Yup we're here at last, somewhat mentally battered but here nonetheless! The airports are the dodgy parts, otherwise fine.
Adelaide Airport: Dylan gets sent back out to check in his tripod because it's some kind of lethal weapon. I lose my boarding pass, have a hissy fit. We are the last to be on the plane (that we saw, family's might disagree!).
Melbourne Airport: Good old Jetstar has booked us onto a Qantas flight that doesn't exist, moved us to another one in the afternoon (no email mind you) which happens to depart to Sydney AFTER our flight from Sydney to KL. Lucky for us we had a very helpful girl at Qantas check in who moved us to an earlier flight and thereby saved the day.
Sydney Airport: Eat terrible chicken. Get snapped at by security over the 'too big' mossie repellant I'd handed over as per regulations... it wasn't too big and I got a brief apology. Have loads of time to get to gate and wait, bum our way along to hear over the loudspeakers about 10m before we get to the gate that the flight has been moved to another gate and is boarding, right now...we have a good 10 minutes panicked walk over to the other side of the airport and join the queue. The queue goes absolutly nowhere and after a while we sit down again to wait. By the time we get on the plane (about half an hour late so far) and sit down we wait again as someone is 'removed' (no I don't know why, but the nosy parker in me would love to!), they can't find this person's bags and I fall asleep and end up missing the safety demonstration (but then if we crashed I can't imagine I'd really be in a position to actually need my life jacket or know how to use it). We leave about an hour and a half late. Oh well, we finally got underway. The movie was StarStruck and I wouldn't recommend it.
Kuala Lumpur: I like more every time we pop in. I love the ease of the train system, I love love love the dirt cheap curry shops on every corner and the lemon drinks,the lights everywhere and the tropical downpours heralded by the air growing so heavy it's like syrup. I would have liked to stay a few more days but we have that at the end of our trip so that's ok. I'd insisted on booking a hotel with a pool (a real novelty for this pair of backpackers!) and so we even got to go for a swim while a little man went around dusting and polishing the leaves of the pot plants (I guess being a pool attendant gets a little dull).
KL airport: Totally our own fault by not paying attention, but we went to the wrong terminal. Whoops. Thankfully were very early because the correct terminal was a good 15 minutes away but the limo driver (yes, we had to take a limo!) whipped us away at 130km an hour and so we were well on time. LCCT (cheapo terminal) is basically a big shed with inadequate airconditioning and macdonalds which we regretfully ate for breakfast (only on holidays would I eat that).
Anyway, moving on! We arrived in Angeles yesterday and stayed overnight in Tack-O-Rama hotel (Actually La Casa). I'm not sure if it was the plastic flowers, the shell chandeliers, the plastic tomato salt and pepper shakers or the life size wooden cowboy out the front but somehow we felt compelled to move on quickly. Angeles was one of the towns swamped by ash when Mt Pinatubo erupted and even now there is ashy sand everywhere and a general pall of misery and dust over the place (when a man invited us into the Nasty Duck Bar; quack quack, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. You could buy a drink for less than a dollar here, or a woman for $2.50). We had thought to go up to Mt Pinatubo but opted to head straight for Manila instead, maybe on the way back as we do have to pass through again.
Manila is extremely run down, lots and lots of rubble,mess, and cobwebs of wires hanging everywhere. Every corner seems to have a Macdonalds, KFC, Chow King or JolliBee's. A taxi driver tried to rip us off almost immediately but we are well versed in this and removed ourselves from the cab and flagged down another one (driver one wanted 600 pesos to take us here, driver 2 put the meter on and it cost us 75 pesos, we're not that green any more!). We're staying in an ok hostel, it has quite a nice communal area and a kitchen but our actual room is just an expensive bed and a window which looks out onto another wall. It's a reasonably quiet area though and not as desperate looking as some of the places we drove through on the way here.
We are flying to Puerto Princessa tomorrow (on Palawan) where we hope to find somwhere about a 1000 times more chilled out than this.
Anyway, that's all for now! This sounds more gloomy than it really is, I think we've just seen all the ikky bits of the country first but best to get them out of the way I think!
Love to all,
Katie (and Dylan)