15 April 2010
Isn't time a funny thing when you focus on an upcoming event for so long, and suddenly here I am sitting on a pre-dawn train. Did the time between conception and actuality get compressed somehow? I guess for months it didn't seem that way.
In spite of getting up at 04:15 I feel wide awake. The anticipation of going 'home', of being with friends who are more like brothers, of being a part of a major event at my old school ISKL.
Today my journey started with a 20km drive to the train station, now an hours train ride to the airport with a change at Central. My contrived flight itinerary takes me from Sydney to Adelaide for a two and a half hour stop between QANTAS flights, then on to Singapore. In Singapore I have a three hour layover before connecting to an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Now sitting on my QANTAS Boeing 737-800.
Had a coffee at the airport, so that will top up the caffeine levels to get me through to breakfast. Got myself a window seat as usual so people can come and go without disturbing me. I think it's about 2:30 to Adelaide. I just noticed there is no personal TV screen, so I guess no movie. Oh well.
It was interesting to see Lake Mungo near Mildura. I flew myself there many years ago. It is an ancient dried up lake with sand dues or a lunette along the eastern shore. Here they discovered Mungo Man who is determined to be 50,000 years old. Seems like he suceeded.
We then crossed the mighty Murray River. To see it stretching into the northern hazy horizon and realising this was but a fraction of it's length gave some idea of scale, to this river which has it's headwaters in Queensland.
We left Adelaide about an hour ago, taking off to the south over what is obviously the local coastal holiday area, Glenelg. It looked very nice.
We are now over the true outback and have just passed over Ayers Rock(Uluru). I didn't see that, but I did see the Olgas, so that was a first. The charming young lady sitting next to me who is doing a Phd in Corporate Law said last time she did this flight the pilot did a circle over Ayers Rock. Guess we lucked out this time. The stewardess just brought me a Wild Turkey from business class, so all is good with the world.
I have been rehearsing my speech for Saturday, silently to myself. I just hope I can deliver it. It does hit a few emotional touch points, I just hope I didn't hit them too hard.
Ok, so maybe I think a little too much while I'm flying. I feel it is the time that things are in some sort of perspective. Cut off from outside interference, removed from the Earth, good music(my own). Nice drinks, nuts(I brought my own). Why wouldn't you feel like you could concentrate on those feelings and thoughts you'd like to explore further?
Ok, I'm flying on holiday, but even my attractive lawyer seat mate enjoys the experience even though she is scribbling in her text book.
Anyway, yes air travel can be hard these days like most other things, but who can't get excited about going somewhere else? I would go stir crazy if I didn't have some trip to look forward to.
Incidentally, we are now about halfway between Australia (Derby) and Bali.
As we approach Bali, there are towering CBs (Cumulo Nimbus) cells all around. Whilst I have been to Bali, I have not been to Java few miles to the West. An oversight surely as it was the home of my father and two generations before him. From towns in the west decimated by Krakatau, to the highlands of Bandung, to the east at Surabaya and Cemarang. Today it is shrouded in white due to the rains reported by Lita of Surabaya.
So strange to look at the moving map and all the Indonesian places names are those that my father and his parents always spoke of in my youth, always with the Dutch inflection. So I guess that makes them cross cultural, as they had to leave after Indonesian independence.
Now over the Java Sea. Somewhere below us, back in September of 1971, I threw a VO5 shampoo bottle out the port hole of the MV Kuala Lumpur. In this bottle was a message purportedly from some scientific research agency (who obviously would be using plastic VO5 shampoo bottles) asking the finder to return the message to:
191 Jalan Pekeliling
Guess what. Never heard a thing. Surprising? No. Best could have hoped for was that original wild man from (in) Borneo found a mini water carrying vessel. Well, short trips only of course.
Approach into Singapore was through a maze of thunderheads. I did get a view of the city, which disappeared as we descended through heavy rain. The windows were awash, there was some spectacular forked lightning.
Baggage retrieval was held up due to the thunderstorm, but it helped to pass the time of which I had plenty. I rechecked in for Air Asia, and went back air side. There are some internet computers available, however, if you want to enjoy the free wifi you need to go to the information desk where they sign you up with your passport details. If you have a Singapore based mobile phone, you can sign up on the default website.
Finally departure time for my final flight. The Air Asia A320 is fairly empty, so a bit of room in what would normally be cramped conditions. A very short flight.
My Air Asia A320 is now on descent to KL Sepang.
Processing through the Low Cost Air terminal was pretty quick. No air bridges.
The ride to KL Sentral Stesen took an hour and seemed to be longest part of the journey. I was extremely tired by this stage, and was very relieved when the Petronas towers hove into view. At Sentral I haggled over a cab and then arrived at the Sheraton exactly 22 hours after getting up in Sydney. Tony was in the lounge bar, ready with a bourbon.
I am home!