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Off to see family again


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Well, my adventure finishes today as I fly from Delhi to Kuching [Kuching-travel-guide-1096915] to spend time with family again. As one adventure finishes, another one takes shape spurred by AirAsia’s sale for travel till Jan 2019. I had a sleepless night in Delhi thinking about their Auckland – Kuala Lumpur fare for NZD199 and Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne for NZD108.

I was thinking about what I could do, what dates they might have suitable. I fell asleep around 0200 and was up around 0430 and ended up booking the following between 0500 and 0700:

November 2018: Auckland – Kuala Lumpur – Kuching – Singapore / – / Bangkok – Kolkata – Kuala Lumpur - Melbourne for November 2018.

January 2019: Auckland – Kuala Lumpur – Kuching forC hinese New Year 2019.

But I have to work out how to get back to Auckland in both cases. With all that mental activity, I needed a decent breakfast and I chose a cauliflower prata and an egg prata.

After some rest, I wandered out just before 1000 but there was nothing much open. Perhaps it was because it is Sunday or maybe it is just too early. I returned and did stuff on the internet, which was nice to have after a week without a sustainable connection!

A nap didn’t work and finally about 1500, I wandered out with a plan to spend the rest of my money. Lunch, a haircut and some medication. As I was sniffly and chesty I got some antihistamine and anti-mucolytic. Drugs in India are cheap as they make generics and it is a good way to spend last rupees.

Eg. Cetrizine antihistamine 10mg was INR16.35 (NZD0.37) while in New Zealand it is about NZD13 per 10-pack. FYI generic viagra is INR1110 (NZD2.40) for four tabs while in New Zealand the new non-prescription one is NZD22; and it appears to be made in the UK? So the price is 1/35thfor antihistamine and 1/9thfor Viagra.

I ended up not having enough for a haircut and left it. I returned for my rest and failed napping. I got ready and checked out at 1830 to head to the airport by metro. There was a huge raucous religious procession in Main Bazaar which made foot traffic difficult. At the station, I struck it lucky and hopped on a train about to depart which meant standing room only.

I got to the terminal within 45 minutes. I was just less than 4h till departure and check-in for Malaysia Airlines was open. It took seconds and I joined the immigration queue which took about 25 minutes even though it was short. Security was swift and I was in the Plaza Premium Lounge three hours before departure for a 2h stay.

I was surprisingly hungry and had my third instance of meat (chicken) in India this trip (after the tribal pork dish and KFC).

We boarded a little later than expected and departed slightly late. I was lucky to have selected an extra-legroom (and recline) seat for no fee. It was a window seat that wasn’t (the window was absent) but it didn’t matter being a night flight.

Soon after take-off we were offered a juice and peanuts. Supper came pretty quickly. The non-veg option consisted of a chicken pulao (I think) with dhall. A savoury bake and gulab jamun was on the side. A roti was wrapped on top of the hot meal and the assembly heated in the oven in one hit. My last Indian flight, the roti was warmed separately and being rather densely rolled up, the meal service had to stop-and-start for the rotis to catch up. This was a nice idea and I had first seen it on Oman Air out of Muscat.

I managed to doze for about 3h with the aid of a sleeping pill. I woke up feeling much better. I thought my chest had improved in the dry filtered cabin air, as opposed to the mildewy rooms in the highlands or the pollution of Delhi.

I caught a glimpse of one of the senior crew in the galley, wearing disposable hotel slippers and his shirt out and tie undone. Not a good look. Some of the crew had been rather rude and offhand to the passengers too. I think it is a fact of life on flights to/from India on South-East Asian airlines and I have seen worse on Singapore Airlines.

On the other hand, the pilots were exemplary in their announcements. But of course, there were a few quirks in the pronunciation. “Delhi” was “Del-hi” instead of “De-lhi”. Bay of “Begal” was pronounced “Bay-ngal”. It’s a Malaysian thing which is natural even for me these days. For us, the correct pronunciation for “Singapore” is “Si-nga-por”. It gets amusing on the Australian flights where all the crew refer to “Brisbane” as “Bris-bayne”.

We arrived on time and I had a seamless connection to Kuching. Uber had a surge pricing when I tried to order a ride. I waited but it didn’t go away and paid normal my usual rate to my apartment. But it was still cheaper than a taxi. I'm back in Kuching again to spend time with family.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Malaysia

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