John O’Brien’s Walkabout Files.
Chocolate-Leg Rides East.
Tuesday the 28th of September, the day! 12:55, the time! Belfast city airport, the venue! Mother, Father, Brother Brendan, an oversize big bag on wheels, a backpack, and I, the attendees! Final farewells the issue!
My lookers were half-closed, blocking the glare of the bright September afternoon as we sped our way down the motorway en route to board one of those ingenious contrivances in aeronautical engineering. The swift Gin and Tonic the previous night was certainly a pick me up for the final few hours of packing, but most definitely a knock me down for my journey into the weird and wonderful the following day. What to pack? What not to pack? My compromise!.. Take ‘everything’ but the nonessentials (i.e. my mind and liver). They haven’t really been in proper working order anyway hehe…
Recieving my wake-up nodge, I exited the car to make my way to the check-in point, ready to pull off the charms in order to let slide my slightly overweight baggage. Maybe one pair of trainers would have been suffice! Maybe I wouldn’t really need the 39 shirts! “Too late now”, I reasoned… Lugging my house on wheels to the desk I noticed one thing. God, the attendant was ugly! Could I switch tactics this late in the game? I think not! My only motivation now was, ‘do it for the party shirts’!
Getting the professions of undying love to the not-so-pretty clerk out of the way, I could now focus on the hand-shakes, hugs, thanks, and adios amigos before stepping forth to embark on my quest to raise a flag… yada yada yada (read my final email I sent before leaving London for further explaination). Before long I was hopping the pond and back in London. I’ve seen this already’ I thought to myself (or maybe it was out loud as the granny next to me gave me a rather peculiar stare)! “Onward captain” I directed!!! “Captain, onward! Caaaaptain? Bloody British Midlands! OK a few hours in a bar by the runway couldn’t hurt. I had arranged to meet the lovely Emma at Heathrow but, London traffic doing what it does best (absolutely nothing), such rendevous would have to wait for oz. Rounding off a few light refreshments (remember kids, it’s all relative) and a splendid performance from one W. Rooney on the box and my call for flight MH 000 to KL (Kuala Lumpar) was up. Locating my exit seat (the sweet limb needs room to stretch out), I was now left with a twelve and a half hour jaunt across two continents in which to amuse myself with mile high g&ts and in-flight entertainment courtesy of the funny wee Malaysian dude that was taking pew beside me.
A few bottles of red, white and the aforementioned tipple later and my eastbound jumbo was preparing to land in a world out east. The walkabout was now truly in full swing! Well, when I say walkabout, it’s more of a cab-about. Assigning Mr. taxi driver with the responsibility of transporting me to my lodgings, we now had a mission finding such. Johnny-Be-Prepared-O’Brien thought it unnecessary to bother his ass with advanced reservations, so following much discussion, I directed the man behind the wheel to drop me off in the thick of the accommodation hotspots, i.e. tourist-ville. Was I really ready to slip into backpacker mode and treat myself to a £2 a night hostel? Hell no! The culture shock of Malaysia was enough to handle without having to cope with all sorts of unsightly characters in bonk below. I needed to break myself in gently, and a few nights in the rather plush Royal Bintang (highly recommended by Mr Reid) would certainly do just that.
With a crib taken care of for my stay, I now had three nights to kill before I would have to take to the skies again, allowing me ample time to explore what this fine municipality had to offer. So following a quick shower such exploration was under way. Within fifteen minutes I was sitting in the Beach house sipping on the G&Ts and satirizing my newfound friends from Cavan for drinking what they believed to be a great tasting coktail. Of course it was with great delectation that I could reveal their choice of libation was no more than a peach flavoured ice-tea. Other than a wee dander to the Petronas Towers, a scoot up the KL Tower and a shopping spree down China-Town, this along with a few other select bars was to be the height of our Malaysian experience.
And that ladies and gents, is where I must leave you for now. My opening file as you may have expected, shaped up to be not so epigrammatic, and therefore may give you some time to digest before issuing you with the report that sees me follow the yellow-brick road. I hope this mail reaches you all in good fortune and health and I look forward to hearing from you all soon.
Take it eazzzy.
Sven’s words of wisdom: That sun must rise further east than east…!