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Red flight home

The tenth flight in eleven days. Yet another very early morning and another long taxi ride to the airport. We watched four Australian tourists from cram into a little red and yellow taxi, their big cases poking out of a boot held down with an ocky strap and we glad again that we had packed light.

KLIA is a long way out of the city centre. A storm flickered in the distance in the grey morning light. I just wanted to sleep.

The replacement for the Low Cost Carrier Terminal is long overdue. The current terminal building is just an ugly big shed. We checked in, then B ordered nasi lemak for breakfast. I was still feeling overfed from the day before.

We had to go through two sets of security to reach the gate. A warning that the few available toilets are not really fit for human use.

Boarding was done via stairs and we were welcomed by the cheerful crew. There is not so much to say about the aircraft, as it was much the same as on the flight up. I fell asleep during the taxi, but then only brief naps all the way back to Australia.

It was a long slow climb up to cruise level, curving right around the airport and up through the clouds. There were a lot of clouds along the way and turbulence all the way until the middle of South Australia.

I really missed a flight map. We passed over a couple of Indonesian Islands, one flat and populated, the other volcanically mountainous.

A couple of hours into the flight the cabin was darkened and we were asked to close all windows. I hate this, especially when there's nothing to watch inside, so I begged to keep it open a bit due to motion sickness, and the crew let me. I wasn't alone. What's the point of sleeping during the day anyway? Doesn't help with jet lag flying in this direction.

When the clouds passed late in the day and the flight became smooth I was stunned again by the beautiful Australian scenery below, especially the salt lakes. I could almost wish that we were again flying outwards on holiday again.

Our only meals were two preordered green curries that we ate late in the day. This time Alex decided he loved the curry.

We descended into Sydney as the last rays of sunlight disappeared from the sky. There was one last sudden and nasty bought of turbulence, then we curved around for a descent from the north, past the sparkling lights of Sydney. The CBD looks so attractive at night.

We had checked in one bag and there was a bit of a wait to collect it, quarantine accepted our statements of content rather than an actual check, then it was a train to Padstow and a lift with B's brother home. Dinner was packet noodles, a big comedown from Malaysia.

Four countries, five hotels, ten flights with five (or seven if you split out the franchises) airlines to seven airports and in eleven days. Was it rushed? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Hell, yes! We saw, ate and experienced so much.

Highlights? The scenery of Arashiyama and Mount Rokko in Japan and the train from Hue to Da Nang. Relaxing and beautiful Hoi An. The food of Vietnam and Malaysia.

Alex was incredible. He coped with all the flights and train rides, early mornings and late nights with cheerful aplomb, only complaining when he got tired enough to need sleep. Despite us not bringing any toys (we intended, but never did buy some along the way) he just used his imagination to play. Not only did he eat the local cuisine, he enthusiastically embraced Malaysian food ("the best"), rambutans, sushi and Vietnamese noodles.

We were all sad for the holiday to end. Now we have to try and cope with the sameness and routine of normal life again. Somehow, racing to catch a train to work is just not as much fun as catching a flight to a new country.


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