The flight from Sydney to KL went better than expected. Despite temporarily misplacing my jacket and accidentally writing “Kuala Lumpur” instead of “Malaysia” (I’m sorry, customs lady, I promise I’m not a complete idiot – just really excited) on my customs departure card, I managed to dig up a wholesome dinner and mostly restrain myself in duty free. A cheeseburger is wholesome, right?
To my delight, I discovered that I had an entire row to myself on the flight. All plans of watching TV shows promptly evaporated and I enjoyed ~6 hours of somewhat deep, valium propelled sleep. The food on the plane was surprisingly good, and we had a very soft landing into KL.
I’ve often wondered whether the racist Australian traveller stereotype was deserved. I’ve seen bogan idiots partying in Bali on the news and read stories on the internet but I wasn’t all the way convinced. I was displeased to learn that it isn’t as isolated or overhyped as I’d hoped. As Air Asia services many asian countries and accommodates guests from everywhere, most of their in air announcements are repeated in many languages for the benefit of all travellers aboard the plane. During one of these, a younger Australian man (21-25?) commented loudly enough for the entire front cabin to hear – “I think she just ordered 4 fried rice”. At the end of the message, almost as loud as before “thank fuck that’s over.”
It was really unpleasant. I felt tremendously embarrassed and a bit mystified as to why he’d even bother travelling abroad. He might’ve just been showing off to his mates – perhaps they’ve got a connecting flight from KL to Indonesia? That said, I should probably be happy to report that those experiences were the only negative part of the first leg of my flight. I snapped a photo in the terminal that, upon review, happened to have him in it – the Australian flag pillow should’ve been a dead giveaway.
The LCCT itself is strange. I’ve read reviews in preparation for my journey and conjured up images of a sparse, sterile /cold building with sprawling hallways and a rushed atmosphere. In reality, it feels like a smaller country airport or large bus station with a duty free tacked on the side. The contrast between the dingy, not terribly modern (but clean) terminal vs the wonderful beckoning fluorescence of the duty free store is striking. The staff are friendly, warm and efficient and while the terminal could use a bit of love, it is a pleasant place to spend a few hours – one whole hour of which I occupied by watching the new Game of Thrones. It was worth the wait, but I found myself shielding the screen for fear of offending other travellers. There is a premium lounge available – I poked my head in and it looked quite nice. In all likelihood, we will spend our September stopover using the internet in there.
I hadn’t realised it until just now, but I’m really looking forward to being somewhere – immersed in – a place where I don’t really understand the language. If eel like I’m on high alert in my day to day life. I can’t sit at a cafe and relax and be alone – utterly alone – with my thoughts as I find myself distracted by conversation and people walking past. The idea of being surrounded by sound – just sound, not parts of conversation and familiar music and people that I can think about or relate to – I imagine it feeling peaceful.
The plane to Osaka landed as softly as the previous flight. I occupied my time with food and television, and all was well.