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My experiences in Chinatown


When Alia mentioned I was to go abroad to purchase beads for the girls I was so excited. Oh, to have new places to visit and new things to explore! I had walked the streets of Chennai many times, but this was a new quest for me… Kuala Lumpur.

Bryanne and I worked on trip logistics whilst doing a million other things, including moving headquarters. Alia briefed me thoroughly; as this was my first time traveling alone, I was a little nervous.

When I arrived in Puduraya it was raining, which kept me indoors. The rain ceased around 9pm and the streets looked very tempting, but my daughter Nadiya insisted I stayed indoors at night. However, I broke the rules! Hoping the bead shop would be open, I walked through Chinatown. It was a knock-off paradise lined with promises of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel! From clutches to handbags, belts to perfumes, you name it was there – Boss, Paris Hilton, Escada, Bur-berry, David-off, Sarah Jessica Parker. It was both a carnival and a circus, and it was at night! Where the street ended, it was quite dark and lonely, so I decided to call it a day. I sat on the sidewalks of Chinatown and had my first Chinese meal, tong yang soup. It was so good! My daughter dared me to try new things, so I was glad to savor the street food of Malaysia.

The next day I got up early and went in search of the bead store. I had a vague idea of where the store was, but when I got there, the lady who had met Alia 6 months ago had already left. The two new salesgirls in her place were not very helpful at all. I was getting kind of nervous, as I had to buy all these beads and ship them by at least the next day. The salesgirls informed me that their boss was not available, and that they were not in a position to make the decision to post the beads to Sri Lanka. It was devastating news to me, as I had made my trip entirely based on the hope of a good work relationship with them. I went away unsuccessfully and thought I would give it a try the next day. In the meantime, I thought some retail therapy would help me out of my sad spell. I bought gifts for all my ‘Emerge’ girls, my staff, family and friends; I was so happy to be able to get something special for each of them.

Without much effort I was able to meet the manager at the store the next day when I arrived. She was all out to help the cause of Emerge, and even purchased a weighing machine to separate the beads! I had to hand carry part of the beads to Sri Lanka, keeping back part in Malaysia to dispatch by post. I was able to get everything done, and carefully selected beads the girls would love to work with. Their favorites are blacks, purples and blues. The salesgirls who refused to help the previous day worked 8 hours non-stop until I departed at 6pm; this made my day! The manager even promised that if, in the future we e-mail her our order, she would make arrangements to post the beads to us immediately. The next day was Sunday, and I was glad I had the opportunity to visit my church in Ipoh. I attended the service and returned home to Sri Lanka on Monday, achieving my objectives and goals. The trip was such a success!

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