As I sit and write this, I am extremely jetlagged, but excited to have finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Let me tell you the story of how I ended up here.
It has been a very interesting week thus far. On Wednesday, I went to see Les Mis in London with a few good friends. I’d only ever seen the touring version in Southampton once before, which I disliked because I found it difficult to keep up with all the characters and their subplots etc. The full production at the Queen’s Theatre exceeded all my expectations, as by this point I already knew who the characters were. Plus, the staging was excellent – I thought the rotating stage was a great feature.
My favourite bit was probably Javert’s death. I was expecting something dramatic after he had jumped off the bridge – a crack, a thud, anything. Instead he clambered onto the floor and barrel rolled off stage, a rather anticlimactic end to his miserable life.
The night before we flew, Tarryne and I watched a light show at the Brighton Pavilion for the Fringe called Mr Blighty. It commemorated the South Asian soldiers that fought for the UK in World War One, and were sent to the military hospital based inside the Pavilion when wounded, because according to contemporaries it would “remind them of home”. Whatever their intentions were, I think it’s important to remember the young men who fought for a country that was not their own, in order to combat the racist bigotry that tends to prevail these days.
All brightly lit up like a Bollywood movie.
I should probably describe my currency debacle to prevent other procrastinators from doing the same thing. I didn’t decide to order my ringitts, baht etc until a couple of days before we were due to fly (on Bank Holiday weekend), which was a huge mistake. Since you have to pre-order funny money like the above mentioned, I had left it far too late. I frantically phoned around all the currency exchanges I could possibly think of to see if they had any bits and bobs lying around. Shout out to Staines Post Office for keeping Thai Baht and Singapore Dollars in stock – that really helped relieve my stress. However, I still needed to find ringitt. I managed to get a thousand of them at Moneycorp Gatwick by phoning to see if they had any going spare – I was lucky, because they were having a delivery the day before my flight, so I was able to reserve some to tide me over. Moral of the story is – never leave anything to the last minute, especially when it comes to travelling. I certainly won’t again.
We opted to fly with Emirates, as lots of my friends had recommended it. Everyone except the doctor who did my rabies vaccinations, who claimed that it was like “long haul Ryanair”. Whilst it certainly wasn’t on that level, it was a little disappointing – the staff seemed somewhat disorganised and the service was not totally there. I understand if they are busy, but I had requested a vegetarian meal well in advance, and they seemed confused when I said I’d already pre-ordered one. The entertainment system was great, though.
Our flight was 17 hours in all. The first flight flew by. Here’s some pictures of us on the Skybridge at Gatwick, which was quite exciting as I’d never been on it before.
I enjoyed running along those travelators.
After a three hour layover at Dubai, our second flight was not fun. We had really bad turbulence from the East coast of India right up until landing, rather scuppering my plans to drown my flight anxiety in sleeping pills. Alas, the anxiety was much too strong this time. However, we landed safely, and took the KLIA express to Sentral and changed for Putra, where our apartment is. It’s on Airbnb, and thus far, it’s lovely.
We then went out to the supermarket, which is in a big shopping centre next door. For us, it was a bit pricey, and this is how we knew:
No Tesco Value here, only Waitrose.
First impressions of Malaysia? Well, there’s only one phrase me and Tarryne have been saying today, and that’s “It’s hot”. Tune in tomorrow to see more of our exploits in Kuala Lumpur.