Friday morning I woke up in Lisse, Netherlands where I had breakfast, finished packing and checked out of the Golden Tulip. I caught the #61 bus to the Int'l Airport in Amsterdam and checked in and waited for departure. Great...HUGE...busy, busy airport.
Malaysian Airlines is a decent carrier from my limited experience. I was fortunate to have a window seat in a "3" with no one in the other 2 seats until a man came up and took the aisle seat (he'd probably been in a less-roomy place and couldn't resist). He slept and watched a movie. I watched more than my share of movies on this 12 hour flight -- including Enchanted (pretty cute, entertaining) and Kite Runner (great story, well-filmed, consider it recommended - though not for children).
We landed in Kuala Lumpur just before 6 am. The aiport was quiet at that hour, but by 7 things were hopping. I walked and walked, sat a snoozed, had "breakfast" and walked some more. This next flight was on a smaller plane but my seat situation was the same as on the first flight -- window seat with no one else in the "3." By this flight I was TIRED and a little fuzzy. I read some and did BSF "homework." I started to listen to the Chronicles of Narnia, but I think I fell asleep.
Now, here is where the story gets a little complicated. I was scheduled to arrive in Manila at 2:30 pm. The flight left KL at 9:15 am. When we got on the plane the pilot said that the flight would last 2 hours and 25 minutes. This should have been a clue, but I was too fuzzed to comprehend.
Just befor noon we landed. I remember thinking that the airport was smaller than I'd remembered, but last time I was here I'd arrived in the middle of the night and things look different in the middle of the day (clue 2). Announcements are being made in Maylay and English (with accent) and I'm not sure what they said. (I wasn't really paying attention - pretty typical for people who fly a lot I'm afraid.) I disembarked into a terminal and followed the signs to IMMIGRATION. Along the way it was evident that they were doing construction and so when things didn't look familiar (clue 3) I determined that jet lag (then and now) and construction made it so.
The lines for IMMIGRATION were short. When I approached the officer there, she asked why I had not gotten an immigration stamp in KL and I explained that I was checked directly through from Amsterdam to Manila and didn't go through immigration in KL. She took my passport and ticket receipt (e-tickets, so that's all I had) to an office and came back and stamped my passport and told me to have a nice stay.
I went down the stairs to baggage claim, mentally planning how I would exit to the Coupon Cab stand and catch a taxi to the hotel. So glad to be nearly "there." But the baggage claim didn't look right. At all. Not anything close. It looked familiar, but it looked like the baggage claim in Jamaica - not Manila. I began to look around and realized that all the tourism signage was talking about Maylaisa. Hmmmm (clues 4 and 5).
It was at this moment that I relized that I was NOT IN MANILA. (Apparently we'd stopped in "KK" in eastern Malaysia on our way and I had no idea.) I about-faced and headed back up the stairs, wondering if I could get arrested for entering IMMIGRATION from the back side, and asking God to please give me favor and HELP! :)
I returned to the immigration officer I'd worked with the first time and she engaged the supervisor and then went with me to a Malaysian Airlines counter to at least start the process of getting me back where I belonged. After a few conversations and a mad dash through the airport through which I'd just come and with no certainly of when the flight I was supposed to be on was scheduled to leave, I arrived at Gate A4 where the airline personnel smiled and handed me a TRANSFER TICKET and told me we'd be boarding in a few mintues...after I told them a fast version of my story.
The rest of the journey looks rather boring from there. I had my same seat with no one anywhere close. I snoozed. We landed (and it looked like I remembered it) and I stood in line in immigration (I was in line 16 of 20 lines open) for 40 minutes or so, was granted admission on a 21-day tourist visa, grabbed my bags and exited through customs without incident. I crossed the street to the Coupon Cab building and had a simple 530.00 peso ride to the Villa.
I checked in and the bellhop brought me to my suite. It is LOVELY! I was here long enough test the facilities, drink some water and check the WiFi before Sandy Gould called with supper plans. That put me into gear to shower/dress before she and the Gammons picked me up for Indian food. Delicious. (Photo at the right -- it was empty when we arrived for dinner because this was disco night and the fun wouldn't be starting until later. We didn't stay for that.) We wandered around the "mall" where that place was, had ice cream and I was home by 9 and in bed by 9:30 pm. That would be 3:30 pm the day after I left the Netherlands.
So, here is the deal: it was fun. Oh, I sweat too much when I was running through the airport and I felt a little stupid when I realized that "I'm not in Manila" of course -- but mostly it was fun. Maybe it's the jet lag.