I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

KL ain't a bad place to be

I'm on the 29th floor of a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, in a large hotel room with its own balcony looking out over the varied KL sky line. Just got back from breakfast, a sumptuous buffet offering of which I made heavy use: it started, while waiting to be seated, with an "eye-opener" greeting drink which I thought was alcoholic, but I'm not sure (though it was not being offered to the obviously Muslim). It's half eight in the morning and I'm feeling rested. How did I get here?

Back on, er, Saturday was it? Yeah, Saturday - it was meant to be a nicely alliterative day involving parkrun, packing, and Paris, but I skipped the run (fuck that wind!) and had already packed almost everything in an uncharacteristic panic more than 36 hours before I was due to leave. So in actuality I got out of bed about 1015 and watched WWE Smackdown. Can't remember what happened, but Smackdown is normally poor anyway. I presume the Shield had a match and, er, something else probably happened.

Er, anyway. I digress.  Left the flat about 1400 to make my way to a hotel next to Paris CDG terminal 3 via 4 trains. Started off with what I thought was a staggeringly priced £1.70 for a bottle of diet coke, holy shit Surbiton! Trekked across London to St Pancras, first time on Eurostar since the glory of GCERC but this time I was making use of my Amex platinum's benefit of getting me into the lounge, easily accessed after I somehow accidentally talked my way into the fast track lane because, oddly, I wasn't in a hurry. I pay a lot for this Amex card but this is the first time I've used the Eurostar lounge since December 2011 -- when I was, coincidentally, there on the way to an overnight stay in a hotel next to a European airport prior to spunking a raft of air miles on a trip to Australia while unemployed. Such a creature of habit. Though on this occasion for reasons of circumstance and instruction, I am not travelling with a hot girl, which will save me from being dumped while away or upon my return. Couldn't help but get a bit emo over Ellie though, ho hum. I almost wrote that I'd be travelling solo even if I did somehow manage to pull again, but that's probably a lie.

Once in the lounge Phil texted me, saying something about going for beer with a hot girl in Australia. Heh. I sat there kicking my diet firmly into touch by consuming London Pride and assorted nuts as if my life depended on it. Spent some time being annoyed by loud children running around, and lamenting that I'd not been able to change seats on Friday because the train was so busy. Also drew the Nasum logo off my shirt, for no good reason other than to waste ink I guess. I was impressed with the beer score in the fridges: England 1 France 1 Belgium 1. Well played, €*! But I was less impressed with the full length mirror on the inside of the loo door. Reminiscent of a terrifying EVERYTHING IS A MIRROR cubicle I once experienced in Paris. What the hell? Who wants to see themselves shit?

Being unable to change my seat wasn't a bad thing. I forgot until boarding that I'd already picked for myself the nearest seat to the bar, with a UK plug socket. Turned my frown upside down and plugged in me phone, got a magazine out, waited for the off. I seemed to be sat next to just a shopping bag, placed by someone I didn't notice. Some guy asked me if the seat was free, I explained the situation while also thinking, you what? You must have a seat, mate. You can't get on without one ffhs. He ended up perching across the aisle, until he got booted out at Ashford by the rightful occupier. So eventually he went to his own seat. Seriously, mate, what the fuck?

I could brew beer quicker than the onboard staff serve it (and maybe I will: my leaving gift from Amazon was a BEER MACHINE). Over 20 minutes to serve a queue of 4 people two cups of coffee, a toasted sandwich, and two tiny bottles of wine to the guy with his missus who waved an Amex gold around asking how much for champagne? oh, that much...what about the smaller bottles...? oh, ... ok two bottles of the red please. No, 4 bottles! But we'll come back later for the second two. Smooth work Mr gold card, you romantic beast you. Also, Eurostar sells Leffe in cans. Not seen that before.

During the wait, my seat mate had been upgraded from shopping bag to middle aged French woman who'd plugged her iPad mini into my USB cable and hoped I didn't mind. At the end of the journey she seemed so taken by my electrical generosity that she gave the gadget to me, well, she would have inadvertently done so had I not reached over numerous shoulders in the vestibule to tap hers and hand it back. I'd not have been a hard thief to catch anyway, what with the seat numbers 'n that...

A can of Stella and bottle of water cost an eye watering €8.70. Maybe that diet coke had been reasonable after all. I read Uncut magazine for the first time in about 3 years, and it hasn't changed at all. Bought it for the 40 years Ramones retrospective and got VERY annoyed at them using the band members' real names.

Going into France I had to change my watch's time. It's bizarre - I have a pebble smartwatch, supposedly this super modern high tech gadget, yet it has no support for multiple timezones and no downloadable things which do it well either, so here I am listening to the "where the local time is..." announcements and fiddling with the thing like it's the 1980s. Bleh. Also its battery life is shit.

Three let me buy a euro internet pass for roaming, then put me in a redirect loop telling me I needed one, I already had one, I needed one, I already had one. Suddenly I'm mentally transported back to last July and the second day of GCERC. Grr. Also got a text as we approached Paris from supercasino.com, offering entry into a competition to win a trip to Paris. Good skills.

Got off at Gare du Nord and paid €0.70 for a piss. Liquids are expensive in or out, it seems. Bought an RER ticket and waited on the shifty shady smelly platform for a bit. There was a lot going on trainside at GdN but it didn't all seem wholesome. Express service, headphones on and I relaxed. Was at my hotel less than half an hour from getting off €*, got my room number which started with a 2 but was on the 4th floor. But I was a bit drunk, and got off at the second floor. For fucks sake. Eventually got to 2406, dumped my stuff, had a panic at what briefly seemed like the only hotel TV ever without BBC World, then went to Bar Rendezvous. Spoke to a few folk by SMS, especially Mark, who asked "You in the hotel bar, or being sensible?" to which I replied with a photo of my beer. It was comfortably the nicest pint of Kronenbourg, which I don't normally like, that I had ever had. Until the second one.

Got a bit paranoid about my Sunday flight - there's only one service a day to KL from Paris, and that day's had been delayed by 3 hours. CDG airport, I had been warned, is shit and so not a place to be delayed. Tried to stop fretting about it and instead busied myself with a few Wikipedia articles on fatal plane accidents at CDG over the years (RIP Concorde) while being appalled by the appalling music. Who covers Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy with instruments? Who manages to make a worse cover of If You Don't Know Me By Now than Simply Red? Christ almighty.

I was now very drunk. Forgot to eat since midday. Caught a tiny bit of self-loathing until I remembered that, holy crap, I was finally getting I an A380 the next day! Yes! Yes! Yes! And so, to bed, to bed. Bon nuit, Paris.

1 comment:

auswomble said...

"Spent some time being annoyed by loud children running around" Ah, now about that...