Music festivals, Kuala Lumpur and a PSY sighting
13.03.2013 - 18.03.2013
Our first day in Malaysia was spent sleeping, due to the fact that we had spent about 18 hours travelling to Malaysia from Thailand. We stayed not far away from the Sepang F1 race track, as this was a key venue for our stay in Malaysia. The main reason for us visiting this beautiful country was to attend the Future Music Festival, who had Prodigy, Temper Trap, Armen Van Buuren, Rita Ora FUN! on it's line-up, amongst other big hitters in the music biz.
To be fair, the hotel we stayed in was a bit of a dump. We had originally made a booking at the hotel down the road, only to be told that they had no record of our booking, so the management moved us down the road to their partner hotel. However, when you're travelling, any actual hotel room where you're not having to share with 16 other people is quite a luxury treat. And location was key here as we weren't far from the festival venue.
The first day, we woke up early afternoon and decided to take a stroll to our local Tesco for a bite to eat. We thought it would only take 10 minutes or so by foot. It didn't. And Malaysia is hot. Really hot. After about 5 minutes of walking, conversation quickly dwindled away, and all we could talk about was how hot we were, and questioning how much longer it would take us. Backpackers on a budget are easy to spot in countries like this. They're the only ones who are stupid enough to be wondering around in midday heat, all the locals passed us comfortably in their air-conditioned cars, probably thinking, 'what the hell are you doing?' A number of taxis beeped at us as they passed, but no, we were determined to walk there, and not have to pay for it.
We finally made it to Tesco, sweat drenched, panting, former (highly unattractive) shadows of ourself. A taxi driver approached us and said, "I saw you walking, you are crazy. Why do you not take a taxi?" Good question. We retrieved some treats from Tesco, and had lunch in a cafe on the other side of the road.
That evening, we headed down to the venue early to pick up our tickets, nearly didn't get the tickets, then waited around for a good hour and a half waiting for the venue to open, seeking any available shade to hide under.
The first day at the festival was spent drinking Asahi and European red bull (a real treat when all you've had is Thai red bull for 6 months) listening to various trance acts, including Armen Van Buuren, who was headlining that day. It was such a great day, and the atmosphere was very similar to that of an English festival, albeit on a smaller scale. And not a pair of wellies in sight.
After a lie in the next day, we took the train into the centre of Kuala Lumpur, and headed to the Petronas Twin Towers, which are absolutely amazing. Underneath the towers is a massive shopping mall, with a variety of western treats. After 6 long months sans peri peri goodness, we hit up Nandos. Bellissimo!
That afternoon, we headed back for day two of Future Music Festival, where we saw poor Rita Ora's mic fail three times, as she was none the wiser, still singing her heart out on stage, whilst we stood amongst the crowd shouting "we can't hear you!" She was not amused with the organisers. Other musical highlights that day included Fun! Bloc Party and Prodigy. It goes without saying though, that one of the most interesting acts of the day was that of South Korean mega star, PSY. When you've spent six months living in Asia, where the most popular Asian song, actually the most viewed video on YouTube (nearly 2 billion views to date!) , ever, is having it's moment in the sun, this was truly exciting. I probably heard this song hundreds of times when I was living in Nong Bua Daeng, including as pasrt of the Christmas Day assembly. I also used to use if it the kids were late to my class. I would make them stand at the front and dance to it as punishment.
People around us were buzzing, camera phones at the ready. We got a rendition of some of his other big hitters from his five (!) studio albums, and got to hear Gangnam Style twice. He mentioned that he had had an amazing year, but after singing the same song for nine months, this would be his last performance of Gangnam Style. He told us he would sing it twice, once so we could film it, and the second time so that we could just enjoy the music. Really generous of him.
That night I parted ways with two travelling buddies, and the next day, we hit a few of the (expensive) pubs in KL, and after a good night's sleep, I left the others to catch my flight to Vietnam....