Monday, 16 April 2012

Day 23 - A Successful Day at the Automobile Association of Malaysia (Australia)

We adventured to the CBD of KL today to find the AAM (Automobile Association of Malaysia), which turns out to be located in a haphazard shopping centre, full of stalls and kiosks, which seemed like quite a bizarre location for the central branch of the equivalent of our VicRoads (equivalent road transport authority in Victoria). When we found the shop which was no bigger than my living room, hidden around a few corners, up some stairs and behind some stalls, we were greeted by a staff member who kindly gave us a numbered ticket from the machine and asked us to take a seat. This seems like a fairly standard system, except there were three staff and only one other customer and our number was 1003. So we sat down and waited while one of them pressed the button, and 1002 came up on the screen. She looked around the tiny room and waited a few seconds before pressing it again for 1003 to come up. We handed in our ticket and no other customers entered for about an hour. If only it was that simple to be served at the VicRoads in Burwood. They all ended up to be incredibly helpful, even letting me go around the desk to use their internet to find some documents, and in just over an hour we were able to get our insurance and International Circulation Permit approved and issued (both compulsory documents in order to drive in Malaysia).

We rewarded our great work by having lunch at McDonald's in the shopping centre at the Petronus Towers. It seems Malaysia knows how to do fast food - there were about 40 other people in the queue, and yet we were served in 2 minutes, and waited another 1 or so for our meals. None of this "wait while we prepare and cook your food to order" nonsense that seems to be taking over in Australia. This is exactly what I want from fast food.

While we were sitting in the food court enjoying our McDonald's, I enjoyed observing all the different types of people that around and about. We consider Melbourne to be multi-cultural, but this is just something else. There's such an abundance of different types of headscarfs and hijabs and saris, alongside what we consider to be regular business attire and everything in between. There seems to be people from every possible background and culture - Muslim, Arab, Chinese, Western, Indian, plus many more and everything in between. I'm very glad I don't have to wear a headscarf, but some of the colours and styles that we see around are incredible. I wonder for how many women it is an extra accessory and how much it is used as a sign of identity more than anything else.

We have news from our shipping company that Trevor has safely arrived in Malaysia. It's too late today to head out to the port, but that's what we'll be getting up to tomorrow. Luckily we were able to sort out all our paperwork at the AAM today, so hopefully we'll be able to pick him up and do Petaling laps tomorrow (Petaling is the mainstreet in Chinatown, KL - certainly a challenge for most drivers).

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