Thursday 31st May 2018
So far on our travels, transportation has been easy with few hiccups. Well, we did get flown to Penang six weeks ago because we couldn’t land in Kuala Lumpur in a terrific tropical storm, but that didn’t delay our journey very much. The journey back to the UK this weekend, however, was very tedious. We left Kuching in Borneo on Saturday, expecting to arrive in England on Sunday but unfortunately, we only got here on Monday!
Our flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia was on time; it was a smooth journey. We stayed one night in a hotel not far from the airport and that was OK. On Sunday morning we got the 7.00 a.m. shuttle to KL International airport to get our Malaysia Airlines flight to London. We were expecting to land in England sixteen hours later at around 11.00 p.m. With a seven-hour time difference this would have been just 4.00 p.m. GMT, a perfect hour to collect the rental car at Heathrow, that we had booked online. We arrived at KL airport, the plane was there and departure was expected to be on time. We were called to the
gate to board at 9.20 a.m. ready for a 9.50 a.m. take off. After two hours at the gate (no loos, no drinks, one of those closed gate areas) it was decided that the technical problem with the plane was irreparable. The plane was brand new and the fault was something electrical. It was one of three grounded on Sunday at KL airport, ours, one due to fly to Hong Kong and another heading for Jakarta. Obviously, a serious design fault!
We had watched through the large glass windows as they started to take off luggage, food containers and so forth, a good hour before being told that the plane was grounded. We were released from our holding pen at 12.00 p.m., given a meal voucher and told to watch the screens to see when we could board another plane, hopefully in another “few hours’ time”, i.e. maybe by 3.00 p.m. or certainly no later than 5.00 p.m. At 2.00 p.m. we were told that our plane was going to depart at 00.30 on Monday morning. A fourteen-and-a-half-hour delay is a very long one, when followed by a thirteen-hour flight.
They sent us to a Marriott hotel to
relax and get an evening meal. Nice hotel, but we had no luggage so no spare clothes, couldn’t use the swimming pool because we had no swimsuits and nowhere to buy any, and because it is Ramadan the hotel bars were closed for the month! So, Sunday was a very boring day. Our flight did take off at 00.30 as promised. It was a different plane, same model, an Airbus 350-900, also new. We had no video screens working for the first hour due to “a minor electrical problem”. That was somewhat worrying!!!
We landed at Heathrow Monday morning, collected our rental car and drove to my brother’s in Clacton, arriving at midday, thirty-six hours after getting the little shuttle bus to Kuala Lumpur International airport. As one can imagine, the first thing we did when we got to Clacton was take a nice hot shower and change our clothes! Then we ventured forth to stroll along the Prom, in the glorious Bank Holiday sunshine, watching kids having great fun in the sea and building sandcastles on the beach; it was lovely! I love good old British seaside resorts and Clacton is a great one. We even went to
see a circus on the end of the Pier (Stephen and Carol’s treat) and it was really very good. After a horrible journey, Monday ended on a high note. Great day!
We spent three nights in Clacton and enjoyed every minute of it. We went to my nephew Stewart’s house last night (Wednesday) and that turned out to be a great little family gathering, including my niece Sharon, with eleven of us sharing a meal together. Lovely! Stewart and Ross live near Burnham, so we enjoyed a stroll along the river frontage there in the sunshine.
Today, Thursday, we are leaving Essex and driving up to London to spend two nights with my cousin Eric and Sue. On Saturday we fly home to Spain after two months away. Cannot wait to be attacked by our doggies!
It has been a lovely chilled easy week so far with family. Just what was needed after the epic journey back to Europe from Kuala Lumpur. We were so sad to leave Asia, but we are really enjoying the lack of tropical heat and humidity here in England!
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