Monday, 20 May 2013

Blog from The Dreaded Stopover

One flight leg down, one to go. I spent the morning in an oddly dissociative state, feeling as though it wasn’t really me going. It wasn’t really me zipping up my bag. It wasn’t me going through security. I couldn’t really be finally going back to Tokyo. Luckily I was able to snap out of it when I had to say goodbye to my partner and roommate at the international terminal gate, and from there on I was on my own. The flight itself was fairly good. I had been informed both on my flight documents and by several websites that my particular flight would only have overhead tvs playing preset movies, not Audio-Video on Demand systems for each passenger. I was surprised, as I was pretty sure the whole fleet had the new systems fitted, so I had prepared for the worst while maintaining a healthy hope that the documents were wrong. It turns out they were! Hooray! I therefore got to spend most of my flight catching up on a couple of movies I missed in the cinema, a tv show on the making of wedding cakes, a travel show on Tokyo I hadn’t seen yet, a documentary on Rowan Atkinson’s early career, and an episode or two of Top Gear. TV and movie loving me was very, very happy :)

So here I am at Kuala Lumpur Airport after a 7-hour flight, and facing another 7-hour flight in three hours time. Luckily that flight starts when I usually go to bed, so I’m hoping I can sleep (or what passes for sleep on a plane) most of the flight. I flew through KLIA last time I went to Tokyo 3 years ago, so everything is causing me a strange déjà vu. For one thing, it has become apparent to me that some places do indeed have a smell to them, even if it doesn’t seem that obvious. When I walked from the plane onto the bridge I caught a whiff of how the air smells here and BAM! Memories, right in the face. Thankfully they were mostly good ones. 

I am also embarrassed to admit that it took me exactly 8 minutes from stepping into the airport to browsing a shoe store. Seriously, once I realised what I was doing I cracked up laughing and checked my watch. I then wandered further into the airport and found myself doing all the things I did last time. Marvelling at how shiny things are, noting the huge line at Burger King in comparison to other food outlets, and once again immaturely giggling at the noodle bar named ‘Nööödles’. I then staked out a spot at DeliFrance, at a table by the window watching the planes taxi through the lights at night, and wrote this post for you, dear reader.

Overall I can recommend countries like Malaysia for transfer airports, as it is helping me slowly wade in to the experience of being abroad again. Most people speak English extremely well here, but are culturally different. The signs all have English on them, but in smaller writing under the words in Malay. Most conversations around me are taking place in a different language. I’m glad that I have this chance to get used to things being a little bit foreign again before jumping back in to a culture that mostly functions in a foreign language. Having said that, my Japanese is much better than my Malay ;)
So I’m off to find something else to do for the next two and a half hours. I’ll report back when I’m standing on Japanese soil :)

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