Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Honeymoon, Part 1

Jamie: Our honeymoon has begun! :) This is the first of several posts about our experiences. They're primarily intended for interested family and friends, but I figure I may as well post them here for all to see.

We're flying with Air Asia, our first intended destination being London. We had about an 11 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. First of all, the Air Asia flights have actually been far better than we were expecting. Even without the larger seats, we weren't hideously cramped, although I wouldn't want to be particularly tall. (There are some advantages to having less height. :)) We'd been told there was no in-flight entertainment at all, but it seems that there is now, although you have to pay extra for it of course. The food is fantastic, which is a refreshing change from most airline food.

Anyway, we arrived at the KL low cost terminal some time after 4am on Monday. We had booked a room in the nearby, no frills Tune Hotel just to have a shower and get a few hours sleep... or so we thought. After spending forever getting through customs, we decided to walk to the hotel rather than organising a shuttle bus, as it is apparently only about 5 minutes walk. Big mistake. We made it eventually, but dragging our 20+ kg suitcases over grass, busy roads, narrow pathways and a fence proved to be quite strenuous and exasperating. :( (Jen: It didn't help that even at 4am the temperature was about 25 degrees and the humidity was absolutely disgusting.)

Upon arrival, we discovered that for some reason, we didn't actually have a booking. I remember Jen going through the process, but obviously, it wasn't confirmed properly or the like; unfortunately, our error, as we couldn't find any record of the confirmation either. Worse still, they were fully booked. Terrific. We were told that a room would become available in about 4 hours for the refresher package, which allows for a 3 hour stay to freshen up. Having no other option and being exhausted and in serious need of a shower, we decided to wait.

In the meantime, we went to the hotel's 24 hour cafe to grab a bite to eat. A rather random place indeed. We were going to buy a breakfast sandwich, but they didn't have any bread. We opted for Rendang noodles in the end, which turned out to be fantastic. They just used a pre-packaged frozen meal, but as we discovered, even frozen meals in Malaysia are absolutely delicious. Why can't frozen meals in Australia be that good?

After several hours of waiting on a couch in the lobby, me dozing on and off, we finally got our room. And whoa, what an experience! These rooms are intended to be extremely low cost, no frills rooms for stopovers and the like and we had read about how small they were in reviews, but that didn't prepare us for the reality. There was literally barely enough room to walk around the bed! With two suitcases, climbing over the bed was the only option. Having said that, the shower was good, the bed was comfortable and there was air conditioning, so it certainly served its purpose.

At about 1pm, we caught a shuttle bus back to the airport to catch our flight to London. We had the joyful experience of waiting at the departure gate listening to almost continuous, loud, extremely distorted announcements over the PA system. Arrrg! :) As I write this, we're about half way through the flight.

Jen: The flight from KL to London was great - for me. I slept for about 8 hours, so time flew and I felt pretty good. Poor Jamie barely got any sleep at all, so he was pretty delirious by about 3 hours before landing. I convince him to put in some earplugs and try to get some sleep (before that he hadn't really tried because "Trying to sleep is more frustrating than not sleeping") but he did manage to doze off for a fair while. We arrived in London at about 10.20pm, collected our stuff and went to wait for our hotel shuttle in the 2 degree freezing cold, which was fairly invigorating! We were pretty excited by the time we arrived at the hotel (by sheer lastminute.com mystery deal coincidence we ended up at the Stansted Hilton) and were taking photos while waiting in line. The man at the desk offered to take it for us, and we told him we were on our honeymoon. He checked us in and said "I think you'll like this room...". Upon arriving to our room we discovered that he had upgraded us to the Presidential Suite! It has a big bed, 2 bathrooms, 2 massive plasma screen TVs, a lounge room and free wine! Is it terrible that the free wine was the most exciting part for us? Rather than going straight to bed we stayed up until 2am drinking a beautiful Chilean Cab Sav, eating room service and watching TV, until we both hit a wall and crashed.
We've now just had a lovely breakfast and are back up in our Presidential Suite with an hour and a half until we check out and travel into Bayswater to check into the hotel we will be at for the next 3 nights. So far the honeymoon is going very well. We are taking every opportunity to introduce each other as "my husband" and "my wife". I was very excited when I got to call room service and say "Good evening, this is Jennifer Teh from room 201...". I can't believe we still have a month to go!

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