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Treasures and Books Store: Used English Language Books in Permas Jaya

Treasures and Books Store in Permas Jaya. Johor Bahru

Treasures and Books Store in Permas Jaya. This photo is taken as you exit McDonald's.

The Treasure Store has a new name and new location. The store has moved to Permas Jaya (where the Straits View Condos are) from the Danga City Mall in Johor Bahrus’ CBD. The new Treasures and Books Store is strait ahead as you step out of the McDonald’s. It is on the same block as the Time Hotel.

It is a great book store for anyone interested in English language books in Johor Bahru (they also have Chinese language books). Books cost quite a bit in Malaysia and Singapore. I am not exactly sure why. I would imagine maybe due to tariffs of some kind, and maybe low demand. Though the book stores seem busier than the average stores in malls, not just for browsing but for purchases. There are very few used books stores (that I have seen) which is odd (since the high new book prices should stimulate the used book market.

photo of books on shelves in the store

Inside the Treasures and Books Store

The Treasures and Books Store has a great selection of “beach reading” (light, enjoyable, escapism) and also offers many used books (which saves money). And you can return books and they will buy them back (for a bit less) so if you read quite a bit you can save a lot over buying new books and just stacking them up in your room.

The store has lots of books by authors such as: John Grishham, J. K. Rowling, Jefrey Archer, Robert Ludlum, Tess Gerritsen, James Paterson, Robert Harris, Sue Grafton, Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston, Stieg Larsson, Richard North Paterson.

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Getting a Voltage Transformer in Johor Bahru

As noted earlier, in trying to cope with the noise pollution at my condo, I ordered some devices to help mask the most annoying noises. One of the devices I ordered was sleep mate (which generates “white noise” mechanically). But in my sleep deprived state (from not being able to sleep with all the noise) I didn’t notice that it required 115 volts (this is used in the USA, but Malaysia uses 240 volts).

photo of voltage converter box

Ultimax voltage transformer 240 volts to 115 voltes.

In order to use a device that can only take 115 volts you need a transformer to convert the volts down from 240 to 115. Finding such a transformer in Johor Bahru was not easy, but I finally did at a little electronics shop. If you are looking for a voltage converter give them a call. I would try and get this same model – it was far cheaper than other options. And the other options required some additional wiring (the shop is more for electricians than just people wanting a transformer to plug in and use). The staff was very helpful.

photo of Hitectrons Store front

Hitectrons store - lots of electronic components

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Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Condo

Malaysia doesn’t have noise pollution standards as far as I can tell (does anyone know if this is accurate – if they do exist they sure are not enforced effectively). So you may well find extremely loud noises from extremely loud speakers from street events, bars and temples late into the night and very early in the morning. At some Johor Bahru condos this is not a huge issue, but at others it is a huge problem.

There are various methods of trying to cope with noise pollution. Installing windows that are at least double-paned can help (but if the speakers are blasting away too loudly that will only reduce the problem, but not effectively deal with it). Heavy curtains can also noticeably reduce noise pollution penetrating into the room (but they are not nearly as effective as good windows). I am still looking for some way to buy such curtains in Johor Bahru (or get them shipped here). Please comment if you know where I can get them, or someone who is willing to make them for me (it really shouldn’t be that hard). I have talked to numerous places without any success. And I have emailed some places and don’t even get a response.

Upon discovering how bad the noise pollution was (I don’t know the scope of the problem yet, some days it is extremely bad far later into the night and starting again very early the next morning – other days is just very bad but only for a few hours). I bought some headphones and a fan locally and ordered some devices to mask noise pollution (they generate more noise in the hopes of canceling out more annoying noise) from Amazon. I was amazed to get the devices shipped from the USA to Malaysia in just 4 days.

The Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine is a great device that creates various noises (stream, ocean, fireplace, rainfall, meadow…). One great feature of this device is that it has a microphone it uses to hear the noise level and then adjusts to increase the volume it produces to mask the noise pollution. It also will accept 100-240 volts (it has a transformer itself – like computer laptops do). It is very good for low levels of noise pollution (I would say under 60 decibels). However high levels it has to get so loud to mask them that it isn’t very useful.

Fans also work decently for low levels of noise. The combination of the sleep machine, a fan, and earplugs, in my bedroom, is enough on most nights. However, on nights (and days) with louder noise pollution – I would estimate over 80 decibels getting into my room (as loud as if someone placed a TV in your room and turned it on – it is definitely significantly louder than my TV) those don’t work – even with all that, the noise pollution still gets through.

The noise pollution is by far the most annoying thing I have had to deal with here. I am surprised (and extremely disappointed) that I was recommended this condo given how important I said peace and quite was. But my experience is an example of how important it is to beware, as the purchaser, and watch out for yourself. I am not sure how bad noise pollution is at all other condos but many have to be far superior in that regard to mine. Other than that problem (which is huge) this condo has many advantages. Realtors in Johor Bahru are in the business of renting the units they have. You can’t count on them actually knowing the strengths and weaknesses of options and presenting you their expert advice on what meets your needs (some will, others won’t). I would say this is the only big problem I have had. Otherwise many things have gone well.

As I write this, for at least 44 of the last 60 hours I have had extremely loud speakers blasted into my bedroom (over over 75 decibels and over 85 for many hours), it is unbelievable to me that this is tolerated as acceptable behavior. But it is. On my balcony it is often over 100 decibels, I would estimate, though not for quite as long – maybe 20 of the last 60 hours (the level increases from very loud to extremely loud at various times).

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