Across the universe

I write from the Domestic Departures area, Gate A7, of Kuala Lumpur International Airport – airports this side of the world all seem to provide free wifi (everyone else, take note). Jess and I are incredibly chill about this whole travelling thing thus far, which I think may in part be due to how surreal it all seems. Tucked up in bed last night, I turned to her and said something along the lines of, “We’ve flown through so many timezones I genuinely have zero concept of time anymore. Literally, when did we leave? Yesterday? Two, three days ago? I have no idea.”

But whether it seems real or not, here we are! After arriving at Heathrow in good time, hugging, parental-hand shaking and checking-in occurred. Jess and I went through security promptly and painlessly, bought some playing cards, and, well. Got on a plane? Heathrow was a bit boring. Although really I am 100% up for ‘boring’ as an adjective to describe ‘sitting in a giant metal cylinder 35,000ft in the air while going over 500MPH’. Far better than ‘exciting’.

Etihad’s plane was delightfully champagne coloured, and we were given a little menu as we sat down. We requested two glasses of white wine in lieu of celebratory champagne, and I dined on ‘Arabic spiced couscous and pumpkin salad’ and a frankly delicious ‘Pangasius fish in a chunky tomato sauce with pea and potato mash’ while Jess slept. Solidly. For most of the flight. Very impressive, really. I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel and had a tiny little nap, woke up, and watched half of Divergent before we landed.

Our short time Abu Dhabi airport was pleasant enough – we sat in a Burger King, which did not have any strawberry sauce for poor Jess’s ice cream, and each bought a watch. Jess’s was a blue stripey waterproof Swatch, and mine is a pretty Anne Klein thing with a tan leather strap and sort of nautical looking rivets – I’m very happy with it, even though I probably need to punch another two holes in it to make it fit my wrist.

We ended up being delayed for an hour – unfortunately the source of the delay were a bunch of passengers who assumedly where having second thoughts about whether they actually wanted to get on the plane, so we were all trapped in our seats (I can’t really complain, though, and I didn’t actually really notice! Jess asked me at one point, pleasantly, “When are we meant to leave?”, and I could only reply, “Oh, right, um… forty five minutes ago?”) The second plane in our travels was less plush though still coloured in a rich crimson, run by one of Etihad’s partners. Dinner was still delicious, composed of a black bean salad and ‘hot and sweet fried chicken with egg fried rice and mixed vegetables’, plus a pineapple upside down cake. I picked up Divergent from where I left it four hours prior, and then managed to grab about three hours sleep. Jess’s sleeping positions on the plane where a thing of beauty – they looked sort of like the intricate twirls that Cirque du Soleil performers end their elaborate performances in while everyone applauds.

At the end of our travels for the… nope, literally, no idea how long it took; we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. After some brief wandering around despite asking the lady at Information Services, a kind man took pity on us and pointed us to the hotel shuttle bus. We got on and briefly enjoyed the air conditioning, as apparently five minutes outside in the humidity showed us just how weak we truly are. The Concorde Inn was lovely, though admittedly could have been absolutely vile and I would not have cared in the least as long as it had a bed. Ourselves and our bags, wheeled by a nice young bellhop man, went swiftly to our rooms.

Jess fought me for the shower and won, but since there wasn’t any wish from either of us about hot water we weren’t particularly bothered. (Jess, reading over my shoulder, brings to light the fact that I did not actually realise there was a switch that said ‘HOT WATER’ on it and, proudly claiming first shower this morning after our beautiful dip in the pool, proceeded to shower in freezing cold water with absolutely no complaints. Mostly.)

And so, after both a wake up call at 8:00am, and a wake up ‘reminder’ at 8:15am from the front desk clearly and correctly assuming we went back to sleep, we breakfasted, watched The Emperors’ New Groove on the Disney Channel (we are very, very cool), hopped back on the shuttle bus, and ended up here. I bought a sickeningly sweet perfume and an iPod speaker in duty free, and Jess tried but failed to find someone to help her with her lovely stripey blue Swatch which, less than 24 hours after its purchase and during its first attempt at having the time set (a fairly crucial job for a watch), spontaneously broke. We will attempt to procure it some help when we finally get to Kuala Terengganu – less than two hours to go!


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