First Stop: Kuala Lumpur

I had a one-way ticket left over from my last work contract, so necessarily I’m flying to South Africa on Malaysia Airlines and our first stop: Kuala Lumpur.

The Journo got a exceptionally good deal, so she too is on the same airline, but as her ticket is so restricted that the conditions are about 8 pages long, she had to be on very specific flight numbers. Thus, her flight is the one immediately after mine – no cheap seats left on my flight.

Kota Kinabalu’s new airport terminal 1 is virtually brand spanking new, spacious and relatively well organised, if a little light on shopping options. Not that I mind as I’ve actually developed a bit of an allergy to shopping. But The Journo notices these things.

Leg-room, precious leg-roomThe Malaysia Airlines check-in lady put me in seat 14 A, very nice of her, which I only realised as I sat down. It’s the window seat immediately behind the emergency exit rows, with no seats in front of me – so leg room galore! I noticed since the last time I flew Malaysia Airlines (years ago, I’ve been budget airlining it ever since) they’ve gotten rid of the drab grey and purple interior in exchange for multi-coloured seats. I’m still deciding whether or not this is an improvement.

The flight, being only 2.5 hours, had no in-flight entertainment. Luckily I grabbed a newspaper on the way in, as there were no in-flight magazines in my entire row either. I managed to nod-off a few times too, significantly cutting down journey time.

The meal was something I looked forward to, because being a full-service flight, Malaysia Airlines still serve those. Instead of the stereotypical chicken-or-fish you always hear, I was given the option of kway teow or French toast. In Asia, kway teow – a flat, fried noodle – is not unexpected at breakfast, but French toast certainly is.  So I took it.

Malaysia Airlines' French Toast - Suspiciously a lot like apple strudelThe meal's box probably cost more than the meal itselfThe meal came in a cardboard box with the translucent, printed lid already removed when they passed it to me.  The French toast turned out to be an apple strudel disguised as a two wedges of toast and looked like it could have been battered with egg.  The taste didn’t give anything away though.  The accompanying bun was fresh two or three days ago, and the orange juice was a near perfect imitation cordial – made in Sarawak.  I’m critical, yes, because on a full-service flight you pay for this food.  I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the expensive fair was allocated to this meal.  I longed for an AirAsia cup-o-curry-noodle.

On the up side, the stewards and stewardess managed to serve us 3 helpings of Joy orange juice (closer to being real than the juice with the meal) and coffee, which kept me well hydrated.  I hope this is a taste of things to come on the international sector where inevitably you find yourself dehydrating.

The landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport was near perfect with a barely perceptible bump as we touched down.  I was 45 minutes ahead of The Journo at this point and looked forward to sitting down somewhere and taking advantage of the free WiFi, which KLIA loves to tell travelers about.

Internet access at KLIA - proclaimed in full colour on the arrival's board for one... but all I got was error pages and I shut down and restarted from 3 different locationsI booted up and managed to connect to the KLIA wireless network without incident.  However, reaching any websites proved to be futile.  I only managed to get error pages.  I tried from several locations in the arrival hall thinking that signal strength made a difference, but alas, it didn’t.  Somehow this failure didn’t surprise me – I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned with Malaysia’s Internet infrastructure.  It used to be so great…

Luckily The Journo’s flight was fast and she caught up in no time.  For the first time I took the KLIA Express to Central Station and 30 minutes later we were in town.

After a quick meeting with Kuan to get some Malaysia Ultimate Open discs (and a handful of MyDiscs for handouts), here we are at Mega Mall – the place is packed and all the shops and outlets are nearly bursting at the seams.  After a mammoth trek around the mall which is not called Mega Mall for nothing, I finally spotted an open seat in Starbucks and here I am, blissfully connected. The Journo, is blissfully off shopping somewhere. Addict.

Tonight we have a dinner with a random, German friend of The Sausage and who knows, an unexpected adventure or two.

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