Saturday, June 25, 2011


After Pattaya, I went back home for a week. It was very hard to adjust to time change. By the time I have adjusted, I had to fly back to Asia. Long flights are not my favorites. And I don't know of anyone who likes them. Perhaps, the first class passengers enjoy them a little more.
The only positive thing about long flight are miles. You get a lot of them! I am hoping to go up in medallion status this year.

Kuala-Lumpur greeted us with hot weather, nice people and great hotel. With one of the best breakfast buffets I've ever seen! The incredible selection of food included: Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and of course European foods.

I love trying new foods! When I played I was not allowed to try anything new or strange looking. Now I can do it!
In Kuala-Lumpur, I've discovered the Roti Canai bread for breakfast from Indian cuisine. Funny looking rice noodles in a shape of animal faces. And a strange looking fruit. (Still don't know the real name for it)

But sometimes, eating new things can cause some problems. In my case I started having problems with my teeth. Bad place to have problems with teeth, you would think. Malaysia.
But you'd be surprised how many Europeans fly to Malaysia to get their teeth fixed. It's much cheaper and you will get the same or better quality of equipment and care.

The tournament set me up with a young Indian dentist. His office was full of international clients.
In a matter of a week I had teeth cleaning, a crown and 4 fillings done. All for an incredible price of 430 dollars! Can you beat that! Last time I visited a dentist here in USA, I left with an estimate of $5.000!

And what is Kuala-Lumpur without it's "Twin Towers"? I had to go see them. Unfortunately I couldn't get up to the last floor. Because I had to get up very early in the morning to buy tickets. And I hate getting up early! But I walked around the towers and visited the huge mall underneath. The most impressive view of towers is at night, when towers are lit up. That's when you really get the feeling of how grand the construction is. And realize how small you are.

Kuala-Lumpur is a very modern and international city. But some things still remain old fashioned. Some modern offices still had floor bathrooms. If you've never seen or used one in your life, you might not like it. I remember these bathrooms from my childhood. Some schools and hospitals had them. They are not the most comfortable ones. Neither good looking. And of course they looked much worse back in Soviet Union.

We've spent two weeks in Malaysia. It was a very pleasant experience. And to make it even better, Galina won her first WTA doubles title. Paired up with Dinara Safina, the girls got a "wild card" into the tournament (a spot in the draw, granted by a tournament director or federation, to those who can't get in the tournament on their own) With an average height of 6 feet, they both had good serves and powerful ground strokes. Their first match was less than perfect. But once the girls got used to each other,they overpowered their opponents all the way through the draw.
I was happy for Galina. I know how it feels to win that first title after years of pursuing it! Doesn't matter how good you played or where you won that first tournament. It will always be very special.
After the ceremony, interviews, massages and showers. Galina, me, Dinara and her team gathered up at the hotels restaurant. The restaurant stuff was nice enough to re-open the already closed kitchen for us. We celebrated the victory with a couple of late night drinks and a very early morning flight to China.

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