The day has finally come! For years a good friend of mine has been asking me to come with him on a surf trip to Indonesia. I agreed a year ago and started saving money the past year. Now the day had finally come for us to get on the plane with Virginia Beach’s Brendan Petticrew and Andrew Meyer as well as a friend of theirs who has been living in costa rica for the past few years. We all made it to the airport on time and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the people at Malaysia treated us. The surfboards flew for free and I walked on board the plane with three pieces of carry on luggage without so much as a sneer from the crew. The first leg of flight left from Newark, NJ and flew for 7.5 hours to Stockholm, Sweeden. Luckily the flight left at 10:30 at night so it was pretty easy to fall asleep most of that trip. There was a crazy Sweedish woman who sat beside me. I was the only obstacle for her between the window and the aisle. When I boarded the plane I kindly explained to her I would move if she needed to get up, but sometime around 4:30 in the morning I found her straddled over top of me trying to get to the bathroom. After that minor fiasco we landed and had to go through a minor customs gate where they inspected our carry on luggage and then sent us back to the terminal so we could get back on the same plane. We did get to see about 100 yards of the airport and it looked exactly like the Ikea store in South Philadelphia – complete with Sweedish meatballs. By this time it was about noon in Sweeden, sometime in the middle of night still for us on East Coast time. We then boarded the plane again, and I fell right to sleep and missed lunch. This flight lasts about 11.5 hours and took us to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was lucky enough to be in and out of sleep for most of the trip and it didn’t really seem THAT long. It kinda messes with your clock though because we saw the sun go down on the way to the airport. Then three hours after we took off the sun was rising. Then about three hours after we took off from Sweden it went down again only to rise again as we were approaching Kuala Lumpur.
Once we landed we were greeted by tons of really helpful people who all spoke English. Randy got the cabs lined up and we were off to the Concorde Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, but the airport is about an hour away from the major city area. My first thought was it reminded me of Las Vegas crossed with New York City crossed with Honolulu except there is no trash anywhere, ever. We made it to our hotel which is right across from the Petronas Towers (see photo below) and right in the heart of what I can image being Malaysia’s version of Manhattan – except it’s way cheaper! We went out to get lunch at a few local vendors behind the hotel and scored a chicken platter with rice and veggies and a smoothie for under $3. Not bad so far. The rest of the day has been hanging out by the pool trying to get acclimated to the time difference. I think tomorrow may be a photo mission day – I’m going to try to see as much of KL (as the call it here) as I can. Maybe climb the Petronas towers and walk around this crazy but beautiful city. More photos to follow!