Odyssey to South of the Clouds...(p2) - the first 30 hours ...
Welcome to Earth!
The Arrival Card
somewhere above the cloud
26th April 2016
i know, it is correct by definition. but somehow made the place less welcoming vs. addressing us as guests/visitors etc.
Kuala Lumpur - Kunming - Lijiang
it was sunday morning. i booked my taxi thru the apps, and headed straightaway to KL Sentral, instead of taking LRT from the nearby station. reason being, my (new) copycat deuter backpack felt like a baby elephant now, mainly because of the instant food that i had to bring - brahims, maggi, serunding etc. i don't normally travel like this, if i were on backpacking, but this time was different. i read about it was hard to get halal food at places that i wanted to overnight later.i had my hiking shoes, hiking pole for the hiking and even winter jacket, gloves this time as knowing that we'd be going to somewhere at high altitude.
i arrived KL Sentral around 9am and waited for TI for a while. we then took the ERL to KLIA2. anyway, we were a bit preoccupied with eating, buying some more supplies and change the money, and arrived at our gate as people already boarding to the plane. ah...a bit regret as this seemed always happened and i never had chance to spend time wandering within the international departure hall. in fact, our departure gate was like the farthest gate. and i forgot to buy the travel adapter ( i misplaced my old one and decided to buy it when at KLIA2). erghh...
the flight departed as per scheduled , at 1pm. it was a full-house with passengers mainly from the mainland. the guy who sat next to us, a malaysian, travelling with his friends to cover almost the same route like us, except they were going to Dali instead of Shang-rila. and we got our first frowning face from him as he was wondering how we were going to go through the trip without knowing the language, and halal food. i just chuckled and told him - we have apps on my iphone and bought Brahims instant..even we have nasi lemak in our luggage. LOL
it was lunch time and i ordered Nasi Lemak. reason being, 11-days gonna be a long period for not having a proper nasi lemak with authentic taste. the Brahims that we brought only consisted of the rice and the sambal. hehe.
we finally arrived Kunming Changshui International Airport after almost 4 hours journey. anyway, i managed to buy the travel adapter sold by AirAsia, and that was a relief. well...the gadgets now become your life support now, hence not having it connected to the power source meaning, you'd have to find another way to survive. hehe. but then most of all, i was worried more if my camera runs out of battery.
we went to pick up our luggage and then to the arrival hall. we plan to had our jama' pray first and then settle our 'business' at the airport since knowing the not so good stories of most public toilet in china. we saw the signboard at the airport, there was a musolla and even a big sign of Halal Cafe at the level above. we took the lift to the level above and went to find both.
1st - the cafe was closed. either it was recently closed or has never been opened. such a waste.
2nd - we saw the entrance to the musolla/surau, but then it was locked. the locals at the starbucks in front of the surau gave us a look, wondering what we were doing. we went down to the arrival hall and looked for the information counter. there was one guy in a uniform waiting there. as i asked about the surau, he suddenly pull the phone in front of it and dialed a number, and then open the speaker phone. there was a lady on the other side, and started to converse with me...ah! apparently, the guy was not well conversed in english, hence directly asked his colleague to entertain us.
we had a bad news as the lady told us that ' we do not have the authority to open the room for you sir'. i was stunned for a while, and wondering what was the purpose then for the room to be there. or that was sort of double-standard towards muslim in this country? yeah...i heard stories. we decided to find a secluded corner within the airport and performed our jama' prayer. we took turn, as just being cautious with the airport authority.
we went back again to the information counter, and with the same mode of communication, we asked the lady about getting to the train station, as well as about getting the local sim-card for our mobile phone. the airport wifi was not meant for us, as we discovered that it was more like a hotspot, where you need a local network account to access it.
i started to see TI colour at this point of time, as he complained on how the airport staff to converse in English to help the visitors etc.
anyway..we were told by the airport staff that we could buy the local sim-card at the convenient store, and apparently, for an airport that big, it only has one small convenient store at the arrival hall. we went there and start asking about it, and the drama started.
i mean, both ladies at the shop didn't speak english, other than responding to 'how much', 'thank you' and few basics, and same like us, they both used apps to communicate. apparently, the cost for the local sim-card quoted was beyond our budget...i mean they quoted us about 200 yuan. and TI, kept asking about how many gigabyte data etc. and all the details, impatiently, despite aware that there was a communication limitation there. we unable to reach an agreement to buy the sim-card, and decided to try it at the train station later.
we were approached by few locals, asking whether we need transportation and even accommodation to stay. we declined and went straight to the taxis queuing in front of the airport. we managed to ask the airport staff to write for us the 'train station' in chinese, for us to show it to the taxi driver.
despite saw the meter to be used for the ride, i quoted 80 yuan to the taxi driver and he just nodded for an agreement. either i got a better deal, i never can exactly tell as he didn't turn on the meter, but the airport staff told me that it'd normally cost between 100-120 yuan to get to the train station from the airport.
the ride went smooth, passing the big city of kunming, and we finally arrived at the train station. we had to go through the security screening first, and it was passed 7pm already, and our train would only depart within the next 3 hours.i went to queue at one of the counter and it was not counter no. 1 this time...but was told by the officer to go to counter 8 to collect my ticket. yeap...i bought the ticket to Lijiang via online few weeks before.
we went to the convenient stores near the station's entrance and bought bananas and drinks for our long journey tonight. ah..there was free wifi at the train station, and it was accessible by us, but was not that stable. i only managed to send few whatsapp message to malaysia, and then gave up. TI started to be a bit cranky as unable to access his fb page etc.the thing is, i wasn't aware that TI didn't know that instagram, google, FB etc. are blocked by the chinese government.
'come...let us find the local sim-card'
most of the phone-shop didn't bother to entertain us as we greeted them with 'excuse me, hello..'. but finally there was one shop did. the guy, again, despite the communication barrier, managed to explain to us about the local sim-card packaged etc. and answered TI needs on 'how much gigabyte data etc.'. as he wanted to process our request, the guy suddenly told that he couldn't do it and from the way he explained to me - the system already closed and he unable to process.
TI was not satisfied with my explanation, and sort of pushing me to verify again. but who cares? gotta live with that for time being, aite?
we went to the waiting area, bought some breads etc. gosh...the place was packed with people everywhere as it was getting closer to our departure time.
the time arrived. our train departed from Kunming at 948pm, and we bought the sof-sleeper tickets for the 9 hours ride to Lijiang.
i think it is like other long-ride train, the soft-sleeper coach allocate 4-passengers in each cubical. i got the upper bunk bed, while TI at the lower bunk. we had one south-korean expat and a local guy staying within the same cubical.
i was too occupied arranging myself to sleep, and suddenly TI told me that we hadn't had our dinner yet. i thought the bread that we had earlier was enough, but apparently not. anyway, it wasn't a big deal, but i had to drag again my bag, and then rearranging my stuff as trying to grab the maggi pack that i brought.
it was good, probably because i was actually hungry too despite having a less thought about having dinner that night. hehehe. we done with the dinner, did the cleaning...and then get ready to sleep. it was still long way to go....
|the hard-sleeper coach|