Travelogue: Thailand

I guess that’s what this is. I’m not an amateur traveller by any means, but mostly, all my travels overseas has mainly been to visit family in Nepal. The variety of locations on the way there has been to say the least, very limited. When my husband and I decided to take our first overseas travel, it’s not surprising I loved the idea. 

Here’s the thing, I love traveling. I always have. What little irrational fears about traveling, such as location, flights, food that might spell a trip to the hospital, have all paled in comparison with the whole idea of seeing new things, sights that are normally not available to me. Despite my love of travel, or rather extensive daydreaming of jet setting around the world, I do hate one thing – being tormented by ear aches and sinus pains. But, we get over hurdles don’t we? 

  
So here we are, after months of planning and waiting, we flew out to a little island in Thailand. First time for both of us here. We’re here for a fleetingly short stay. The drive from the airport to our hotel was so disorienting for me to the say the least. My tired sleep deprived mind kept searching for landmarks I recognize, and that sounds crazy doesn’t it, the fact that I’ve never been in Thailand before, yet it looked so familiar, the roads, the shops lining the narrow street, the ads of various kinds, the shopkeepers and the people around. The familiarity was so huge that I kept thinking we’ve somehow landed in an alternate version of Nepal. Yeah, sure the language is different, and the landscape lacks snow-dipped peaks that soar into the high skies, but everything else ‘feels’ like Nepal, just a more quiet version of it. I couldn’t help but take photos of things that looked familiar just so I could show my family and say ‘hey, look at this’. 

  
(A temple/shrine dotting the street; so similar to Nepal)

Today, we went to the town in the island we are staying, and it’s small. We walked down the whole strip, and I felt odd that I couldn’t read the writings nor speak the language. It really felt like I should know all this. The stalls that sold salads reminded me of ‘bhaja’ stalls or panipuri stalls in Nepal. The shops with their wares spilling out onto the narrow pedestrian walkway reminded me of Asan and Thamel, just missing people, lots of people. For those who have travelled Nepal, you will know what I mean. Like I said, disorienting to say the least. 

Tomorrow, we go for a tour around the island, sightsee its landmarks. We have our camera ready, and I’m sure tomorrow, I’ll have a harder day of telling my mind it’s not home. How bizarre. It made me wonder how many other Nepali have travelled to Thailand and felt this familiarity, this strange otherworldly déjà vu with the country. 

  
(Apparently I was quite a happy shopper according to him. Lol. Was definitely tired to say the least by dinner time.)

…to be continued…

Hoppitty-hopping 2: Transit in Kuala Lumpur

So, after a cranky Eva boarding the Malaysian flight to Kuala Lumpur, it’s suffice to say my love of flying returned and I frolicked the entertainment section, keeping busy etc. I attempted to chronicle my journey in a small diary I took with me for the purpose of making a log and later blog about it, but I didn’t get beyond 1 and half pages of cranky note taking straight after the full-body-scanner incident.

The flight was as normal as you could expect, though I do have a small complaint regarding the meals we were served. NOT ENOUGH! A snack doesn’t equate a meal, Malaysian Airline! I was starving by the time we got to Kuala Lumpur, and staring down the barrel of a 6 hour transit in the middle of the night in a terminal with a handful of shops open selling only alcohol, chocolate, and more alcohol! Well, at least we pre-picked a bottle we were going to buy for Dad on our way back! Though I was so hungry, I was tempted to buy a box of Lindt in desperation. Glad I didn’t, for there wasn’t even a shop where we could buy water, and the drinking fountains were far and few in between.

About two hours before our flight boarded for Nepal, at 6:30am, a café finally opened and Mum and I rushed in, got confused staring at a wide and long menu, of which most things we asked for were ‘not available’, so at the end of it all, there were only a handful of items we could choose from anyway. Why didn’t the lady just tell us what was available from the start instead of waiting for us to order, and then tell us almost mockingly that it wasn’t an option at all?!

Any way, after 10 mins of trying to get lucky and land on an item that was ‘available’, whatever it is that I ended up ordering with trepidation actually was a beautiful meal. I delightedly finished an entire meal (a feat!), like a starved soul, which I was.

We made friends with another Nepali girl traveling alone in the same flight. Actually it was Mum who made friends, and I stole her friend away. Muhahaha. No really, those 6 hours were very difficult to get through.

I couldn’t help but play few scenes from Tom Hanks’, Terminal, in my head during those few hours, but I did. The reason being, there was actually a real life person who had accidentally missed his flight to Nepal three days prior, and had waited out for the next one at the terminal. HOW did he not go crazy ‘living’ in that terminal for two and a half days? I have no clue. I was about to rip my hair out of boredom since duty-free stores were all but closed, food was none-existent, and there was nowhere to comfortably lay down.

And through the whole thing, somehow, Mum and I had acquired a posse! Not the ‘I’m your die-hard fan’ kind of posse, but the ‘Looks like you know where you’re going, so we’ll just follow you, okay?’ ones. Or a gaggle of middle-aged Nepalese couples who found comfort in the fact that I could figure out which terminal we were meant to haunt, or which gate we were to board from.

I guess it didn’t help them much with KL Airport changing boarding gates on us about three times in that 6 hour transit alone, and rightfully so, people were nervous about accidentally standing at an incorrect gate and missing our flight: Terminal 2 perhaps, casting an older Tom Hanks!

In the end, the man boarded our flight, and got home safe I’m guessing, but still. The moral of the story here is, never ever miss a flight in KL airport, and get stranded with nothing to do for days on end.

(Image: Cloud cover over Malaysia)