Welcome to Asia

Upon my arrival, I felt sick from traveling over 30 hours and I was extremely sad upon leaving Buenos Aires. My stomach irked and I didn’t know why. As I wrote in my previous blog, that feeling in my stomach lingered for a couple days while I was in Kuala Lumpur. However, as the first week went by, I found myself immediately welcomed more than ever by my co-workers at the office in Kuala Lumpur. On my first day, they placed a sign that welcomed me at my desk, saying “Welcome to IPG Mediabrands, Talia Azour.” Everyone who passed my desk welcomed me and introduced themselves. It was absolutely wonderful!

I am working in the Universal McCann office on the Rally and RallyBuzz team for the beginning. I have been assigned to work on the Malaysian Airlines account and I couldn’t be more excited. The company is going through a restructuring process with the airline because of the crises in the past two years. On RallyBuzz, I am helping with PR for a client, including handling press collateral for an upcoming event. After, I will hopefully be able to work on other projects, like some with Johnson & Johnson and move to Reprise to work with the performance marketing team for a bit as well.

What I instantly realized upon my arrival to Kuala Lumpur, was that it was no Buenos Aires… It wasn’t even close to it. Customs are so outrageously different, it is hard to even compare them. First off, the office itself is much bigger, brighter, and livelier (in my opinion the liveliness comes from the décor and the brightness that embellishes the office). For lunch, we have to drive to different places each day. It is quite nice, because we get a chance to get out of the office. Normally, we would bring lunch back to the office and eat in the kitchen in Buenos Aires, which was fine, but it is definitely a nice change here. The first day we went to a Japanese inspired restaurant with Udon noodle and rice bowls. On top, you could top your noodles or rice with tempura vegetables, seafood, or meat. The second day, they took me to a full Chinese food place that was self-service. I tried a variety of vegetarian foods I have never even seen before. It definitely tops the experience of having a salad everyday like I did in Buenos Aires. Different…very different. And I absolutely love it.

The heat is a huge weather change for me as well, coming from winter in Argentina. I am shocked by how people actually wear long sleeves and pants each day here. You can’t even sit in the heat without profusely sweating. Something I was extremely happy about was the grocery store near my apartment. I almost fell to the floor in excitement when I saw how much variety there was for each food product. I had forgotten so many brands existed by being in Argentina, a country where its foreign import is closed. There were endless options and I think I went a little too far on my first grocery shop…However, the price change is still significantly in my benefit, just like the Argentinian peso was. Things are very cheap for U.S. dollar holders here. I get lunch for $2-$6 dollars a day here (and the $6 includes A LOT of food).

This work week was a short one, as there was a Muslim holiday that allowed no work on Thursday and Friday. In Malaysia, there are three main races, Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian. The mix is very interesting, and I have met so many different people thus far. This weekend, it was the end of the Ramadan holiday, so the office had off from work Thursday and Friday. I took this opportunity to travel to Hong Kong to visit one of my best friends from college. She is from ShenZhen (about two hours outside Hong Kong), but is interning in Hong Kong this summer.

I arrived with an open attitude, ready to experience everything and anything different and new to me. It was a weekend filled with delicious and unique food, exploring remote islands, and seeing some of the most spectacular views in my life.

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Dim Sum!

Dim Sum!

Great dessert in HK

Great dessert in HK

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Hong Kong is probably the most efficient city I have ever visited so far. It is fast paced, clean, and extremely friendly. There are people from all over the world, working or visiting. I was able to see Hong Kong both during a work day, as well as over a weekend, and I loved everything about it. I was shocked by how clean the subway station was. I felt like I could literally lick the floor and it would be okay.

Skyline from dinner at Aqua one night

Skyline from dinner at Aqua one night

I was able to go to Lantau Island and see the biggest Buddha sculpture in China. It was spectacular! Especially the ride in the cable car to the island. The views were amazing.

The cable car we took to get to Lantau Island!

The cable car we took to get to Lantau Island!

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Biggest Buddha in China

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But I think my favorite part was going to Victoria’s Peak at night and seeing the whole skyline of the city. It was a fantastic moment that I won’t ever forget. The world has so much to offer, and it just made me realize how lucky I am to have traveled as much as I have and be able to have these experiences that teach me so much.

Victoria's Peak - breathtaking view!

Victoria’s Peak – breathtaking view!

Skyline during the day!

Skyline during the day

This coming weekend, I will have time to explore Kuala Lumpur!

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