Traffic for 2011 April 17 (entry 0)

< break on through to the other side
sans Winnie the Pooh >

[Comments] (1) better than ok: Just to let the world know, we made it safely to Hong Kong last night, on schedule.

Friday night we left Bangalore for the airport at 9 pm. The kids went to bed at 7, slept two hours, and also slept an hour in the car on the way to the airport. Maggie was totally willing to go to bed early because she knew the sooner she went to sleep, the sooner the trip would start. Cutie bug. Our driver's company makes him work all week even though we aren't around, so I gave him two-days pay out of my pocket so he can also enjoy some time off. He was very shocked and pleased. I was humbled. After all, I only gave him $10.

We finished checking in by 10:45, in only 45 minutes time, giving us 2 hours to do nothing at the airport. When you plan for the worst, you get free time. My company informed me there is a planned strike on the 17th at the airport due to the supposedly-illegal toll booths. In anticipation of this event, we left early to give time around the boycott if necessary. It wasn't. I wonder what happened there today. Maggie played quietly and Dalton and I pushed around in the stroller together for 2 hours while sharing a Mango Lassi. The Bangalore airport is so nice. I honestly couldn't recall what it looked like the last time I was there. I wish Bangalore were as nice as it's airport.

We boarded our Air Malaysia flight, procured the second row, and settled in. Being an evening flight, we assumed sleeping was an option. It is on the Red Eye's from SLC to NYC. Not so. First they served drinks. Then they served full on meals. Then they forced us all to watch Gulliver's Travels, then finally, two hours into the flight, they turned off the lights. Needless to say, it made for four unhappy campers the next day. I'm seriously considering writing a letter. Who eats dinner at 3 am Malay time anyway? To boot, the food made me sick all morning. Chicken in green sauce will now be avoided at all costs.

Though the nice thing about Malaysian Air over Air India is no one hassled us about having 3 carry-ons for 3 seats.

Also, when you fly international here, there was no requirement to take off my shoes, belt, or dispose of liquids in my bag. Same was true when we checked in at Malaysia. I guess the US only requires this, and of outbound flights only.

We got to KL at 7 am. That airport too is extremely nice. The place was packed with white people, though no white babies. We changed clothes, shaved, shook off the sleepiness, and headed into town. The airport is about 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, but we prepaid for a cab and it was only $25US, and $10US to store luggage. The drive was nice. It was raining but we got to see the countryside. It was absolutely amazing to drive normal freeway speeds again, with no potholes, speed bumps, or the like. The drive reminded me of the toll roads in FL, and the vegetation in KL is much more than India. After Kipling's Jungle Book, I really expected India to look more, well, jungle-like. But it's actually quite dry with a lot of red dirt, reminds me of southern CA, actually. KL is a true jungle. And it had small mountains! Oh how I miss mountains! It was beautiful. And clean. Amazingly clean. I couldn't believe it. So clean, I highly recommend people to visit there. But be warned, the penalty for drug trafficking is death, according to my declaration card.

We arrived at the Patronus Towers around 9:30, 30 minutes after the booth for tickets to the observation deck opened. They were already gone. I was so bummed. Oh well, it was raining so hard I bet the cloud cover removed any decent view anyway. The foundation of these huge monstrosities (the second tallest building in the world and tallest twin towers in the world) is a 6-floor mall. We spent two hours in Toys R Us alone, letting the kids play. We also found a PretzelMaker, smoothies, etc. This mall had it all; including a lot of white people, and tons of families in strollers. Finally we weren't the sole stroller family in the country. People in India have no idea what a stroller is. The country appears to be quite Muslim. Everyone was so kind. People held elevators for us, let us cut in line at immigration with the kids, and honored the queue system. When a store clerk didn't know who was next, the gentlemen informed him it was our turn. It's amazing how kind they all were, though part of them stems from recent Indian experiences I am sure. The only downside was that smoking is allowed two inches from any store, unlike most US states that require a safe distance from buildings, etc.

With the rain, we were stuck in the mall most of the day, but did venture out to see the park next door.

Both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home on Susie, allowing me to take pictures of this amazing country. Our cab back out of town was twice what we paid to go in town, but he used the meter so I'm not sure how exactly he was scamming us. I didn't have enough money actually but he was happy to take the balance in USD, which is a 1:3 exchange on the ringgit. The ringget is a beautiful currency and I stashed some to take home.

Back at the airport we got in security in what felt like 5 minutes, once again leaving us 2 hours in the airport. We didn't mind this time, as they had COUCHES and CARPET here. Maggie never woke up; I think she slept through security even. So Susie slept on a couch with her while Dalton and I went postcard hunting. We also bought dinner, and I had a salmon creme cheese sandwich with tomatoes and real lettuce and it tasted like heaven. I fully intend to get it again on the way home. Susie even took a bite and said it was good! She later claimed she thought I said it was a grilled cheese sandwich but she still didn't spit out the bite. We may have a fish lover on our hands yet!

Our second flight leg was great! The plane was only 1/3 full so we got the bulkhead row of four seats all to ourselves. Maggie slept the entire flight. That means she slept from 3 pm to 10 pm straight! Dalton struggled but eventually fell asleep also. As did Susie. I was too excited to sleep and thus read my scriptures on the Kindle and struggled to understand that Tron movie. The plane chairs were all a different color; how festive! The food was fish and I didn't get sick this time.

Made it to the Kong around 10:30 pm, all exhausted except for Maggie. We once again got to cut in the VERY long immigration line, thanks to the kids, and our bag came minutes later. So we exchanged some currency and were off. I was so excited for the ride into town but the bridge lights were off and so were some of the buildings. It was too late I guess. We finally all went to bed around 12:30. Susie was afraid Maggie would wake up and not go back to sleep, but the three of us slept until 11:00 am. The Holiday Inn here is great. They had the kids couch bed made up for us, had extra towels in our room, and had mail for us for our WED trip! Also, when Dalton somehow managed to change the passcode to the safe today, then came and reset it in a New York minute.

Up at 11, I ran out to grab breakfast with Maggie. Oh how I miss bakeries! The bread tasted so good, even Susie ate some (which she wouldn't do in ChinaTown in SF). We eventually woke Dalton up, who was still tired, so we could go explore Causeway Bay. I never served here so the area was foreign to me. We also went to church at 1:30. I'll have Susie post pictures, because words cannot describe. This chapel looks like a Disney castle, and would give Hogwarts a run for its money. It's 11 storeys high! It is the nicest chapel I have ever seen. During sacrament I couldn't help thinking of all the alternatives the money for this chapel could fund. No doubt ever temple-worthy member in India could come here for a week on the electric bill alone! As I expected, I didn't recognize a single member, which is as it should be. The life of a Filipino maid in Hong Kong should be short term so they can return back to their homes after a decent amount of money has been made. It was so so so nice to sit in a pew again, with carpet floors, and not worry what germs Dalton is getting on the floor. It was also nice to hear an organ and not play a fake one. I know the spirit can be anywhere, but this building makes it quite easy. In India, we have to fight for it. The members here are very blessed.

I wore sneakers to church. They were extremely comfy and no one noticed, I'd wager. I'll be doing the same to the temple on Tuesday. I'm sure it looked silly but I don't care. Does that make me a sinner?

After church we ate beef at McD (could not resist) and watched it pour buckets of rain. Then we took the ding ding to Central. The nice thing about this part of the island is that, despite the rain, we hardly got wet. So many covered pedestrian walkways. We visited the Black Man at Statue Square (he's taller than I remembered) and hit the Mid-levels travelator. On the way there, Susie spotted H&M and we spent an hour and money in there as well. But Maggie now has a Hello Kitty shirt from the city that worships the feline.

We saw my last mission apartment and the old church, the Kam Tong Hall, which is now the Sun-Yay Sen museum. To my surprise and delight, the tour starts in the basement and the baptismal font is still there!!!!!!!!!! We asked Maggie what it was and she knew immediately. A very special place to me has been preserved.

By this point it was time to go home. Maggie & Dalton had fun taking a shower together, made easy by the detachable shower head. And heck, I love it too! I look forward to any shower not at our apartment in India.

Tomorrow we do it all over again! Without the rain; we think; we hope.


Comments:

Posted by Mom at Sun Apr 17 2011 21:47

So good to hear of your travels. Post as often as you can. You are bringing back a few memories for me. It's hard to picture some of where you've been. I guess a lot has changed. Glad you are all safe. Give the kids hugs.


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