We sit watching the runway at the Gold Coast Airport. A crewing issue has delayed our flight by an hour but it doesn’t bother us. We have a two night stopover in Kuala Lumpur so there’s no rush. Budget airlines call this small domestic and interns airport home: Air Asia X, Scoot and Jetstar planes stand on the tarmac waiting for passengers. Just one of each.
The flight is full. Watching the other passengers is always fascinating. Some complain about everything from the leg room (surely everyone knows by now that leg room is non-existent when flying) to the change for purchases being paid in Malaysian Ringgit. The latter works in our favour because I found some Korean Won when I was packing our house. Not enough to exhange but too much to ignore. I use these to buy a cup of tea: the Ringgit I received as change are more useful to me than the Won. Paul passes the flight sleeping and listening to music while I sleep and watch movies. Oh how I love the convenience of smart phone technology and Netflix.
The airport bus drops us at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. We could easily take the monorail to Bukit Bintang but have been sitting all day. The 4km (1.5 mile) walk not only allows us to stretch our legs but also gives us more time “in” KL. Places now evoke memories for us: the shop where we bought sunglasses, the roundabout where we dices with death to get across, the corner where we ate a delicious meal and that spot where I threw a hunger tantrum. And new sights open up before our eyes: the gorgeous Church of the Holy Rosary and the Bukit Bintang food street.
It’s hot and humid so we take a shower before heading out for dinner at 9pm. The market is an assault on the senses. The heady stench of durian fills the air around the many vendors selling this local delicacy. As much as I hate durian, the scent centres me here in Malaysia. Touts push menus in our faces, proclaiming their restaurant as the best, oldest or cheapest. Small stalls sell the knick knacks typical of any market in the world. Table to table vendors try to push figet spinners and wooden baskets onto the captive audience of diners. And local buskers sing for ringgit. The crowd is mainly a mix of Chinese locals and foreign tourists. But not exclusively. We eat fried rice with sticky sesame pork and spicy stir fried vegetables. What a way to reimmerse ourselves into South East Asia.
A one hour foot massage for RM50 ($AU15) rounds out the first day of our adventure. Paul suggests adding on a back massage but I’m exhausted. It’s only 11pm but my body us still on Brisbane time and it feels like 1am. Besides, we have a full day here tomorrow.