Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Genting Highlands

9 April 2014

Somehow, a simple trip to the only casino in Malaysia turned into a typical Phebe and Richard adventure.  Meaning, it was an ordeal that would never happen to anyone else.

It started with a bus trip, about an hour from KL to the highlands in the middle-ish part of the country.  The bus drove up winding highways through lush greenery, and it got colder and colder.

We finally stopped at the Genting Resort complex.  (Pronounced GHEN-ting, not "GENT-ing")  Well, not really at the complex, at the entrance to the what they call the skyway.

Yes, cable cars.  Little hanging gondolas.  Baskets hanging from wires, over hills and dales and valleys and gorges, going back and forth between the entrance and the complex.

Well, there was only one way to do this.  Stand on line and get into one of the little cars.  We insisted on sitting in the front of a car, and the next group wanted to sit together so we were alone in our little basket.

We swung out over empty space and went forward, swinging in the breeze, up and up and endlessly up.  A voice eventually came on over some speaker in our basket, and explained that this cable car system is 3.4 kilometers long.  ACK!  That's over 2 miles!  Of cable car!  Hanging in the air, over rocks and trees and rivers and wow, it's a long way down!  

We were kind of freaking out in our little car, holding hands, holding the side of the car.  We'd go up and over one hill, slide down into the valley, then climb up and over the subsequent higher hill - still on and on.  It was like some level of Dante's Hell, designed just for people who can't deal with heights.

Ugh!  Three point kilometers takes a good 20 minutes this way.  Yes, it was green.  And pretty.  But scary.  And there weren't any monkeys, or elephants, or tigers or leopards to be seen.  The only wildlife I saw was a yellow bird.  Really.

FINALLY we made it to the top of the tallest hill, to the resort complex, our destination.  We walked around, checked out what was available, and made our way to the casino, which is why we went in the first place.

Well, the casino has a dress code.  Not that this is noted on their website.  Nor in their literature.  No, you have to get there to find out about the dress code.  That men are required to wear long trousers and not sandals or flipflops.  Of course, Richard was in shorts.  Of course.  

He tried talking his way through this situation.  He talked to the security personnel.  Made his way up to the top, Chief Inspector, a very nice man.  But they wouldn't budge.  This was casino policy, they didn't set the policy, but they couldn't ignore the policy.  It was their job to enforce the policy.  So Mr. Chief Inspector went around to the stores with Richard, trying to find somewhere with trousers for men.  (I went in and played a few pokies.)  We met up as planned, an hour later.  No luck, the trousers were all for women.

So, well, there was only one solution that made any sense.  Richard went into the restroom and took off his shorts.  I grabbed them, ran to the Ladies', and took of my slacks.  Put on his shorts.  Ran to the Men's, handed over the slacks, and Richard put them on.  (It's a good thing we've both lost weight on this trip, and that we both are good at making do with situations like this.)  So yes, Richard wore my nice black linen paratrooper slacks with a Yankee polo shirt, and I wore his faded cargo shorts with my nice new red and black embroidered designer top.

Chief Inspector and Assistant Chief laughed at us.  The security officers at the casino entrance laughed at us when they saw the switch.  The women in the Ladies' room laughed when we switched back, as I was standing around in just my shirt waiting to get my slacks back.  OH MY it was craziness!

But we had fun with our friends the pokies, and I broke even for a while.  Found a couple of Koala Mint machines and had a great time with them, even though I slowly lost my initial break-even win.  We also enjoyed the cooler weather.

And then we had the cable car ride back down the hills, in the gathering dusk, which somehow made the ride even worse.  You know those hills where you go over the top and just sort of zoom downhill at breakneck speed, and can barely see the road because the hill is that steep?  That's what the ride was like.  In the semi-dark.  With fog.  Lights on only the huge cement pillars holding up the cables at the apex of each hill.  So that most of the time we were riding along in the dark.

We made it back to our bus, made it back to Pudu Sentral, and easily came back upstairs to our room.  

QUITE a day!  And definitely an adventure as only the two of us could make from a normal, easy trip to a casino.

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