Day 1 Jakarta

Flight from Flores to Jakarta went well with no hicoughs and the transfer was waiting for me. We had a long drive into town arriving about 8.00pm, where I was staying at The Holiday Inn - I'm not sure quite why I've been booked in here it's miles from the airport. I'm here overnight having arrived around 8.00pm and needing to leave at 8.00am to get back to the airport it seems a bit far for not a great deal of time.

I didn't need to eat as I'd eaten on the plane so more or less went straight to bed - early up tomorrow for breakfast and transfer.


Day 2  Jakarta - Delhi

Up early to get included breakfast - it was rubbish the worst yet! The choice was limited, most of the food had run out and what was left was cold (remember I was up early so no need for this to be the case), the coffee machine wasn't working, what was there wasn't that good - even the cereal was stale.

After working out what I could manage to eat I then went to get my bags, I also had some postcards that I needed to post. I asked at reception about posting them - they were stamped - they refused to take them and post them for me. Not very helpful at all they must send post of their own why the hell they can't put mine in with theirs goodness only knows. I'll not be recommending Holiday Inns to anyone if this is a sample of the service they offer.

My transfer arrived on time and because it was Sunday we got to the airport  in very good time. Turns out it was just as well!!!!!

I went to check my bag in before going to the departure lounge. All was going well until I was asked for my visa for India - WHAT VISA ?  Right, so after having several hissy fits with almost everyone in the airport and blaming, first the flight operators, then my travel agents, I sat down and looked at my itinerary which, quite clearly, stated I needed a visa for India.  Shit, piss, bugger, damn. How the blazes had I missed that? Right so it's Sunday I need to contact someone - everything in Jakarta is shut, it's the middle of the night in the UK and no one is answering the 24hr emergency number, so much for 24 hour emergency numbers. Panic, panic, panic. I need to make a decision what shall I do? Am I stressed - most definitely. Do I feel upset - certainly. Do I feel a fool - yes I do.

Right I'm booked on a flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur then on to Delhi. So I decided I'll head to KL at least I'll not have to go back into Jakarta and I'll be a bit nearer India. I can then try for a visa from there. Mind made up I headed to check in and the first leg if my flight to KL.

I settle down a little on the flight and start to formulate a plan. Find somewhere near the airport to stay once in KL, then find out how to get a visa. Get a Malaysian SIM card and ring the travel agents once I arrive - see what they suggest. Stop getting upset and crying all over the place! Plan formulated.

Malaysia   UNPLANNED Day 1

Flight was good I landed in KL at about 2.00pm. I managed to find an airport hotel once landed. The Sama Sama a 5* but handy for the airport and no choice really. The staff at the hotel were brilliant and extremely helpful. After a few more tears, contact with the travel agent, a long evening on my tablet and conversations, via messenger, with Ian, I started an application for an e-visa. I eventually managed to get in touch with the travel agent, John, at Round The World Experts who was extremely helpful.

At about 9.00pm I went for some food - what an amazing buffet - food choices from all over the world from Sushi to Pasta, Curry to pies. I couldn't, unfortunately, do it justice as it as so late and I'd got beyond eating. I returned to my room and further attempts at the e-visa application. I was having difficulty sorting out the format for the downloads, so more conversations with Ian, but still struggling.  After a number of calls to RTW I decided I needed to get in to KL and try for a visa in person at the Indian High Commission so John booked me a room in KL for tomorrow night, I eventually got to bed about 1.30 am - I didn't sleep to well.


Day 2  

Up reasonably early but not as soon as I'd planned. I packed and headed straight to reception to check out. Booked a ride into town with the hotel car. Was dropped at 5 Element Hotel near China town - the hotel didn't have a booking for me derrr?????? Eventually worked out it was the wrong hotel, there's the 5 Elements and the Element I was at the 5 Elements and should have been at the other. Another taxi and eventually dropped of at the right place. It's the tallest hotel in Malaysia reception is on the 40th floor and the rooms are above that. Mine was on the 51st floor - a panoramic view from the floor to ceiling windows and a view of the sunrise over KL.

By now it was after 10am so I set off in another taxi to the Indian High Commision, 15k and 20 mins away from my hotel apparently the traffic isn't bad due to the Devali celebrations which is due to happen on Wednesday, I thought it was busy! I was dropped at the building and went up to the 28th floor to be told I was at the wrong place for a visa. It obviously happens regularly as I was handed a preprinted slip of paper with the address I needed to go to. Am I getting pissed off? ......   You guess!

Picked up a taxi outside the shopping centre which was under the consular building - wondered if it would make it, as the fuel gauge was showing empty all the way. I was dropped off and headed to the office for visa applications - it was heaving - Lots of Indians wanting to go hope for Devali. Queued to find out which window to go to - then queued to be told my application could take up to 3 weeks and cost 8000 very expensive. I should go next door to the travel agents and apply for an e-visa. Hmmmm here goes - a queue in there too after about 2 hours I was sitting in front of a woman who started my application again. Was sent back into the visa application place to get a passport photo - more queueing at window 8, pay for photo, queue for the booth, have photo taken, wait for themnto be processed, queue for the photos to be trimmed, back to the travel agents . At about 2.30 my application was in, paid for and I had a piece of paper to prove it.  Just had to wait now for approval.

I was suddenly hungry - I realised I'd not eaten yet today so popped into a cafe which sold curry (surprise) it cost me all of 12 ringgits approx £3.00 or less and it was good. I then did a bit of sight seeing at the City Museum - a place where there are scale models of the buildings and skyline of KL. The highlight was the massive model on display with lights depicting night and day and PowerPoint info on a big screen - it was very impressive. Downstairs you could see the men and women making models for sale in the shop - very intricate work. The textile musem was here too, I felt I'd done something other than Visa shopping and got a bit of a feel for the city - I quite like it. It's clean and feels pretty safe with lots of modern and historic buildings in juxtaposition with each other.

I headed back to the hotel in another taxi - this one had a very loud banging seemed like the big end had gone or a rear spring I felt grateful to be back at the hotel in one piece. I went to my room and did a bit of blogging before going down for the hotels happy hour and a half - free wine or beer and canapes - an excellent


Malaysia Day 3    Kuala Lumpur

Slept like a log. So up for breakfast and make a plan for the day. The breakfast choice was brilliant - freshly made fruit juice of your choice. Cereal, fruit, bread, cheese, meats bacon, eggs, sausage,  noodles, curries, sushi - you name it and it was all good.

Found out where I need to go for a hair cut and to do some shopping then headed out to find them. Jerry was my stylist and I managed to cope with the hair wash and massage I had prior to the haircut from him. It's the first time I've had the opportunity to have a massage as part of a haircut and it didn't cost that much somewhere around £25 for the lot. He didn't make bad job of it but the Brisbane cut felt better.  

I bought a bag and a shirt in the market area and mooched around the shops. Some very a high end ones and some very cheap market type stalls – a real mixed bag. Headed back to the hotel and explored the salt water infinity pool on the 39th floor. There was no one there except me, it was really weird lots of glass reflecting the water back so it was almost impossible to distinguish where the water ended and the reflection started, plus the edge of the pool was up against the glass looking out onto the KL skyline.

Back to room, checked for my visa, it’s come through – yipee! Down to reception so they could print it for me and to take part in the happy hour. I contacted Julia at RTWE and she looked into flights for me. The time difference is proving difficult for communication but she gave me a flight from KL to Jaipur via Bangkok with a 2 hour lay over and suggested I book it on the internet as it would be cheaper and quicker for me to do it. I have to admit the free wine was making booking the flight difficult but I managed to sort it and was booked on a fight tomorrow afternoon. Julia was arranging for Promod the Intrepid guide in India to meet me at the Amber Fort on Thursday – am sorted - India here I come.  

Another drink and dinner before going to my room to pack and get some kip.


Day 4  Malaysia to Jaipur

My last day in KL I'm going to be sorry to leave – I haven't even managed to visit the Petronas Twin Towers which I can see quite clearly from the restaurant so they’re not that far away. I think I might have to come back! I didn't fancy heading out so I hung round the hotel until it was time for my transfer, which arrived early. I was reluctant to leave the hotel it’s been such a great place and the staff have been so friendly. 

I arrived at the airport in plenty of time – the flight was delayed by 5 mins according to the board and an email I’d received this morning. It turned out that it was delayed almost 2 hours – little or no chance of catching my connection in Bangkok or so I thought - am I really meant to go to India. I eventually boarded about 2 hours late - there goes my layover time in Bangkok.

Oh yea of little faith! My flight touched down 5 minutes before the connection was due to depart. I had been told to get in touch with the ground staff on arrival at the gate. I  didn’t need to, they were waiting for me as I disembarked. A young woman was encouraging me to run behind her – I said I wouldn't be able to run so she got one of the young men and a wheel chair. I was summarily put in the chair and had the time of my life as I was pushed at great speed through what seemed to be the length of the airport and passing through 2 security checks. I don’t know what gate we arrived at but my Jaipur flight left from gate 4 – I don’t think it could have been further away. Once at the gate I was rushed onto a bus and ferried across the tarmac to the flight, up the steps and voila. We were ready to take off. The whole thing took less than 35 mins from the wheels of one flight touching down to the wheels of the other taking off.

I landed in Jaipur at around 11.30 and as it was during Devali - the lights of the city were pretty spectacular! My transfer was waiting and so my time in India began.