Said farewell to Wellington with a Sunday morning taxi ride through empty streets to the airport. The only people stirring were those going to the cricket pitch early for the first day of a test with Australia. My friends Greg and Anne were off to Queenstown for some trekking, and I flew on to Auckland to catch a very long but uneventful flight to Kuala Lumpur (10+ hours). Air Malaysia had mixed up my ticket earlier so, in order to rebook, I had a night’s layover in Klia, the town named for the acronym of the Kuala Lumlur International Airport. Arrived around nine pm Malaysia time (which one or two my time), and after some fumbling around I finally found the hotel shuttle bus, only to discover on my arrival I needed a Malaysian Air voucher and had to return to the airport to secure it. Fortunately the Hotel Concorde concierge was very accompanying and finally I found myself in a room. It was an odd place, a lot like an old fashioned motel with long concrete block buildings opening out to a middle breezeway. But the bed was comfortable, the television adequate, and there was pretty good wifi. I sat up catching up with some correspondence and watching BBC news. I wanted to be sure I had plenty of that in anticipation of limited access while in Nepal. The only hint that I was stepping into a different world was the warning in the bathroom to boil water in the room before drinking or brushing teeth. A world I’ll be in for some time to come.
T. Hugh Crawford