| Part 3: KL
Hotel Boulevard, KL. RM 315 for a
superior room, which essentially is a standard room, but in-room
Internet access is included (otherwise it would be RM60/day extra or
RM160/week) as well as access to the lounge on floor 26 with American
breakfast in the morning and drinks and snacks in the afternoon +
Weather: in Macau
sunny, blue sky, with a few little clouds. Warm enough to walk around
in a T-shirt. In KL overcast and tropically hot. No rain after 5pm.
I get up at 9:25am, get ready and pack my things. At 10:30am I go to
the Internet cafe, where I download my emails.
Then, after getting some
groceries from 7/11 store I head back to the hotel, check out and take
a taxi to the airport (54 Patacas), arriving there at 11:40am.
At the AirAsia check-in they send me to the ticketing counter to pay
the excess baggage fee (342 Patacas). I lose lots of time queueing up
there, then again time queueing up again at the check-in to get the
boarding pass. This is annoying. This excess baggage fee is increasing
the ticket price by 50%, while with a standard airline I would not have
paid such a fee and I would not have lost so much time.
In the meantime it's 12:10pm and I jump into a taxi, telling the driver
to get to the A-Ma temple and bring me back to the airport. It takes 15
minutes to get to the temple and it is really worth it. The A-Ma temple
is beautiful. You can see that is has been built recently, but the
decorations and the setup are great. I'm back at the airport at 12:50pm
(the taxi trip cost 125 Patacas).
I go through immigration and since there are a few minutes left, have a
noodle soup at a restaurant. The flight leaves with about 15 minutes
delay, because the plane arrived late. The plane is about 80% full. The
dumb women sitting in front of me leans back with her seat, making it a
torture to type text into the notebook computer. She says with
the seat leaned back it's more comfortable for her. Comfortable my ass.
The plane lands at 5:25pm in Kuala Lumpur's LCC terminal, which is a
terminal at KL international airport with no gates and only basic
infrastructure. Outside it's not that hot, but very steamy. Feels like
bathroom after a shower.
Then things proceed smothly and fast. I go through immigration, get my
luggage and purchase a taxi coupon for the Boulevard hotel for RM
61.60. By 5:40pm I'm in a taxi to the hotel. The taxi reaches the
Midvalley shopping complex already at 6:45pm, then needs 15 minutes
to get to the entrance of the Boulevard hotel because of the heavy
traffic jam. It seems that the traffic in Kl is getting worse every
year. In the hotel I join again Shirley and Alissia.
Hotel Boulevard, KL
Weather: in the morning
sunny and partly overcast, around 2pm heavy rain and after that it
becomes more fresh. Tropical climate.
Day spent relaxing. We get up at 9am, have breakfast, then go shopping.
Around noon we swim in the hotel pool, towards 2pm have some lunch in
the Sushi King restaurant in the Midvalley shopping complex. Prices
here are higher than in Japan.
Between 3pm and 5pm I meet Andy Lim and
we have a chat in The Curve shopping complex. The Curve is an elegant,
upmarket shopping complex in Petaling Jaya.
After I get back to the Midvalley shopping complex. Both taxi drivers
(one is Indian) don't cheat (taxi rides are in the 11-15 RM range). In
the evening more shopping in the Midvalley shopping complex and dinner
together with Sara at 7pm. Then more shopping. Day essentially spent
inside airconditioned shopping complexes.
Weather: sunny, partly blue
sky, clouds layer. No rain.
We get up at 9am, have breakfast and at 11am I take a taxi to Bukit
Bintang (RM 8) to fetch the clothes. While at Sungei Wang I shop for a
clothes bag, but find nothing both affordable and nice (cheapest is
clothes bag for RM159, but it's light green). I fetch the suit which
now is ready with the second pair of trousers, then go to the second
tailor. The shirts are not ready yet, but the tailor promises to bring
them to me to the hotel in the evening. Then I take a taxi back to the
hotel. This time the fee is RM20, because the taxi drivers in Bukit
Bintang refuse to use the meter.
All the time I'm in these airconditioned shopping complexes, where the
air is partly freezing. It's really crazy - Malaysians are afraid of
I'm back in the hotel at 1pm. I meet Shirley and Alissia and we have a
brief lunch. At 1:30pm I leave Shirley taking Alissia with
me. Shirley is meeting a friend, while I take care of Alissia.
go with Alissia to the pet store, then we go back to the room. There we
wear the swimming gear and go to the hotel pool on floor
9. We are in the pool for a while. Alissia likes to play with the
water, but is still quite afraid to venture in deeper water, even with
the children safety boat. She prefers to play in the children pool.
After about an hour or so we go back to the room, where I wash and
dry her. Then we go to the shopping complex, buy some cakes and go
back to the room, where I try to make her sleep. She almost falls
asleep, when Shirley gets back from the shopping
around 4pm something. Then Shirley tries to make her sleep, but in the
end we all go out and do some shopping until the evening.
17.11: KL -> Dubai
Hotel Boulevard, KL.
Weather: as usual sunny and
partly overcast, thin clouds layer and thicker clouds, tropicall hot in
We get up at 9am in KL, get ready and have breakfast. Between 11-12pm I
meet Julie and Alex for a chat. Julie is doing keywording for the
images on my site, Alex is Julie's husband and is working as a
professional weddings photographer in Malaysia. He also shoots stock
and there are some galleries with his photos on my site (Bali,
While Shirley is with Alissia, I go to the hotel pool and swim a bit.
At 1pm I'm back in the room, where I meet Shirley. I pack the
bags, which takes some time because I have now a new bag and am
At 2:30pm we check out, leaving the bags in the hotel. More shopping
follows, me with Alissia, while Shirley is on her own. Shortly after
4pm Sara picks us up and we drive together to Shaun's place in Shah
Alam, arriving there shortly before 5pm.
Shah Alam kind of counts as the "KL greater area" but is actually a
different city, 45 minutes by car from KL. Here is where many people
from KL move when they buy a house or flat, because real estate in KL
is now too expensive for Malaysians.
Until 7:20pm we are at Shaun's place, then we drive to Subang Jaya,
another city/suburb (more of a separate city actually, but by now
essentially merged with KL) and have dinner in a western style
(the Windmill). Food is not too bad, but not that impressive either and
expensive by local standards.
Around 9pm we are back in Shaun's place. I fix the suitcase of Shirley.
There was a seam which was torn apart. Some work with thread
and needle. Then we finish packing, I take a shower and at 11:15pm we
drive to KL international airport. At the airport I check again my
emails (KLIA has coverage everywhere with a free WLAN network).
We have four suitcases for a total weight of 76 kg. We are two adults
and one child paying 75% of the fare. Nominally each of us grown-ups
has a baggage allowance of 20kg (the "ethnic" 35kg are only available
for Indonesians). Yet they do not complain of too much weight, which is
But the lady at the check-in counter says that she can only give
us a boarding pass for the KUL-Dubai flight, not for the Dubai-MUC
flight. She claims that we are on standby for that flight, which is
strange because we have confirmed flights all the way back to Munich.
In any case she gives us a boarding pass for Dubai-MUC with no seats
and says it will be easy to get the seats once in Dubai.
18.11: Dubai -> Munich
International hotel, Dubai International Airport. We have an unplanned
stay here. 632.50 Dirham for a six hours stay (675+10% for up to 12
hours, 715+10% for up to 18 hours, 900+10% for up to 24 hours) in a
Deluxe Double room. Confortable soft bed, room has everything except an
Internet DSL line. No breakfast or other meals included, but hotel
apparently has a gym and a pool.
Weather: sunny, blue
cloudless sky in Dubai. Temperature unknown, as we are all the time
inside the airport.
Unplanned stay in Dubai. Here are the details.
The KUL-Dubai flight leaves on time at 2:10am on Sunday morning and
lands at 4:45am local time (= 8:45am Malaysian time) in Dubai. The food
on board is not bad and the entertainment program is good. Then begins
the huge mess.
Despite having a confirmed booking for the EK49 flight we are denied
boarding. What's worse, we have to wait over three hours in the queue
of the transfer counters. The queue at the counters is horrible,
because it does not move at all.
At one point I check the watch and
notice that they take 50 minutes to process one passenger. We have over
three hours in between flights, but there are 10 people in front of us
and at the rate of one passenger per hour we will definitely miss the
The Emirates ground staff is extremely inefficient. Also, they keep
sending people who have been patiently queueing up for 2-3 hours to
other queues, where they will likely have to queue up for again 2-3
hours. Lots of passengers at this point -completely understandably -
lose their patience and start shouting at the ground staff. The entire
ground staff and
especially the management of Emirates who are responsible for all this
mess deserve to be machine-gunned.
The reason for all this seems to be that Emirates has overbooked this
and several other flights. This is consistent with the fact that the
Emirates flights from Munich to Dubai and Kuala Lumpur and back are
full or almost full. I have wondered at the beginning of the trip how
an airline is able to completely or almost completely fill a plane in
low season (October and November are not holiday season). Now we have
This overbooking arrangement might work with only minor glitches if
everything runs smoothly and there are no unexpected situations. But
when something non standard happens (Emirates claims that yesterday
there was fog over Dubai causing flight cancellations), this has big
implications for a large number of flights and passengers.
It's as if
you were flying with a budget airline like AirAsia or Easyjet, where a
single accident (a defective plane or one plane arriving late for
instance) has big reverberations for a big number of flights and
Needless to say, all passengers in the queues are pissed off, and
that's putting is mildly, an understatement. Like me, most of the
people won't likely fly again with Emirates. It used to be a good
airline, with spacious, not overcrowded planes and a friendly staff,
but that was years ago. Now, quite obviously, the management of
Emirates in their quest of maximising profits have started overbooking
flights, with all the consequences.
It's one thing if short, 1-2h flights with several flights daily are
overbooked, because you might take a next flight two hours later. But
if an intercontinental flight is overbooked and passengers cannot
return home, it's a big problem.
Anyway, at 8:30am we finally manage to secure boarding passes with
seats on the EK51 flight a 4:30pm to Munich. That's a delay of 8 hours.
I ask for compensation in form of free accomodation at the airport. The
lady says to go see the supervisor in the other hall.
We go to the
other hall, and there it is as bad as the previous hall with huge
crowds of people. Very likely we woud have to queue up again for 2-3
hours, just to be able to ask if we can get compensation.
So at this point we decide to book a room in the airport hotel. This
turns out to be the best decision we took today, because we get four
hours of sleep in a comfortable bed and can relax and clean ourselves.
So we decide to just check in the airport hotel and take a rest.
We're in the hotel between 9am and 3pm Dubai time. At 3pm we check out
and have a lunch in a Thai restaurant in the airport. Food
is not bad and you can pay by credit card.
At 3:45pm we queue up at gate 18 and board the plane. To top it all and
further demonstrate the incompetence of Emirates, the 4:30pm EK51
flight only takes off at 6:10pm, i.e. 1:40h later. Now thanks to
Emirates we will be home around midnight instead of 2pm-3pm in the
The plane lands around 9pm local time in Munich. Surprise, surprise,
our luggage is not there. Should we be surprised? While I queue up at
the baggage retrieval counter I pick up a conversation next to me.
Apparently 27000 passengers were affected in Dubai. Guy next to me
claims the disruption was not caused by the fog, but by an airshow for
which the local Dubai ruler reserved the airport for himself.
The luggage will finally be delivered to us on Monday evening. Back at
on Tuesday, I meet in the office a salesguy based in Dubai. He was
booked on the Sunday 4:30pm flight with Emirates, but was denied
boarding and put on the Monday morning flight.