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Published: June 10th 2017
Geo: 3.12433, 101.684
Here I am again at the Kuala Lumpur airport, sitting in one of their comfortable chairs with leg extensions, looking out at the jungle that grows in an outside courtyard but is surrounded by the inside airport. When I first saw this I was very excited because of three reasons: 1. It is absolutely gorgeous, as all wild green places are; 2. I love being able to walk outside while still being considered within the airport; and 3. Now I can count Malaysia as one of the countries I've visited because I've walked outdoors! This adding up countries matters because someday I want to join --or at least quality for-- the Century Club. Their only stipulation is that a potential member has travelled to 100 different countries. I'm not quite halfway eligible yet, but it's a goal. I'm working on it.
It has clouded over now, but at 34C, about 98F, that's probably a good thing. When I walked out there earlier it felt nice and warm, but not 98F hot. Someone in Australia told us an easy way to translate from Celcius to Fahrenheit: double the number and add 30. Knowing that has been very helpful. I used to just remember 16C was approximately 61F and figure from there, but that knowledge had definite limitations. This formula works much better.
I am in the middle of flying from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Delhi, India on Malaysia Airlines. (I just love saying Kuala Lumpur! Isn't it a beautiful sound? Say it a few times and hear how musical the name is. Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur... Another place I love to say and hear is Sri Lanka. These are beautiful, flowing names, unlike Dusseldorf or Pittsburgh or Moscow or Ho Chi Minh City or Medicine Hat, although that name appeals because it is funny.) The people who work for Malaysia Airlines are very polite, and very hard working. Their clothes and grooming are impeccable; they always smile and try to please the passengers, their customers. Would you prefer an aisle or a window seat? And you don't want to be near a bathroom? No problem. When you ask for a blanket instead of telling you there aren't any, or charging $7 for one they bring a clean one for you. Or two if you need them. Did you order a special (in my case, vegan) meal? Here it is, hot and, for airline food, better than most. And here is the clincher: even on morning flights along with the juice and water, coffee and tea on the drinks cart, they offer a choice of red or white wine. It's not the best wine, but they do not stint when they pour. Given the stress and now usual unpleasantness of flying these days, a glass of Chardonnay or Shiraz is lovely; it can take the edge off that jagged feeling so well known to economy fliers. Just one glass (no credit card needed, thank you) and it is easier to sit next to the lady who keeps knocking your arm off the shared armrest; just one glass and it doesn't matter so much that the burly gentleman is spilling well over into your seat. Just one glass and people bashing into you in your aisle seat aren't really being clumsy or rude; maybe they've had just one glass too...many.
For all these reasons I can highly recommend flying Malaysia Airlines whenever possible. As a note, however, it is also fun to fly New Zealand Air, but bring a coat as they keep the cabin really cold.
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