The KL road system


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We have a hire car organised through Kelly’s work that needed to be put to the test. Well, really, it’s our meddle that needed to be tested. We’ve been in KL now two weeks, and have seen the way of the road up close and personal (being nearly run over by a car and a scooter). Maybe this is the reason we’ve put off taking to the roads for so long?

Today was the day though. The purchase of a Garmin Nüvi 765 GPS unit yesterday was the final straw that broke the fear-of-the-road’s back.

We punched in the coordinates of the first stop for the day. Done. The GPS calculated the route and Karen announced the first direction. (Karen is the Australian voice that comes pre-installed on the Nüvi [incidentally, Kelly refers to the GPS as a herShe’s telling us to turn left — whereas I refer to the GPS as an it. What does that say about the minds of men and women?]).

Anyway, we set off on Karen’s instruction, only to overshoot a turn almost immediately and be on the wrong road to god-knows-where. You see, back in Melbourne, we have a fairly sensible road system. Grids, consistent road markings, and potholes no deeper than 10cm (mostly). In KL, shit’s different. Someone held a fancy dinner party with the pretence they would sit down with a blank canvas and map out the roads after dessert. However, some snotty-nosed kid got a hold of dad’s stash of moonshine, spiked everyone’s wine and guava juice, and what everyone thought was a few drinks with dinner turned out to be a good ol’ fashioned piss up.

Then they mapped out the roads.

Anyway, we took wrong turns more than once, to the point where we were passed annoyed, and now making fun of Karen saying ‘…recalculating …recalculating’. I mean really: Three lanes worth of traffic, each lane marked with a giant right-turn arrow. And we were told to go left. We know now that if there’s a road coming off left, you can just go left. Forget about lane markings. Also, blinkers are those orange flashy things at the corners of your car. Yes, I know you thought they were ornamental. Sigh.

Anyway…

After some time on the roads we started to wing it a little and not take the GPS so literally. This was a huge improvement in our direction and stress-levels. Once we did this, we were finally able to enjoy the driving a little.

This post has gotten a bit long, so in point form, and chronological order, this is where we went:

  • MENZA House (Expat clubhouse kinda. Closed)
  • Suzuki dealer
  • Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club (Kelly’s thinking of taking it up again)
  • Simply Spice (for lunch)
  • City Motors, to see Mr. Peter Fong. Again.

I’ve mentioned Mr. Peter Fong before. He’s the car dealer from heaven. (Heh, never thought I’d read that sentence). We went to see him last week to get an idea of cars, and what we might want to drive during our stay. This time however, we had a more solid idea of what we wanted. And when we arrived, everything fell into place.

Behold:

The Malaysian-made Perodua Myvi:

And,

The 2006 Honda CR-V:

We just bought two friggin’ cars!

Luckily, Kelly’s work gives us some assistance with the purchase of the cars, so it’s not as extravagant as we’d like to think. But still, two cars!

The Myvi is the most popular car in Malaysia. Seriously, they are everywhere. This apparently makes for a really good resale value. The depreciation is minimal, and this is good news for the expat. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention — Mr. Peter Fong guarantees to buy back the cars he sells us at full market value, making for a hassle-free situation when it comes time to leave the country. The Myvi will be our run-around car. A quick city zipper for when we need to get from A to… uhh… G.

The CR-V is a sports utility vehicle (SUV). It’s what the soccer-mums drive in Camberwell. But for us it’s not so much a fashion-statement. This is the comfort car we’ll use for weekend trips, and longer drives out of the city.

Needless to say, by this stage we’d had a big day. We got back to our fugly hire car, and tapped Karen’s ‘Go Home’ button (James, Davo, Marty, Craig, I know what you’re thinking). I had previously set our hotel as the ‘home’ location, so it was a simple single click and we were on our way home.

Or so we thought. Fucking Karen got it wrong again. We switched her off and Jedi-ed it back to the Hotel ourselves. I’ll try Daniel the English-speaking voice next. Maybe he’ll have a better idea.

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ps. Forgot to mention, the CR-V is what we’ll be using to drive you guys around when you visit. So, really, this car is for you. Come and enjoy it.