Thursday, February 27, 2014

The time I flew to Langkawi to have dinner with the Queen of Malaysia




The last time I was in Malaysia, living a Travelife, was for a short visit to literally have dinner with the Queen.

I flew to Kuala Lumpur for a few days as a guest of Malaysia's dynamic Minister of Tourism, Dr. Ng Yen Yen, and then onwards to Langkawi to attend a dinner by the beach with the Queen of Malaysia.

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IT BEGAN WITH A WEEKEND IN KUALA LUMPUR

After a very nice weekend in Kuala Lumpur, shopping for my favorite silk gowns and attending a dinner on someone's yacht, I was back at Kuala Lumpur's ultra-modern airport early in the morning to catch the flight to Langkawi.


IS THIS A SMALL WORLD, OR WHAT?

On the plane to Langkawi, I bumped into my Malaysian friend Mr. Monopoly who I’d had lunch with the previous day. 

I call him Mr. Monopoly because if the city of Kuala Lumpur were a Monopoly board, he would literally own half of it. 

I kid you not.



ALMOST EVERYTHING OUTSIDE MY HOTEL WINDOW

If I looked out of my suite at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, for example, it would not be exaggerating things to say that he owned most of what I could see from my window.

And he also happens to own one of the most beautiful resorts in Malaysia – if not in the world – as well.

Well, Mr. Monopoly was attending the same dinner I was going to in Langkawi, as he's a good friend of the Tourism Minister, so we had a nice chat about just how good it must be to live in Malaysia.



A WARM LANGKAWI WELCOME

In Langkawi, my welcoming committee was in place and ready to spring into action. 

I was very kindly provided with a very impressive limo with state-of-the-art stuff I'd not yet seen in other cars, a great driver who was an excellent resource on life in Langkawi, and the most patient guide in the world.


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QUICK PRE-DINNER SHOPPING SPREE

After I’d checked into my hotel, you see, I had a few hours before dinner; so I took a map of Langkawi out and pointed to everything I wanted to see.



I was going on someone’s yacht the following day to see Langkawi’s famous surrounding scenery -- apparently this is similar to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay -- so that afternoon, all I wanted to do was shop.

And these two gentlemen took me everywhere I wanted to go.

SHOPPING GALORE

I went to a couple of crafts places and ended up in Langkawi’s largest duty-free mall just to see what it was like. 

The whole island is duty-free and I was given a list of best-buys in Langkawi by well-meaning friends in KL, so I decided to check these out at the Langkawi mall

That took care of the afternoon. 

BLACK AND GOLD FOR DINNER


In the evening, I had just enough time to get into a long gown as the the theme of the dinner was black and gold.

Then I needed to head for the party before the arrival of my host, and the arrival of the Queen of Malaysia

A princess from a neighboring state was joining the party as well.


The hotel put out a yellow carpet from the driveway all the way to the venue, and staff spent all afternoon keeping it spic and span until the arrival of the Queen. 

Apparently, no one is supposed to step on this yellow carpet while the Queen is walking on it.

MALAYSIA'S CHARMING ROYALS



When I met the royals, they all seemed curious that someone had flown all the way from Manila to join them for dinner tonight. 

But they were great conversationalists – as many royals the world over are – and equally great dancers. 

After dinner, a band came on and I soon found myself line-dancing next to the future Queen of Malaysia while the Princess went up on stage to sing a few songs.

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DANCING ALL WEEK


I smiled to myself, remembering how just that previous week, I’d literally danced all night at the AIESEC party we'd organized at the Peninsula Conservatory.

And then I’d flown to Cebu and danced under the moon and the stars. 

And that night, there I was in Langkawi line-dancing next to the future Queen of this beautiful country until 130 AM. 

The Queen is so charming, and she certainly dances wonderfully.

What an evening that was to remember, in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



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