Trip to Cape Verde 2019 – Part 4

(Chaos, confusion, uncertainty – Lisbon, we have a problem when add impatient passengers into the equation. Copyright BJ Thoughts)

The Cape Verde flight passengers started to assemble closer and rumors & assumptions started to fly – some passengers especially those with small children became restless. Someone shouted “It’s Not Fair!!!” and a bunch of passengers joined in.

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Next Change: Crazy 13,000 km Trip

CapeVerde

(Image Source: Cruise Mapper)

Yes, next change coming up:-

  • 13,000 km flight
  • 20 hours of flight
  • 14 hours of transits
  • 4 different airports
  • 2 different airlines

It has been some time since I last visited this blog.

The last few years have carried me away from the blogging and more towards others like social media, health and gaming.

Anyway it is time for another long trip and 3 months overseas assignment and it will be a good opportunity to use this time “away from office” to blog about this up-coming trips. Let’s see how much time I can spare and how much information I can squeeze in the coming months.

To be continued…

On A Critical & Tense Tour of Duty, Again

tour of duty

(Another tour of duty – caught this shot with my phone on the way for an overseas trip. Somehow I had the dread thoughts of MH370 but all ended well when nothing out of the ordinary happened and we landed safely)

Firstly sorry for missing out on the regular posts for past 2 weeks. You see, it is the time of the year when I clean up my drawers in the office, prepare the monthly budget for my wife, hunt for new clothes / shoes and prepare myself for a painful good-byes to my kids (my precious ones in an eerie Gollum voice).

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Soiled Luggage & Terrible Headache in the Plane

Just a quick one this week…

(Things you do not want to see or worse, do when you are in a plane – trust me, you never know what will happen next. Having a terrible headache just when you are about to land for the first time is something else)

I was away on a short trip overseas for a meeting. Except for the idiot who keep bumping his trolley into me at the check-in counter, the flight itself was uneventful. The service from MAS was excellent as usual and the in-flight meal was good too but all that changed when I landed and walked to get my luggage.

First thing I noticed was part of the bag was damaged but it was not the end of it. Part of the bag was covered with some kind of oil. But since I had to rush for my meeting, I decided not to spend time claiming for the damage or arguing with the airport staff on the oil stain on the bag. I admit that it was my mistake, I should have packed my clothes into a smaller hand carry bag that I could have brought in the cabin instead of checking in a bigger bag.

After all, it was a short trip but sometimes as you know me, I like to do things the other way around. I gathered later that the oil could have come from another passengers’ bag – it smells like some kind of medicated oil instead of aircraft lubricating oil (which is a good thing, now I think about it). I guessed some idiot had not packed it well and the bottle must have broken when their luggage was thrown into the plane.

Thinking that the oil “damage” only limited to the outer rim of the bag, I decided forget about it and focus on the work at hand. Hours before I need to show my face at the meeting, I had checked in at the hotel and taken a quick shower.

I then opened my bag and got a shock of my life – the oil that was so evident on the outside of the bag had “leaked” into inside and had ruined my clothes (which I suppose to wear for the formal meeting). I regret not checking on this at the airport and make my case with the staff but there was no time to waste now.

I had no choice – I noticed my company T-shirt had escaped the damage and was still good to wear. I wore back my jeans and headed to the meeting. At the meeting, so as not to rise any eye-brows (which I know will happen since the rest was wearing formal), I apologized upfront for my inappropriate attire and explained what happened. The meeting went rather well and my “out of place” wardrobe did not make any issues.

After I came back from the meeting, I checked on the damage – it was not that bad. I managed to clean up the oil from the bag but the stain on the clothes had to wait until I go back and sent it for washing. It was an early flight the next morning, so I hardly sleep that night – I do not want to oversleep and rush to the airport the next day. Thankfully I did not wake up late the next morning and took my time to shower, pack up and head to the front office to check out and wait for my shuttle to the airport.

I was flying back on a “budget” – purely because it was the first flight out in the morning. Budget also means I need to be ready with my cash for the in flight meal and there is no in-flight entertainment. I just hoped that the plane would be on-time and without any other problems. There was quite number of foreigners on the flight back home – so most of them passed on the in-flight meals (perhaps it was still too early in the morning).

So I had a plenty of choice to pick when the flight attendant come over to ask me on the meals. The last time I flew on budget, the popular meals were all sold out and I had to settle to one of the less favorite choice on the menu and it was not that good. Having nothing else to do, I was asleep for rest of the journey though.

A sense of a sudden drop woke me up. I then realized that the plane had descended and the pilot had just announced that we will landing soon. Then it started. A sharp pain near my eye lids and side of my head and the headache only increased as the plane neared the airport. I was not wrong to imagine that something was moving in my head – you would have thought the same.

I actually thought there was something alien in my head, moving to and fro, drilling and probing into my brain. I looked around and noticed that all looked normal with other passengers – no one was holding their head in sharp pain. I did not want to cause any unnecessary panic, so I just held on, hoping that the headache would go away once we have come to lower altitude.

I somehow knew what was causing the pain and I kept trying to open my mouth to equalize the pressure in & out but after many years of flying (some spanning of flying 10 – 18 hours of flight per trip) and did not having the same headache, I was a bit concerned. Why now? Is age finally catching up with me?

Thankfully my head did not explode, although the headache remained even after I had reached home and taken a hot shower. A couple of painkillers and a good afternoon nap did the trick to reduce the headache.

I probably need to be more prepared next time I fly – last thing I need is to be the next “star” in YouTube.

Chennai Trip – Part 1

The travel to Chennai, India, to be very frank, started with a biased mind.

Biased because I did not get my facts straight and failed to acknowledge that a lot of things have changed in the last few years. I still recall Russell Peter’s joke when he visited India – he said that when he stepped out the plane, the very first thing that he noticed is the smell. He said that he changed into a Canadian so fast when that happened. I still recall someone mentioned huge rats running about the old airport in Chennai and imagined the horror of dirty and smelly streets. Then I also read about Visithra’s nightmare with hired car driver in Chennai and imagined the same happening to me.

Yes, I was biased but given the urge for a week visit to the land of mystery, I decided to go on nonetheless. I was glad that I was proven so wrong after I stepped in Chennai.

(Our transport from Chennai International Airport to the apartment – it was large enough to hold 8 people and 6 large luggages. Photo taken on camera phone hence the poor quality)

The flight to Chennai was a night flight but despite arriving early at KLIA, we could not get the window seat for the big-boss (who was looking forward on this trip). The flight to Chennai was full and we were kind of lucky to get seats in the same row. The big boss was disappointed, not able to view the outside but that disappointment quickly drowned out once he had sat down on his designated seat and the plane started to make its way to the runway for the 3 and half hours flight to Chennai (he being sleepy helped too).

We took MAS so service was top-notch as expected. But despite that, we still had idiots who brought in large bags into the cabin instead of checking them in but the MAS cabin crew managed to stow them away from sight. The MAS cabin crew also managed to keep the service at the highest level by providing beverages (of all types) throughout the flight.

Unlike the bad service with Iran Air, the calls for fresh water were responded without much delay. The A330-200 Airbus did not have the video on call facilities but we did not complain – the quality of shows provided was reasonable enough to pass the time. Dinner provided on time but it was nothing to shout about – after all we were in the Economy class.

Flying on MAS made us feeling proud to be Malaysian especially when there were more foreigners in the same flight and they too were impressed with “Malaysian Hospitality”.

(I almost had my jaws dropped when seeing the airport taxis are consists of Toyota Innova premium MPVs – I did not get the chance to check the price as we already made prior arrangements for transport. The parking was a bit chaotic but noticed the drivers were extra careful)

After a 3 and half hours flying, we touched down on Chennai International Airport – almost at about 11 pm and once again, we were confronted with idiots who don’t understand simple instructions in English – “wait until the plane comes to a complete stop”. As I stepped out from the plane, I remembered Russell Peter’s jokes but to my surprise, there no such foul odours up in the air.

The airport was clean but despite it being a “new” airport, age was showing up at some part of the airport, namely the immigration check-point (it almost looked like a make-shift stall) and at the arrival hall. The officials were strict but managed to smile seeing my son asking a lot of questions about this strange country. Baggage claim was flawless but it was not smooth – we were one of the last to get our bags. As we stepped out, our relations in Chennai was already standing by to greet us.

We walked out, still disbelieved that we have landed in India and only after seeing a polished Ambassador car at the front, we knew for sure that we are in India.

(Roads are clean and well managed – something that is expected of in a large city like Chennai. The Ambassador car is fast becoming an extinct model especially when there is plenty of modern cars in the city)

And how things have changed – instead of Ambassador taxis and speedy crazy autos, we had flashy Toyota Innovas as the airport taxis and loads of 4 wheel drives (of many models), Hondas, Suzukis and Toyotas at the front waiting for the newly arrivals. There was a lonely Mercedes Benz at the front too. It was a bit chaotic (many things may have changed but poor planning still prevails in many aspect of the city administration) before we managed get hold on our transport (a white TATA 4 wheel drive).

Once we got our transport and managed to squeeze ourselves in the small passenger compartment, we headed to the apartment for late supper and a much needed sleep.

To be continued in Part 2….