Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leaving California

It’s a beautiful day in California as leave on our Malaysian adventure. This was somewhat of a difficult trip to plan as the travel sites had very few reviews from tourists going to Borneo. Therefore, some of this trip will be “wing it as we go” and I am not too sure what these places will look like, and don’t really know what to expect about transportation and points of interest. The United flight is fairly empty and we board early to find lots of empty seats. The guy across the aisle tells me there are many seats in business class. Alas, we should have requested one. It is a 12 hour flight to Seoul and 3 movies later, full of terrible food, we arrive in a country buried in winter. Below, the terrain is heavily mountainous, gray with a dusting of white, giving it a very somber and bleak look. I wonder if the city is as gray as it appears from the air, or perhaps neon lights give it life and color. My thoughts turn to the landing and I wonder if we will have to walk outside to get to the terminal. I am dressed for the tropics, certainly not prepared for the 20 degree temperature outside. Fortunately, a jetway appears and we deplane directly in to the terminal. It is afternoon, but the airport is eerily quiet and empty except for the passengers on this United flight. The Star Alliance lounge, as typical of Asian cities, is well equipped and offers a nice selection of food and drink. The kimchee mixed with canned corn is particularly good. Boarding Malaysian Air, we embark on a 7 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, in northern Borneo.

It is 11pm. Walking outside, we are hit by the moisture laden air, which sits heavily on us. Our taxi drops us off at the Hotel Shangri-la, not to be confused with the Shangri-la Resort, the 5 star luxury hotel on the coast.

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