Kuala Lumpur: Smart Phone, Dumb Traveler


I thought we’d get right back into the traveling mindset, pick up where we left off. I assumed the “high kitty alert” mode or Spidey senses would just be there. They weren’t.

After 31hrs of travel, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur in the dead of night. After a few hours of sleep, a shower, and a very good breakfast at the hotel, we decided to go out for a walk. The old legs needed a serious stretching. Dimple at the Crossroads Hotel gave us a map and told us where to catch the GOKL bus. It was free too, cool!

We checked out some of the sights and took copious photos. There was a large park, interesting architecture, a mosque, China Town, and an arts and crafts market. Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap.

We wore out pretty quickly due to the jetlag and sketchy sleep over the past day and a half, so we hopped back on to the GOKL bus to get back to the hotel. All was well until the KL Sentral bus stop where a man with a backpack on his front pushed up against me and my bag. He then plowed into Pat for no apparent reason as there was no crowd behind him. Obviously, this made Pat cranky and we gave each other that “what an ass-weed” look.

Galaxy S5Well, as soon as he got by Pat, it occurred to me what he may have been up to. I opened my bag and looked into the compartment where I had the smartphone stowed. Gone! The wanker snatched my phone!

We jumped off the bus, but he was already lost in the crowd. I was so upset. I knew I should have had my phone buried in a much more impossible-to-get-at compartment. Maybe it was the jet lag, maybe it was rust, maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Less than 12hrs into our travels and my phone, but more importantly, my camera and photos were gone.

We went to the police office in the bus station to see if they caught the bus on CCTV. They had a pretty good image of the bus and departing passengers and said if I wanted them to take a closer look at the video, I had to make a formal complaint at the actual police station. Wonderful. All we could think about was the thief getting into our emails or contacts and finding personal information to steal our identity.

We got back to our hotel ASAP and changed all of our passwords. We were both running on fumes and extremely cranky. I berated myself. We ate, slept poorly, and then went to the police station the next morning.

What fun. We’d barely set foot in Malaysia and I’d donated a $600 phone to a vermin with opposable thumbs and spent an hour or more in a police station to make a report mainly for insurance purposes. Unfortunately, our deductible was $2,000, so we either needed to get more stuff ripped off or eat the loss.

An infuriating aside was that smartphones, and in particular Galaxy S5s, were ubiquitous. Everywhere, everyone had their head bent to their palm. There were shops upon shops with “used” smartphones. A Galaxy S5 went for ~$125US before haggling. I wonder what the pilfering snake got for my phone.

You live and you learn, right? Standing on principle, I refused to buy a “used” phone knowing they were all stolen from tourists like me, and yet fully aware that my action would make as big of a difference as my vote for US president.

Looking on the bright side, here are the top ten reasons why it’s great not to have a smartphone:

  1. No accidental roaming charges
  2. No fear of having it stolen
  3. You don’t need to charge it
  4. You can’t crack the screen
  5. You don’t look like an oblivious idiot staring at your hand
  6. You need to use paper maps and ask people for directions
  7. Your FB peeps probably think you are up to some really amazing stuff since you haven’t posted
  8. The twitter feed full of US politics is gone
  9. You pick restaurants by strolling by rather than reading reviews
  10. And… You can’t drop it in the toilet

AnchorStrongI must say, it wasn’t hiking, but it was a lot of walking. We earned our Anchor Strongs that night!


Hike, Drink, Live, Laugh



8 thoughts on “Kuala Lumpur: Smart Phone, Dumb Traveler

  1. Send me your mailing address. I’ll mail you my old phone*. Leave it where it will be easily stolen, serving as a decoy to your real phone. Then when the next Ass Weed swipes it, you will be the ones laughing when the guy figures out what he actually stole.

    *old Samsung, vintage 2006 or so.

  2. SOOOOO sorry you had that happen so early in the trip. I am sure the guys can spot jet lag a mile away and pick their marks accordingly.

    • Maybe in Hanoi, I’ll look for a phone or a camera. I mainly used it as my camera but all of the other features were really nice to have. Sigh.

    • Thanks, Roxi. Now I’m just annoying the crap out of Pat asking him to take pictures I normally would have taken.

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