Thursday, December 21, 2006

I am in Penang!!!

Up in the clouds

The journey did not start out great.

I missed my flight out of Milwaukee to O'Hare. Stupid United Airlines did not deign to inform me that my flight was moved up and I arrived at the airport just a little too late to board. How could this happen? I guess, the answer is that it could only happen to me.

Luckily, my champion of a friend who had given me a lift to the airport saved the day by driving me from Milwaukee to Chicago in rush hour traffic and I arrived in time for my connection to Japan. I had already not slept for 24 hrs even before starting my journey and now, waiting at the check in counter at O'Hare while the airline groundstaff swiped my passport again and again, all the while looking puzzled did not help to stabilize my emotions. I thought that they were going to say that my passport was defective and I could not travel. My friend took a look at my face and started patting my head. Finally, they figured out the problem and I was on my way.

The flight from Chicago to Narita was uneventful. In fact, it was pretty darned good. I think that taking Japan Airlines was a good choice given that the route was better (decreased number of connections and layover time) and the price was fair. The food was not too bad as well. Naturally I didn't eat much due to the anticipation of gobbling down authentic Penang food. My favorite airline is still Singapore's SIA but I guess poor beggars cannot be choosers.

I had to switch seats on the flight from Narita to Singapore because I was sitting next to this guy who was reeking of stale cigarette smoke. I was practically gagging as the plane took off. I quietly explained the situation to the stewardess who was alarmed by the greenish tinge of my complexion as not to embarrass the poor guy sitting next to me. Much to my dismay, the empty seat that she choose to place me in belonged next to the girlfriend of this guy!!! Alamak! In the end he'll find out that he was so smelly that I could not even sit next to him. I covered my face and slept for the entire journey.

As the plane touched down in Changi Airport, my heart began to pound in excitement. I was traveling on Business Class from Singapore to Penang, thus giving me access to the premier class lounge for 8 hours. Finally, a place to take a shower, eat and sleep laying down. It was really heaven after such a long journey. I could even check my email and make some phone calls.

The koi pond and Chinese garden at Singapore's Changi International Airport, an oasis of serenity amidst a bustling, noisy airport.

It was my first time flying business class and it was such a fabulous experience. I MUST do it more often. Finally, I did touch down in Penang International Airport. My dad and the bf were waiting to greet me at the gate AND my baggage BOTH made it. That's a pretty sweet ending compared to the sour beginning.

What a looooong journey!!! It's so good to be finally home at last.

A big shout out to my friend Andi Dodol for driving my ass to Chicago. I owe you big time!!

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