Monday, August 30, 2010

Here are the details!

Ok so do you want a step-by-step of my travels?

Well, here it is…(this is going to be pretty lengthy so you can just scan if you want. No hard feelings)

Friday August 27, 2010

I arrived at the airport at about 2:15 to check-in and find my gate. We weren’t sure which carry-on I was going to be able to take because of size, so we packed one full of stuff and then when we got there we realized it was too big. Luckily we brought the spare and my sister moved everything over to it while I was checking in.

When the company bought our (there is another guy that is staying the 6 months as well) tickets, we booked our return flight for 6 months. However, when he showed up at the airport the Friday before I left he was not able to go because in order to stay that long in Malaysia you have to have a visa. He had to get his fight changed to reflect that he was leaving in 3 months instead. Don’t worry he flew out the next day and everything was good.

So, when I was checking in I had no worries that I would be just fine to get a boarding pass with my 3 month return flight. But the lady that was helping me told me that I needed a visa. I was very calm and just said politely that I don’t think I need one. She was kind of nasty at first, but after she went and got a co-worker to help her search again she came back and was very friendly and said that she was sorry for before. See what being calm and polite can get you. She didn’t even charge me for the one extra pound for my suitcase. I checked my computer (I put it in its original box with its original wrapping) and I was really nervous about it, but from what I gathered it was going to cost $700 to get it shipped over here so I was interested in another option. The lady at the counter said “whew this is going to be expensive.” I said “Ok, how much?” Then when she said $117 I said, “DO IT!” I was nervous the whole time, but I talked to my dad beforehand and we have insurance so if it broke or anything like that I would be ok. It would only be bad if I lost it.

I said my good-byes (on tape ;)) and then headed through security. I made it through security with flying colors and headed to my gate. My family was waiting at a glass waiting room when I walked by so I got one more wave and then I was off. I got to my gate pretty early so I made some phone calls and just sat around.

The first flight: Nashville to Chicago (1 hr 40 min)

The flight started boarding sometime before 4. I had one duffle bag and one roller suitcase as my carry-ons. The roller bag had to be put under the plane for this flight because it was too big. But in this case they take it from you right before you board the plane and then you can pick it up in the same spot right when you get off so it’s kind of like having it with you. If I would have known that I would have kept my cuter bag as my carry-on :).

I got a window seat with nobody sitting next to me (quite nice). I thought this would be the most packed flight, but I guess I was wrong. It was a one aisle plane with 2 seats on the left side and one seat on the right side. The flight was only about an hour or so. Short and sweet.

Before I got off the plane the flight attendant came around and asked if you had a connecting flight. Thank goodness because I was nervous about that. I called Gary to make sure that I didn’t need to claim my bags and check them again (just to be sure). He assured me I didn’t. I found my next gate and felt pretty good about it all. Then, as I was sitting there I realized people were going to the counter (good thing I was facing it) so I thought maybe I am supposed to go up there because the first boarding pass did not say anything about the rest of my journey. Correcto I was!! I received my boarding pass for the flight from…

I decided to add some pictures, because words can get pretty boring!

The Chi-town airport

The second flight: Chicago to Delhi, India (14 hrs 31 min)

We boarded the flight at about 7pm. As I was walking down the aisle I was praying that A. I had a window seat and B. I was not sitting beside someone who might have some bad body odor. Well, this is what I got…an aisle seat (yay) and beside an Indian man who currently lives in the states so no odor coming from him (yay). There was no window seat in my future for this flight because they were all taken (boo). This flight was scheduled to take a little over 14hours and I wasn’t sure how that was going to be. I talked to my Aunt Karen while I was in the Chicago airport and she told me that I would have my own individual TV and should be able to watch whatever movie I wanted to. She said she hoped she wasn’t lying and that was true because honestly I was really looking forward to that. Guess what!! She wasn’t lying!! YAA HOO!! I watched Date Night, Post Grad, Some of Iron Man 2 and Shrek Ever After. I feel like there might have been another movie, but alas my mind is blank! I am guessing that I slept a lot on this flight because it didn’t seem like it was that long. However, it could be because I watched a lot of movies, ate 2 meals, slept, and read. I was pretty busy! We were served dinner on the flight pretty quickly. It was chicken and pasta, vegetables, yogurt and some sort of fruit square thing (I don’t really know if the yogurt and fruit square went together, but I ate them together. I kept trying to peak at the guy next to me and see how he was eating it because I’m not a huge fan of just plain yogurt. You know now that I think about it I’m not really sure what the square object was, but it was sweet and made the yogurt taste better, so fruit it is). Then right after we ate our dinner they gave us a bag of goodies, which contained some chips, raisins, a wrap, crackers, water, cream cheese (not really sure what for), and maybe something else that I can’t remember. I only ate the chips and wrap and drank the water so I’m kind of blank on what all was in there. Then after we slept for a while we were served breakfast. It was really good with a cheese omelet, hash brown potatoes (and yes there was ketchup, but I was still on American Airlines…I was told that they don’t have ketchup here, but chili sauce that looks and is treated like ketchup) and once again plain yogurt. I didn’t eat it this time because there was no fruit square with it. Our flight landed in Delhi at about 8:30pm (Saturday night India time, which is 2 and a half hours behind Malaysia time - 11pm Saturday night, and that is 13 hours ahead of US Time – 10am Saturday morning). I’m getting really good at this time game thing. They gave out immigration cards on the flight, but since I had a connecting flight I did not fill one out, which I was hoping was correct (they ran out anyway, so I would have had to get one when I got off).

Once we exited the plane a lady was standing there handing out the cards and since nobody on the flight told me about a connecting flight I asked her if she had any info. Good thing I did because she told me to stand there with her (and 2 other scared-looking Americans). So, I did just that and watched everyone else leave the flight smiling and laughing while we were standing there scared to death at what was about to happen. So, we followed her to a cluster of seats with a glass wall behind and there was a security guard there checking people’s badges and such as they walked over to our side. She took my passport and info to a little desk and as we were sitting there me and the other 2 Americans were talking about how weird everything was and how we were so confused. I had to be taken care of first because my flight was leaving at 11 and there’s weren’t leaving until 1am and 6am. Thank goodness I didn’t have crazy layovers like that! The lady then led me through the glass doors to the lines for the airlines and I was flying Malaysian air. There was no line there so the lady went straight up to the guy and gave him all of our (me and another guy she was helping) info (also these people weren’t overly nice at this airport by the way.  Just a side note). She finished with whatever she was doing and then she told us that we might not get our checked baggage on the flight with us, but if that happens it will be there tomorrow. This made me extremely nervous!!!!!!!!!! My computer!!! So, I was a little freaked out, but once again stayed calm and polite. There was another guy from my flight that was also going to KL and he jumped in front of me to get his boarding pass, which is ok with me because I kind of watched him to know what I needed to do. I noticed that he had these little strips for his checked baggage. I didn’t have that but I had my receipt that the lady told me to give them to make sure that they knew that I had payed for all of the fees. However, that is not what they wanted. So, there I am in the Delhi airport with my duffle bag wide open searching for these little slips I was supposed to get all the way back in Nashville. I stand up several times and say I was never given those and they look at me like well…so back to the bag I go in a frantic racking of my brain as to where I could have put them IF I even got them. That lady was so nice surely she wouldn’t forget to give me something so important right?? Then the savior of the night (a man standing beside me watching all of this take place) shows me what it looks like (his aren’t slips, but a little thing with a barcode stapled to his boarding pass) and then he sees where they put mine :). They were stuck (they were stickers) to my original boarding pass holder! Whew that was close! I received my boarding pass and then I was off through the trillion security check points. Man does India really make sure you are supposed to be there. I’m not sure that I remember this, but I had just gotten off a long flight and I was little crazy from the baggage experience I just had, but one of the other guys who is here (Frank – he is a solutions guy from North Carolina) said that the India airport that he landed in, the security guys had machine guns (scary). I got frisked, checked, and re-checked, but I don’t really remember any machine guns. Then I was off to board to my next flight…

I'm not really sure what this, but it came up when I googled Delhi and I thought it looked cool!

The Delhi airport

The third flight: Delhi to Kuala Lumpur (5 hrs 41 min)

I tried to hurry to this gate because when I got my boarding pass he said if you aren’t at the gate by 10:30 you cannot board. So, I went straight there and waited. I was blessed that none of my overlays were more than an hour an a half because once I finally made it to the gates I really didn’t have that long to wait. The guy that checked me in gave me an aisle seat. I really wanted a window seat, but I guess there weren’t any of those left. Once again as I was boarding I was praying I would have an odor free flight. There was a pretty long walk to the terminal and there was a man that, once again, checked your passport, and another that checked your carry-ons. We received some paper straps to put on our bags and then they were stamped at security. I kept checking mine because one of mine had fallen off when I was on the escalator. That’s a good thing because the girl in front of me lost hers and she had to “step to the side.” Thank goodness I was a little paranoid about that huh?! Once I was on I spotted some window seats that were unoccupied and I prayed that nobody was sitting there so I could move. God said “No” to that request. He answers our prayers, but sometimes they aren’t what we want right?

There were a few things on this flight that got on my nerves…
1. A screaming baby behind me in the next cabin area
2. A man that would make a loud sucking noise on his teeth after he ate that was diagonally behind me
3. No American music
4. The movie that they showed was on a TV that flipped down from the top of the plane and I could only see the screen if I sat straight up
5. The movie was some kind of foreign film about a guy who was a nanny for this woman’s little girl and they would switch back and forth from their local language and English, so sometimes it was hard to follow.
6. The food was not as good (I’m just not a big fan of curry).

There were a few things that I did like though…
1. There was more space on the Malaysian airlines than American Airlines.
2. The seats were colorful!
3. I fell asleep with my headphones on (during the foreign film) and I woke up and GLEE was on!!! I love that show!!
4. The flight attendants were very very nice!!

We received a card to fill out before we got off the flight (I guess it was like an immigration card). One of the things we were supposed to fill out was the address of the place we were staying. I wasn’t sure of the address, so I left that part blank hoping they would know of place (Gardens Hotel, Mega Mall is all I could remember from my co-workers emails).

We got off the flight and I was just following the crowd blindly. We got to a place where we had to give them those cards (she didn't even ask for the address) and our passport and that’s when they stamped my passport! What a memory! I should have taken a picture. Then I went to search for my bags. The nerves came back about my bags not making it. I waited around for a while at the conveyer belt thing and there were several bags there, but not mine. So, once the bags stopped coming up and I had watched the same bags pass by several times, I found a man that worked there and asked him what I should do. He took my bag tags and got on his little walkie-talkie and with the language barrier we were having a little bit of a hard time understanding each other. Essentially he wanted me to wait a couple more minutes. And then, there it was MY COMPUTER!!! The bottom of the box was open and there was a rope tied around it to keep it in, but it was there! Then next was my suitcase! Shew life is good!!

I grabbed my bags and headed to find the taxi place. I was told that they have taxi’s that they call limos that are no different from any other car they are just really expensive (75 USD). I made sure that I asked for the budget car, which cost me about 25 USD.  I then found the bank place to exchange my USD to MR.  I had $90 in cash at that point and I recieved 275MR.  I found my taxi man and off we went. The scenes were pretty nice. It kind of looks like Florida with palm trees everywhere. The ride to the hotel was about 20-30 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to tip the taxi driver (I didn’t). However, I did tip the bell hop. He was extremely nice and helpful so I tipped him 10 MR which is equivalent to about $3. I felt like I was cheating him, but I didn’t want to give him too much right? I have since found out that we do not tip EVER!!! Supposedly they add taxes and service fees to everything.

KL airport

I'm here!!!!

August 29, 2010 I arrive in Malaysia for my 6 month adventure!

Well, I know this is long and not really that exciting, but I wanted to write it all down while it was pretty fresh on my mind.

For those of you who suffered through it I hope you were able to stay awake!
Love from Malaysia!


nat said...

Great post! I did a lot of laughing, which is always a good thing! I gather you haven’t done much flying. The picture that you weren’t sure about is of the Taj Mahal. I thought everyone knew that! I’m looking forward to reading about all your adventures in Malaysia! Love ya girl!

nat said...

Oh yes, and I also love Glee!