New Zealand Travelogue – Thursday, 8th October 2015

Soundtrack: *cough*, *splutter*

Google Fit stats:

  • Activity: 1 hour 9 minutes
  • Distance: 1.7 km
  • Calories: 597
  • Steps: 4,560

Another day another flight.

The previous flight got pretty rotten towards the end. Lack of sleep really affects SWMBO, and the headache it gave her was nasty. She got a couple of headache tablets and they helped, but it was getting off the plane that did the most good. It disappeared pretty quickly then, leaving just an extreme tiredness. She didn't even get the 2x20minutes I got on the flight, and I was so sleepy I was talking gibberish.

Anyway, off the plane into Kuala Lumpur airport. The airport is huge! It's so big it has an internal railway to take you between gate areas (not terminals). Side note - the one we took had American-Sounding Racist on it. Not sure what he made of all the 'foreigners' around him.
We got through immigration pretty quickly, and our bags were among the first out (once we found the right carousel), and then we were out meeting J.

My sister J is great. She's one of those people who can light up a room just by entering it. I don't see her enough, and I feel guilty for that (it's my fault we don't travel more - I haven’t seen either sister in too long, and my other sister G lives much closer). So we decided to have a one-day stop over in Kuala Lumpur since that's where she and her family are living.

Our windscreen picked up a reptilian hitchhiker leaving the airport.

First on J's list was getting to her home for a brief relaxation, with an introduction to the two dogs (Sookie and Sidney), and the new cat. This wee cat was found outside in the street in a bit of a bloody mess. They've taken him to the vets, got him fixed up and are looking after him now. He still doesn't have a name. SWMBO has decided he's called Simon, and called him that repeatedly throughout the day. I'm not sure it has stuck.

SWMBO stringing 'Simon'

I was (and am) a bit worried about the cat. He hasn't been vaccinated yet (he has a respiratory infection the vet wants to clear up before vaccination) so I was worried being around him with things that had been around Fergus. And (since he has an infection) I was worried about taking things he'd sneezed on back to Fergus, infecting him too. This didn't seem to bother possibly-Simon, who would quite happily come up to me and chew my clothes. Or my toes. Or play-fight with my hand. Hope he gets better soon.

(Side note: cats in Malaysia often have a forked tail, and A tells me it’s prehensile too. That’s a worrying trend - I think the only reason cats tolerate us is because we can open the food sachets. If they can do it themselves, how long until they discard us?)

Next, J had booked us tickets for the Petronas Twin Towers. These are great to see, but visibility was quite poor - Malaysia has been plagued by a haze for a while now because of forest fires in Indonesia. The fires are far away, but so big and so intense that it's causing health problems and flight delays in Kuala Lumpur. When I heard this I started wondering if my light cough and dry eyes were a result of this haze rather than just a post-flight dryness. One more thing to add to the Checklist Of Worries. Another thing to add is that worrylist J and family all have to live with that haze every day.

Haze in Kuala Lumpur from the Indonesian forest fires, seen from the Skywalk of one of the Petronas Twin Towers

But yes, the towers are very high. We walked across the Skywalk (42nd floor, 170 metres up) and then went to the observation deck (86th floor, 350 metres up). Very impressive, but the haze meant we couldn't see as far as you normally can. J didn't come up the tower with us - she's done it before and she's not fond of heights.

Haze in Kuala Lumpur from the Indonesian forest fires, seen from the top of one of the Petronas Twin Towers

I wanted to get a picture of me and SWMBO on the observation deck, so I asked a kind passing Australian to take a picture using my phone. He tried but didn't really succeed, but I thanked him anyway and moved on. In a different part of the observation deck I asked a lady (also Australian) to take a picture of me and SWMBO. She said she couldn't (she was sitting because of an injured leg) but that she'd get her husband to do it.

She did. Her husband was the same Australian that couldn't take the photo last time...

In the end he did manage to take a photo. I had to point out the button to press, tell him not to touch the screen anywhere else, and to tap the button, not hold it in. But after that, we got a photo. It felt like an achievement. I prefer it to the green-screen photo they took of us before we went up the tower. That just felt cheesy. (Also, must remember to wear green next time I'm doing something like that, just to confuse the software.)

The photo, eventually

After the tower we had lunch. We all had Nasi Lemak, a local dish. I had the fish version, Nasi Lemak Penang. It wasn't particularly to my taste but I'm trying to try new things this trip. SWMBO had Chicken Nasi Lemak. Then a visit to a few shops for essentials and then it was back to J's home for The Most Glorious Two Hour Nap I've Ever Had. I felt a bit guilty for it since we were only in Kuala Lumpur for 24 hours, but by this stage I was talking nonsense and not thinking clearly so it was for the best.

After that it was just a relaxing afternoon and evening with family. S3 has grown into a beanpole since I saw him last - taller than me now, and very skinny. A's looking good these days too. H and M (A's brother and sister-in-law) came over for dinner too - I think the last time I saw them was 1996! Was lovely to catch up with them. That evening with family was just great, and reminds me that I should do things like that more.

This was followed by a whopping 5 hours sleep. I had no trouble dropping off.

Then it was up, re-pack and out for 6am. J's family were all flying out as well to watch S2 play in a tournament in Bangkok. I think the furthest I went for a tournament in school was Lisburn. They truly are living in a different world.

Checking in was lengthy but straightforward. I wanted to ask about an upgrade, given how hard we found sleeping on the previous flight, but this took us to a couple more desks and talking to people (not my strong point). In the end we found out it would be possible to upgrade but it would cost £350 each. Didn't think it was worth that.

Turned out OK though - we got Emergency Exit row seats, so plenty of leg room this time. And there's only two seats in this block rather than 3, so SWMBO and I have it to ourselves. I think she's managed to nap a bit this time by propping herself up against the window. This may annoy the man in the seat behind her, who paid for an exit-row seat and didn't get one.

Another day, another plane

And that's up to where we are now - inbound to New Zealand, a 13 hour flight scheduled to arrive about 3.5 hours from now.

Tags: Personal
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