I wrangle my bike through Melbourne airport. It won’t fit anywhere so I have to lift it upright and hope I do no damage to the derailleur or forks. It’s packed tight in the box though and doesn’t move around so that gives me hope. After checking in my bags I leave the trolley and just carry the bike over my shoulder like it’s a heavy (23kg) carton of beer.
Gear dropped I buy breakfast and go to my gate. A quick eyeball shows that there is quite a bit of hand luggage laying around so when a few people start queuing I join them to ensure I don’t end up with my bag beneath my feet. Not my usual style but I’ll be sitting for the next eight hours so why not.
I’m flying Air Asia who operate a regular service to Kuala Lumpur then onward flights from there. By my estimation 70% of the people at the gate lounge are Asian and the remaining guests are almost all families with primary school aged children heading to Thailand and Bali for the school holidays (I couldn’t help overhear their conversations throughout the airport).
The first thing I notice about the plane and service of Air Asia is that it’s a higher standard than I have experienced on our domestic budget airline Jetstar. There’s more leg room and the hospitality for which Malaysian-based airlines are famous. I adjust my watch to Malaysian time and settle in to do some work, read my Korea guide book to shortlist places I must see, watch The Grand Budapest Hotel (a strange movie if ever there was one) and have a short kip (I don’t want to sleep too log because it is day time). The food I pre-ordered was excellent and the quiet zone seat is restful. I’m glad it was a good experience because I will be flying Air Asia a lot over the next year or so.
Kuala Lumpur airport is modern and large. I find the movie lounge and settle in with a box of Pringles (my favorite chippies). Other than the security women wearing head covers I don’t have the same sense of being in a foreign land as I did in Abu Dhabi airport in February. I think it’s because the people here are mostly Asian and Australia really had become part of Asia the past five years with a high population of migrants and students from our neighbouring continent. I think it’s also because I understand some words of Bahasa Malaysian thanks to my family’s Indonesian heritage so the language is comforting.
I have a long break here. I arrived at 4pm and depart for Seoul at 1am. I watch a movie. Have some food. Do some more work. Surf the net. And Skype home. That should help pass the time nicely. Then I’ll sleep on the plane and wake up in Korea.