I’m stuck in Kuala Lumpur.
My day from hell started at 5.30am this morning when I got up. I finished wrestling my luggage together, managed to toss a 7/11 coffee down my throat, then got a taxi to the airport. I waited around lots, ‘cos I always get to the airport far too early, due to my immense paranoia of missing planes, trains and automobiles. It turned out that my luggage was 10 kilos over – it appears that my luggage-weighing device thingy is a bluddy liar. I had run out of data on my Thai sim card, and the airport wifi didn’t want to talk to my phone. So I forked out some baksheesh baht for the extra luggage weight and flew to Bangkok. I was way too early again, so I schlepped around with my trolley full of bags – unable go to the toilet because I couldn’t leave the luggage unmanned. God forbid anyone steal my ukulele and hill tribe hat.
Everywhere I sat, I was immediately surrounded by groups of Chinese people who whiled away their time repacking their bags right beside me, arms akimbo, kicking my seat, talking loudly ‘cos they were apparently all deaf, and arguing and yelling at each other from 30 paces away. I finally went to check in and found out that my flight to Kuala Lumpur had been cancelled. No, I hadn’t received the message from the airline because they hadn’t bluddy sent it! So I got shoved to the side while they madly tried to get me on another plane that would meet my connection to Auckland. The wifi kept going in and out so I couldn’t even squeeze a single sentence into an email before it would insist that I sign in again, after giving my name, passport number, birth date of my first born and my grandfather’s cousin-in-law’s maiden name. On the bright side, once they had found me a flight they blithely ignored the over-weightedness of my stuff. I then walked about 5 miles to the other end of the airport before I could find a drink. It was almost dark by this stage, the day had been stinking hot and my only drinks all day had been my coffee early this morning and a tiny plastic cup of water on the plane from Chiang Mai. A lady behind the counter acted like she was going to threaten me with an axe if I didn’t hand over my passport so I could buy a 10th of a litre of pineapple juice. Jeez, tense much??
Finally I boarded the plane to Kuala Lumpur and then it was delayed for half an hour or so. Consequently I missed my flight to NZ. A Thai girl called Fa, who is studying in NZ, suffered the same problem and she and I were handed vouchers for a taxi ride, a hotel and some meals for tomorrow. We went round and round KL airport trying to find the ‘Limo’ counter so we could get our taxi to our hotel, and each person we approached was less helpful than the last. If we’d listened to all of them we would have ended up being citizens of KL airport forever. More Chinese stopped their trolleys in ridiculous places so we couldn’t get past or pushed in line in front of us, or crowded the doorways so we couldn’t get through, talking to lordy knows who on their mobiles. We had to wonder if there was actually anyone left in China.
Finally we got into a ‘Limo’ – read smallish car with bits of duct tape suspiciously placed in certain spots and strange thumping noises we didn’t really want to think about. The driver missed a couple of turns and asked us if this was where he was supposed to go – by this stage a combination of exhaustion and hysteria began settling in. I had to make Fa put down the window shade she was going to strangle him with. How the hell do we know where we’re going well after dark in a completely strange neighbourhood in Malaysia?? About 45 minutes of being on the road and we finally got to the Nilai Springs hotel. It is exceedingly posh and we made our driver check with reception that he’d actually brought us to the right place, in case he drove off and left us here incorrectly and they made us sleep in the gutter out back.
To add insult to injury, I can’t even open the liquor I bought duty free, A because I’m in a Muslim country, and B because I wouldn’t be allowed to carry it back onto the plane. So I’m now sitting in a very posh hotel somewhere in Kuala Lumpur, wearing their disposable slippers and drinking their free water and trying not to listen to the nice bottle of Malibu that is calling to me from over in the corner. It’s 1am in KL, midnight in Chiang Mai and 5.23am in Auckland and I think I may be turning into a carrot. Or a parsnip. I don’t know – some sort of vegetable anyway.
There’s a lesson in this people – listen to those who tell you to pack a toothbrush and a spare pair of knickers in your carry on luggage before embarking on an international flight. Ya know, Murphy’s law an’ all…