the pilots had more to do with that than me. I’ve spent the last couple of days settling in and getting setup with what I’ll need while here such as a phone and more visa pages for my passport. I also got this nifty wireless router device that picks up the 4G signal in the city and allows me to get internet on all my devices. Before that I was pretty internet-less as I didn’t want to pay the $15 a day to use the hotel internet, hence why this email is coming now.

Tomorrow is the first day of my new job and I’m anxious to get going. Actually I’m anxious to be several weeks in. You know, the point where you have things better figured out and not everything you do is brand new and you can actually remember the names of most of the people you’ve met. But one step at a time I suppose.

My experience in Kuala Lumpur so far has been pretty favorable. The people are nice and there is a wide variety of delicious food that is also cheap. I’ve been happy to find that my body still has its “Singapore” setting so I can walk around outside for a decent amount of time without breaking into a full sweat. I’ve also been happy to find that my hotel has a nice gym in it. Maybe I can get back to pre-PwC shape.

My tasks for the next couple of weeks will be to get situated with work and find an apartment. Sadly the company will not pay to put me up in this hotel indefinitely. There are a lot of apartment buildings in the area that cater to expats and the like so they come fully furnished with all the amenities one would need and are reasonably priced. Once I get one picked out and move in, I’ll send pictures out for all to see. If/when some of you are able to make it over to KL I’ll hopefully have a spare room for you to stay in for free. There is one condition though, you’ll have to get alcohol from the duty-free stores in the airport first as Malaysia has like a 50-100% import tax on alcohol. : (

And now as I wind down this email I’ll get to what you were all waiting for. That’s right, my review of Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Or maybe not (for those who watch the show, all I have to say is “what an ending”).

Well that’s about it for now. Hope you all are faring well and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Regards,
-Chris