TRIP TO KUALA LUMPUR (21st to 26th October 2016)

My nephew José Enrique and I landed in Kuala Lumpur the 22nd of October in the afternoon. We were picked up in the airport by Andrew Chew, the general manager of the Guitar Store, our distributors in Malaysia, and he took us to the hotel to leave our luggage and refresh ourselves a little. The hotel was communicated with a mall, which in turn was communicated with another mall… so we could see during our stay that the malls have invaded the city and are interconnected. And we understood that there is a good explanation for that, as the heat and humidity are so high, mainly at this time of the year when it is constantly raining, it turns out that life is wonderful in one of these shopping centers, a haven where you can enjoy a nicely regulated temperature to hang around. Still we went out the street, it rained all of a sudden more than once – and really torrential rains – and anyway we ventured to visit the Batu Caves, which entrance is guarded by a golden statue 137,8 feet high. It is a Hindu temple, apparently the biggest spiritual Hindu centre out of India. To access the temple, we heroically went up the 272 steps, and we even took pictures with the monkeys that live there and that obviously are used to the continuous influx of visitants to the temple.

Although we didn’t go up the Petronas Towers, we decided to see then from a bar that one of the friends of my nephew had very much recommended us, the Heli Lounge Bar. We got lost. We were lost. We noted that it can be really difficult to ask for directions in Kuala Lumpur to the always kind people you find along the street. But finally we could find the entrance of the building in whose top floor it was the bar that ended up being a great place, with impressive views over the city, we could enjoy delicious beer while we saw the illuminated towers and the rest of the city with the colors of the night of Kuala Lumpur.

On Monday the 24th, we had lunch with our hosts, the management team of Guitar Store, Kuah Wei Chin, Low Kia Soon, Jordan Kuah, Ice Hoong Qiu Xia and Andrew Chew, before the presentation we had been invited to. The presentation took place in one of their shops, the historical, in other words, the place where they started their business and the one from which they grew until they became a key reference for the lovers of the guitar in Malaysia.
When I was invited to make the presentation a few months before, it was suggested that I could do it on Sunday, but I thought that I wouldn’t be appropriate to make them work on bank holiday, and I proposed that it would be better to do it on Monday, and they accepted. But they accepted because they are good people and really complacent. And the thing is that once there, I knew that they had proposed Sunday because it would be the day of higher assistance and not on Monday when a lot of people would be working. And although assistance was quite high, the room was not completely filled, as it would be if the presentation would have been on Sunday. So we learned one more thing and we will accept any proposal we have in the future to make a presentation on a bank holiday.

Before the talk, we had a meeting with the whole management and sales team of Guitar Store, to explain them the technical details or our models and give them information that will facilitate the sale.
This was followed by our speech about our guitar makers family, it awoke great interest, and many people there showed their complicity because they knew a lot of details about our history, as it happens every time we make this presentation. Enrique make his demonstration of how we make the mosaics in the sound hole, it was a great success, as it is usual. It is a beautiful job and nobody that has ever made a mosaic has an idea of the hard work it is.
Among the assistants to our talk, there was a Chinese guitar teacher, Mr. Chin Seong Sum, he was a great fan of Ramírez. We had a great time with him telling us anecdotes and histories of guitarists, and he made us part of his joy, as at last he was able to buy a Ramírez, which had been his lifetime dream.

The last day Low invited us to a Happy Hour, and I think we drank all the beer in the bar, in spite of that we left unscathed, inexplicably. The thing is that we had fun talking about everything and anything, sharing videos, stories and getting to know each other better.

On October 26th, I took the plane to Shanghai, where Marisa Sanzano and Arancha Prieto were waiting for me in Music China. And I left Enrique in Kuala Lumpur, as he had to go back to Madrid to continue with his work of constructing guitars. 

Amalia Ramírez

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