Leaving Las Vegas
It’s a bright, shining morning and I’m sad to say I must depart Kuala Lumpur for other bright, shining places. Kuala Lumpur is like Las Vegas, only instead of casinos, they have shopping malls with a thousand stores, basketball courts, running tracks, entire floors dedicated to spas, and even an amusement park with a roller coaster.
Now I’m heading to Bali where you voted to drop me next. Although my flight is at 12:00 noon, I’m told to leave for the airport at 8:00am in order to be there two-hours early for an international flight, as well as to account for the heavy Kuala Lumpur weekday traffic.
I stop by the eighth floor of the hotel (The Federal which I’ve enjoyed and would generally recommend) for my complimentary breakfast. I’ve been upgraded in this hotel and there’s a free breakfast and free tea each day that they kind of keep secret and you must ask about. I discovered it ten-days into my stay. The breakfast supposedly runs from 7:00am-10:00am yet, when showed up at 9:45, I was told it was about to close, and when I arrive today at 7:45, I’m told it’s not quite open (I’m thinking it’s open from 9:32 – 9:49am)
As I step outside and catch a taxi to the airport, I’m fairly confident I won’t have the luggage problems I had with AirAsia in India (read all about it in I’m Done) as, while I’ve purchased a couple of pieces of clothing here in Kuala Lumpur (it’s shopping heaven for god’s sake), I’ve donated various pieces of clothing to hotel housekeeping, as well as mailing a small box of clothes back to the States (oh, how I’ll miss my pretty boots; the only ones I’ve found which fit my muscular calves). Besides, Malaysian Air allows for thirty kilograms of checked bags (that’s like sixty-six pounds). Also, this isn’t India.
Kuala Lumpur wasn’t all fun and games as I spent most of my time trying to get my computer working after it crashed (T-shirts saying “I survived the great computer crash of 2015 available at the gift shop upon exiting). And, while I’m still struggling with some computer issues, I lost my audition video for the Travel Channel’s Win Your Own Travel Channel Web Series (you could always tweet them at @TravelChannel and tell them what a great show Drop Me Anywhere would make) as well as a few other things, Kuala Lumpur was a welcome respite after the trials and tribulations of India.
I arrive at the airport and effortlessly check in at Malaysian Air. I head through security where I’m not required to take off anything and am instructed to leave my electronics in my bags. Uh, okay. I, like everyone else before me, beep while passing through the metal detector. Nobody stops me and I see no wands (electronic or magic). As I gather my things to walk away, I notice that I’d left my bottle of water in my backpack. Apparently I’m the only one who notices this or, at least, cares.
I chat with the nice man at immigration for a moment or two, tell him I like it here and don’t want to leave, and am sent on my way. After taking the train to my terminal, I walk towards my gate and notice The Body Shop on the right. They have samples out front and, as they have a bottle of soap to test on their cart, I pump some into my hands. Any chance to wash your hands at an airport just makes good sense. What I don’t realize is that this isn’t the no water required antibacterial soap, but real, honest to goodness, coat your hands, add water and lather soap. I walk inside and put my hands out in front of me while looking at the two people behind the counter.
“There’s no sink in here,” one says as they both point down the hall.
Apparently I’m not the first this has happened to and I can’t help but feel they get a bit of amusement out of it. (Signage people, signage!)
I head to the bathroom, lather up, grab a cup of coffee (at a coffee shop, not in the bathroom) and walk to my gate. As I arrive at my gate, I find
another security check. This one is more serious than the last one and I’m required to remove all of my electronics from my bag and dispose of my water bottle (a tiny bit irritating as, after this point, there’s no place to purchase any). When I beep going through the metal detector, there are still no wands, but there is a lady who’s assigned to feel me up. I gather my things and take a seat at my gate.
Following lunch with an accompanying glass of fine, I attempt to figure out the on board entertainment program. I’d been reading in the airline magazine about the large choice of on board movies which made me think I might need to become a frequent flyer with Malaysian Air simply to catch up on all of the films I wanted to see. (My sister calls me cinematically retarded.) I ultimately land on The Grand Budapest Hotel seeing as how I’ve been there (not the hotel as I don’t believe it actually exists, but to Budapest). The biggest challenge is figuring out how this thing works. I tap the blank screen and nothing happens. I press the plus and minus buttons on the side; still nothing happens. I search the armrest and find only two buttons; one of which leans my seat back, and the other seemingly does nothing (though someone’s garage door in Bali might be opening right at this minute). I see a phone on the armrest. Might I need to dial up for a movie. I finally press the magic, green button which releases the telephone handset. On the opposite side of it, I find a remote control for the TV! Clever thinking as this means that the person seated in front of you will not feel you constantly pushing on their seat and, you know, turn around a slap you.
After pushing a variety of buttons, I figure out how to turn the darned thing on. Next, is a learning process (in actuality, it’s dumb luck) on how to select my movie. I don’t believe The Grand Budapest Hotel is a cartoon in your choice of German or an unidentifiable Asian language, but somehow that’s what I get. I finally find it after several attempts. I spend the next fifteen minutes watching the movie which, I believe, is probably a beautiful movie to watch on the big screen, though it’s less than impressive on a screen the size of a thumbnail (okay, perhaps it’s a little larger than that; maybe This little piggy went to market-sized). Anyway, I never make it to the end as, when I get up to use the restroom, the flight attendant asks me what I’m doing in Bali. When I explain Drop Me Anywhere to him, he’s very interested and tells me of his idea for a blog on international dog-training. We decide to meet up should I make it back to Kuala Lumpur. A reminder – talk to strangers. Make friends in foreign lands.
Three-hours after taking off, I land in Bali. After walking through the large airport, I’m one of the first from my flight to arrive at the Visa On Arrival desk. I ask about an ATM as, while you can pay in any currency, I don’t have the equivalent of $35 U.S. in Malaysian Ringgit left over. They point me to the ATM. There are four of them. . . all out of order. I head back over to the Visa on Arrival desk, and get in line as now, a few flights have landed and there are about one-hundred people now in front of me. I ask if they take debit.credit card and am surprised when the man says yes. Unfortunately, he also says his machine is down (not really surprised there). I dig $35 of the $120 emergency U.S. cash which I keep tucked away in my wallet (always carry some emergency cash, and wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident’ thanks mom) and hand it over.
Thirty-day Visa On Arrival receipt obtained, I head through immigration, get my visa stamp, gather my bag, walk through customs and head outside to grab a taxi.
Tomorrow – Hello Bali, well hello, Bali. . .
**The voting for the next Drop Me Anywhere location is up and ready for you to decide. It’s called Pinky and the Cable Car and you can vote here!