Jet-lagged in KL
Hello from Kuala Lumpur!
Yesterday was quite possibly the longest day ever -- which could have something to do with the fact that it was actually a day and a half. We got to the airport by around 8ish and whisked through security (it really wasn't as scary as I expected -- I was even more nervous after I saw the little bin full of lighters and little toothpaste tubes). The flight to Chicago was no problem at all. We had to re-check in, though, once we got there, since we were switching airlines (my greatest concern: that our bags *wouldn't* make the switch with us). But we pulled that off, too. We went through security yet again and made it to the gate, ready for our flight to Korea.
The flight was *long*. 14 hours or so, actually. That's a heck of a long time to spend on a plane. We got an emergency exit row, though, so we had plenty of leg room. And we had one of those schnazzy personal entertainment systems, so we could watch movies whenever we wanted (I watched two). And we took some sleeping pills and spent much of the time sleeping (or at least trying to sleep). I'd say I got maybe three or four hours, which is a lot more than I usually sleep on a plane, so I was happy. Oh, and the airline was merciful enough to give everyone little comfort kits, which included a tiny toothbrush and a tiny, single-use toothpaste. Yea!
We got to Korea, once again went through security (this time, however, it didn't matter if we had any liquids, so no big deal), and wandered to our gate. The place was crowded, but it wasn't a crowd I was used to. "If we somehow get separated," I told Paul, "I'll be the tall blonde. You can't miss me."
Once we found our gate, we figured we had about an hour and a half left, so we decided to get some food. There wasn't a single McDonald's in sight (which, though totally American and cliche, would have been totally comforting at that point), so we stopped at a little cafe, and I got a ham and cheese sandwich. Afterward, I went to the bathroom, where I was looking forward to freshening up a bit. But I barely had a chance to use the facilities when Paul started screaming my name from the doorway. All the Korean women inside were pretty freaked out, and I was totally confused. I walked out, and Paul looked frantic. "We've gotta go. Now. It's last call. Our plane's boarding." You see, in our exhaustion and jet-lag and laziness, we didn't change our watches when we got to Seoul, and we forgot that there's an hour time difference between Seoul and KL. Ooops... So we went running through the terminal, handed over our tickets, and went running to our seats. I hadn't even gotten my crucial freshen-up time, and I felt like crap.
The flight from Seoul to KL was another six hours, making our total flying time around 22 hours. Our last flight felt like it took *forever*. Sure, it was way shorter than the other one, but, it being nighttime in KL, I didn't want to sleep, or I'd freak out my internal clock even more. We didn't have the personal entertainment thingies, and the only movie showing on the far-away screen was one I'd already seen. So, between [horrible] meals, I read. And I read. And I looked at my watch approximately every five minutes. For the last hour, Paul and I played UNO. And then, finally, it was over. We got off the plane, made it through customs, and, eventually, even got all of our bags. We then found our cab driver and got in the car, headed for our hotel. The car radio blared Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" -- so much for being far from home -- and then the driver changed it to the easy-listening station, and we heard, of all things, John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Really. I laughed at the irony, knowing that there's no country road that can take me home from here.
After another long ride (it's about an hour by car to the city), we arrived in KL. There's a festival going on right now, so the streets are lit up at night -- almost like Christmas, only not so tacky. The city itself is incredible, an amazing mix of ultra-modern and old-fashioned Muslim architecture. Beautiful. I can't wait to get out and see more.
Back home, no one knows much about Malaysia. Heck, I didn't, either. And when most people heard I was coming here, I'm sure they pictured poor little old me in a hut, with no electricity or running water. But don't you worry about me. I'm living in style. Our hotel is seriously posh. It has real bellhops with the uniforms you only see in movies. Even the hat. Only ours are dressed in white. The room is totally fluffy and down (the bed, at least), and the bathroom is all marble-y and huge. It even has a normal toilet, for those of you who were concerned about that. And next to the toilet, there's a phone and a control that adjusts the volume of the TV, so you can hear your favorite show while you're sitting there. Oh, and there's a control panel next to the bed that controls everything. The lights, the air, the TV...everything.
This morning, we had breakfast in the fancy Club Lounge. I played it safe and stuck with cereal and scrambled eggs and bacon, but I did try some Malaysian fruits -- not the infamous smelly durian fruit, though, which, for the record, isn't allowed anywhere on the hotel premises. At some point, I'm going to try some of the curries for breakfast -- but I don't think my stomach was ready for that this morning.
After Paul took off, I spent a couple of hours by the pool. I could have sworn I heard the call to prayer in the background. Amazing, this place. Tomorrow, we're going shopping. I can't wait. But until then, I've got work to do -- and then, while I'm waiting for Paul to come back from work, I'm going to watch a movie on TV and maybe knit a little lace... :)