Join me and my young, South African family as we accompany my husband to Kuala Lumpur for a 3 year contract.

Friday, 29 May 2015

House hunting

One of the most important things for us to cross off our list, besides the schooling, was to find a house. We had scheduled 3 days of house hunting but I had done some research beforehand to make it easier.

Firstly, I looked on google maps to see where Hubcap's office will be in KL. Then I bookmarked that as well as the school. I then scoured the web looking for rentals in the areas between the two.
Sounds easy?

We had a few requirements of our own, like number of bedrooms, swimming pool and location within a gated estate/community. Not to forget pet friendly, as we want to bring our dog with too.

We sent the agent some examples that we found on local websites beforehand, and we gave her a list of our needs.

Once we were on the road with Joyce our search began and she had lined up about 8 properties for us to see.

To make a long story short, we wanted a small house, although they're called bungalows or villas in Malaysia. As it turns out, there is no such thing as a small, 4 bedroom house with a pool in a gated community. The houses are very big and very opulent, so we settled on a 6 bedroom mansion (in South African standards). At least now we have space for visitors to stay in comfort. The private pool was the crunch of our property requirements. Our girls are both swimmers and it just makes life a bit easier when you have a pool at your home, instead of packing up and heading out to the public or communal pool. And considering the weather is what it is, we'll be using it every day of the year.

These websites helped me in getting a better idea of what is out there:

What I also did, was print out a map (Google) which had the office and school bookmarked. Then every property we saw, I asked Joyce to indicate it on my map for me. This gave me a better idea of where we were in relation to school and work and my internal navigation felt better.

To get an idea of the suburbs/areas in Kuala Lumpur you can have a look at this page:

I must mention that most of the houses we saw had a maid's room and bathroom. Usually situated next to the kitchen. Although these rooms are tiny and without a window. I won't have a live-in helper so I'm going to use that room for storage.

The properties for rental usually come with a microwave, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher and fridge, so it makes it a little easier when thinking of schlepping your appliances over.

Also, you'll need to check if garden service and/or pool service is included in rental. This can be an expensive excercise around MYR300 per month each. And they only cut the grass once a month as it's slow growing. Quite funny for me to hear this as we usually cut ours in South Africa twice weekly.

And last but not least Traffic will be a problem. At the time of our visit there was lots of construction going on in many parts of the areas we saw. And the traffic is horrible. So do yourself a favour and look for housing close to school and work. Or otherwise learn the art of patience.

Think that's all for now

Until next time

Claire X

Monday, 25 May 2015

Eating, shopping and more eating

Eating & Shopping.......2 things that the Malaysians do very, very, very often.
I've read blogs about the Malaysians and their love of food but I had to see it to believe it.
And yes, they eat often and there is a restaurant, deli, food stall or take-out around every corner, literally.

One of the places we went out to was Fuego Bar and Pub at the Troika Towers. It's a smallish place but with a lot of atmosphere. Over looking the Petronas Towers, my eyes happy to see guacamole and a range of lekka dishes in front of me.

With it being on floor 23A, we had a spectacular view of the Petronas Towers at night.

While we were house hunting, our agent made sure to point out most of the big shopping centres around town. They average about 8 or so stories high and heaven knows how I am ever going to get through them all.

While Hubcap was in meetings at work I wandered over the road to the NuSentral shopping centre.
Just a walk through the train station terminal and into the centre. Approximately 7 stories high filled with local and international brands.......and we even found a Nando's (Viva South Africa!)

I also found myself browsing the isles at Sam's Groceria on the Lower Ground Floor. It gave me a chance to see what food stuffs and groceries can be found here as I had not yet found a supermarket/grocery store. For South African's it's almost like a small Pick 'n Pay or a Spar, and they have most of the usual food stuffs that we have back home. There's also a great deli and fresh foods and fruit section.

Hubcap and I also had dinner at NuSentral on one of our nights and went to The Manhattan Fish Market.  Although it was a Wednesday night, most of the restaurants were full, which is a strange sight coming from South Africa where Friday and Saturday are the busiest.

So I'll be watching my waistline as it's all so tempting! But then again, if I eat too much I can justify shopping for hours on end to work off the food.

Until next time

Claire X

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

First impressions

We've just returned home after our 1-week trip to Kuala Lumpur for our Look and See.

I'll be posting separately for housing, school and other items of interest.

Firstly, Hubcap and me went without the girls. Worried that they would not cope with the time change and hectic schedule planned in such a short period of time, we were right to do so.

I've never been to Malaysia, let alone Asia, so I had no idea of what to expect. But I left here with an open mind and a partly empty suitcase in  case I needed shopping of course.

We flew via Abu Dhabi to KL, taking us about 25 hours to get there. It was a long haul so will need to look at better routes for August when we move. A route via Singapore looks better in terms of travel times.

Anyways, our driver picked us up at the airport and walking out we definitely felt the humidity and heat. It was almost like a giant hug for us coming from colder Autumn in South Africa.
Jerseys peeled off as we headed into KL central on the highway.

Firstly, you notice how green and lush it is there. Even though we come from a sub-tropical climate here, it's just so much greener there. And we got a few sprinkles of rain on our welcome to the city, a good luck message in South African culture.

Driving on the highway into the city was not so bad. It wasn't rush hour though so I suppose that's a different story all together. We noticed that drivers seldom use their indicators and the hundreds of scooters seem to be a law unto themselves.

And good news for South Africans who have just been thrown into the turmoils of paying for toll routes in Gauteng - there are tolls on the highways there too. Had to have a laugh at that one.
And they have e-tags too.

So off we went to our hotel right next to the KL sentral train station. Great views of part of the city and our journey of discovery, meetings and house hunting began.

Next installment to follow soon

xxx Claire