samedi 28 avril 2018

58 HOURS FROM MIAMI FOR A JOURNEY TO THE EAST ENDING UP IN KUALA LUMPUR

only dedicated travel fans would understand why it took me 52 hours to go from Miami to Kuala Lumpur. There are multiple one stop journeys to KL from Miami: British Airways combining with Malaysian airlines; Turkish Airlines connecting in Istanbul, Qatar connecting in Doha, Emirates from Fort Lauderdale connecting in Dubai, all of them around 30 hours of flying and waiting.
I wanted to fly the non stop SQ Singapore airlines flight from SFO to SIN one of the longest flights in the world, clocking in just under 17 hours. 
I was able to get a ticket on SQ , SFO to SIN in their new A350-900 aircraft, in a very private section of the aircraft. They left mid morning from SFO and the only way I could connect would be to take a late evening flight from Miami to San Francisco, a 6 hour flight, leaving Miami at 9 pm and arriving around 1 am in the morning at SFO.
 The Flagship lounge of American Airlines is a notch above the usual Airlines Lounges of USA
 It is a sad commentary when the Lounges are offering better food than in the air! I had my dinner knowing full well that the food on the plane would be rather bland, which it turned out to be.
 The FF status guarantees you a nice seat and I had a fairly private area with no one near me.
The food offered was rather pathetic but I did enjoy the drop of wine: a sauvignon blanc
What shall I do until the flight leaves for SIN? Most of the hotels within reach were outrageously expensive and the shuttles stopped running at 1 am, you are left to the mercy of taxi drivers or Uber. I decided to stay at the airport, which was eery and haunted at that hour. The centurion club at Terminal 3 opened at 5 am, at which time I was able to get in and have  a shower and enjoy the breakfast and go over to the International Terminal in time to enjoy the United First Class Lounge and board the flight.
 The airports in the USA tend to be abandoned after certain hours of the night as they are not 24 hour airports like the ones in Asia. SIN airport is open 24 hours and the lounges are too, so you can rest regardless of what time you arrive.
 The Centurion Club had a nice shower which I enjoyed as well as a nice array of breakfast dishes 



 I like this display of luggage from 1950s and 1960s artistically displayed 
 The problem with Centurion Club is that it can get easily overcrowded, so I decided to move to the United International First Lounge where it was nice to have a flute of Moet et Chandon

 My favourite meal has to include Salmon. The lounge was spacious but rather dull in decoration. I noticed that the staff was not overtly friendly even though I said Hello and smiled at them. Then again, they have a tough and unappreciated job!


Many flights to China!
An Anthropological observation: most people in the lounge were Chinese bound to their homeland or White Americans travellers who looked either retired or business types. I did notice there were a couple of East Indians. Later on it occurred to me that lots of East Indians living in this part of California could reach India especially the south eastern part quickly with SQ flights via SIN. 

To this day I marvel at this technological advance of being able to fly long distances up in the air.. 




The 17 hour flight was remarkably smooth and it was interesting to follow the route taken, going straight to ASIA at its shortest crossing on the way to Singapore, took us above Hawaiian Islands, past Midway and Wake Islands and making landfall in the Philippines Archipelago and then going south. On arrival there was a thunderstorm waiting to greet us so we had to wait 15 minutes for it to pass
I used to enjoy watching movies on long flights but lately I have not had the patience to do so. It is a good time to reflect and think about friends and other lovers. I wrote a little bit and read both New York Times an Le Monde and also followed some airline news on The Business Traveller
 The short 40 minute flight on SILK AIR was remarkably good with excellent attention and very pleasant Cabin Crew.


 Malaysia to me means the extraordinary people I have met over the 10 years I have been visiting this country on a regular basis. The previous Malaysian Ambassador to Cuba picked me up at the airport and it was nice to talk about Cuba in Malaysian Soil and also catch up on the latest political happening in this most incongruous country of Asia, but I am fond of it otherwise why should I come here so often for over 10 years!
The welcome at Double Tree Hotel where I usually stay was touching and after saluting my old friends at the Executive Lounge at 34 Floor  Dat, Brian got to meet the new manager Jini (who did a short stint at Sheraton at Doha)
Dat made sure that my room was just a few steps away from the Lounge.




It was 5 pm Friday  when I checked in at the Lounge
ie 5 am Miami time, i had left at 9 pm on Tuesday night (by the way I was working at the Everglades all day that day)
56 hours later.. a long and arduous journey
Within half an hour after arrival it was time for wine and social hour at the Lounge 
Even though I felt very tired and without much appetite I enjoyed the busy atmosphere of the Lounge 
Wishing my friends around the world SHABBAT SHALOM, it was time to rest in this comfortable and friendly hotel in 
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia ..