Flight Back

I was a bit worried about my bags. They are quite heavy now and as I waited in the very long queue at the check in I saw many people being turned away because they were over the limit. Luckily, I was fine and after 45 minutes in the line I had a nice chat with the check-in clerk (who I met again later at the gate itself) who set me all up for the return trip. I seem to have been here before…

I wandered around the duty free shop and picked up a few things for the office and my wife before sitting down at the gate with an ice cold drink (quite humid in here) and a magazine.

Of course, I had a window and craned my neck as we left Sydney. I did manage to see a bit of it as we flew over. The flight took us directly across the middle of Australia and since we left at 3:00 pm we were able to see it quite clearly.

The Outback - Seriously

I was most excited about flying over Alice Springs. I had always known how remote it was and I knew it was smack in the middle of the country.

Alice Springs...from 11,000 Feet

Even Alice is quite isolated. I only spotted a few small roads leading in and out of the city. This was, however, the most populated area that I saw as we crossed the country with the majority of the space being simply empty. Even the occasional block of green delimiting a homestead had only a small road leading to it with not much else on it.

More Outback

I have no idea how people would live in such isolation. And what exactly do they do out there? Internet must be like manna from heaven for them…or even television reception!

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur at about 8:30 pm and I soon learned that my flight to Heathrow was delayed. We were supposed to leave on the Airbus 380 just before midnight but we were told it was delayed until 10:00 am (I learned later that there was a technical problem with one of the wings). Oh dear. Well, the first thing I did was to go to the transfer desk to see what was going on. They indicated they would be taking us to a hotel for the evening and bringing us back in the morning for our flight. I waited for about 20 minutes before being told the name of the hotel and where to wait for the bus downstairs.

Of course this meant I had to enter the country. Previously I had just been in transit so did not have to go through immigration. I did not even know if I needed a visa to get into Malaysia! But, it turns out, I didn’t and passed through without any problems. I did not have any luggage because that was being held for the flight in the morning but it did mean that this night I would have to live out of my rucksack…

I had no money, of course, having not planned to stop in Malaysia but I had kept a certain amount of British currency on me in case I needed it for here - So I could easily exchange it. This turned out to be a good idea as I visited an exchange agent and asked simply for some local currency and handed over £30. At least I have some money now…

I went to the door where I was told we would catch the bus and saw a number of other people obviously waiting for the trip to the hotel as well. They had been waiting quite some time. Oh dear. I headed out into the humidity of the evening in the bus depot and quickly figured out our bus was not here so I went back into the airport to wait with the others. I was, of course, all this time trying to let my wife know what was going on - I had been trying to get back for early on Sunday as she had a lunch planned for me (it is my birthday) but it looks like this will not be happening. She was, of course, more concerned that I was alright…and, baring a bit of frustration waiting around, I am.

Eventually a representative came in to get us then pointed to a distant coach to catch to the hotel. About 30 of us got aboard the rather worn and tired looking minibus where we waited for something to happen. The air conditioning, thankfully, was on but, un-thankfully, it was on full blast so I froze the whole time.

Eventually the driver came to take us to our hotel. Despite being given the name of a hotel I was not sure where we were going. We drove along a large motorway busy with traffic. On either side of the road was mile after mile of palm trees and exotic greenery lit up by the lights on the road. Occasional massive advertising hoardings broke up the monatany somewhat but it was a long time before we turned off the main road then onto another toll road. One of the other passengers said that it was a long way from the airport into the city here so he hoped we were not going all the way into the city. Generally people were fairly quiet and resigned to the situation but, of course, tension was high.

Finally, we turned off of the motorway, down a street lined with, oddly, Japanese restaurants, under another expressway before turning into our hotel. I saw the name lit up as we followed the short winding road to reception: The Dorsett Grand Subang. Oh my goodness. The Dorsett is a chain of luxury hotels that have recently opened a hotel in Shepherd's Bush (London) just a stone’s throw from where I live.

It is amazing. Much better than I think any of us expected. We queued up on the marble floor outside of reception to pick up our room keys. I was given a very large room that was very nicely appointed indeed.

Room at the Dorsett Grand Subang

The only odd thing about the room is that the wall of the bath is glass so sitting in the main part of the room on the bed or elsewhere you can see right into it.

One of the only thing I know about Kuala Lumpur is that is it home to the double-spired “Petronas Towers” which used to be the tallest in the world. So, of course, I looked out my window to see if I could spot them but all I could see was the hotel opposite. The other thing I know about KL is that it is home to a Formula 1 race and I did see the signs for the racecourse just outside of the airport - I did not know it was so close to the airport rather than the city.

It was well after midnight and with breakfast at 6:00 am in the morning I did not really have a lot of time to look around the hotel so I stripped down and got into bed (remember, the bag with my pajamas was in storage at the airport…?). There was not a lot on TV so after checking in with my wife on my limited amount of free wi-fi in the hotel I turned out the light and went to sleep.

In the morning I had a shower and was able to shave (using a free kit provided in the room). I have to admit, I felt a lot better even after the few hours I was actually asleep.

I packed up my rucksack and headed down to the lobby for breakfast. I was still a bit early so I had a bit of a look around.

"Happy Deepavali" Display in the Lobby...

Dorsett Lobby

Breakfast was in a large area in the basement to the left of the reception so I made my way down the winding stairs and found myself a table. The dishes on offer were very good indeed with a wide mix. Rice Soup (Chinese - congee), dim sum (Chinese again), various fish, sushi/sashimi, fresh fruit, nuts as well as the normal “typical” breakfast food: bacon, beans, cereals, yoghurt, coffee, etc. I sampled various curries and sat down to enjoy it. Very nice indeed.

Breakfast Area at the Dorsett

I finished my breakfast and returned to the lobby to sit and wait for the coach. There was no way I was going to miss it despite now probably having enough money to get to the airport should it come to that.

I didn’t miss the coach and the trip back to the airport (in the dark again so I have never really seen any of Kuala Lumpur - actually, I learned there was a very nice pool at the hotel…missed that too…along with the nice looking dim sum buffet they were having at lunch today) was uneventful. I had the boarding card that had been updated with the new departure time last night so went straight through security and to the gate. Of course, a few hours later we found out that we had been told the wrong gate and we had to go to the other side of the airport…but no harm, really. I got there in the end and despite the rather large crowds we eventually boarded for the flight to Heathrow.

Kuala Lumpur Airport - Early in the Morning

Kuala Lumpur from the Air


It has been a very fast visit to Australia. I did manage to see and do a fair amount with my time (though I always feel I could have done more). The delay in Kuala Lumpur was unexpected but turned out to be absolutely amazing with the hotel they gave (I was told passengers arriving later in the evening ended up in not-so-nice hotels so I guess I was one of the lucky ones).

After 12 hours we landed in Heathrow. I was finally home. I did get a bit of sleep but I am not really all that tired. My wife and I are happy I am back but I have promised to take her to visit Australia at some point in the near future. I have been thinking she might like to live there…I have been thinking I might not mind it either…