First thing first:
1. I graduated. Feel free to utter ‘finally’ here.
2. I’m going back to home grounds soon. 14th to be exact. Roti planta and soto pasar borong selayang, wait for me.
3. My sister in-law gave birth to a Atif Mickhael 🙂
4. Eurotrip: eye-opening, tiring, hectic, fun, would do it all over again.
I don’t know where to start. It’s already 4th and I haven’t packed half of my stuff. Thankfully I’m not a trinket junkie. I don’t collect stuff. I don’t own much. Most of my books were already sent back home the previous years.
Kak Rika is already safe and sound in Malaysia, and sampai hati lupa bawak balik the watch we gave you! Thanks la!
I wanted to start a travelodge, don’t know whether it would be a good idea, but I’m pretty excited to document the details of my/our journey. Let me tell you, it ain’t a walk in the park. That’s putting it mildly.
Let’s start with…
12th July, 2009
I managed to catch a few winks before staying up after Subuh to line up last-minute details regarding the trip. Dahla the night before I couldn’t sleep due to stress/exam-induced insomnia. I decided to just loiter around Luton before jetting off to Paris the next day so I booked a night at Stockwood Hotel as there was no hostel around the small town. 30 P per night for a single bed, darling. Kesian ayah aku.
Packed ala kadar. Two jeans, four shirts, three wrinkle-resistant tudung, some snickers bars, etc etc. Kak Rika sent me to the airport. Left for Kiev. I fell asleep even before takeoff. Landed in Kiev, it wasn’t so foreign from Simferopol. Pretty much suck ass at a more permissable level. Waited for the next flight to Luton. Exhausted my phone battery by calling all my classmates, my housemates, even mak who had countless questions on what to bring and not bring.
Boarded for Luton, and again, fell asleep the moment my head hit the cushion. I woke up two hours later, the sun was setting in the horizon. The pilot (with surprisingly good command of both English and Ukrainian) announced that we were crossing the English Channel. I would love to see the shore one day. For now I’d settle for the birds’ eye view.
Soon after we landed in Luton. Ukrainians and their weird customs, they clapped hands when the wheels touched the runway. I stifled a laugh and refrained from shaking my head. A non-Ukrainian next to me looked at me and gave me a dry smile at their antics. The customs were okay, the lady asked me of my travel itinerary which I gladly indulged her with. I stepped out from the airport and the sky was already darkening.
The thing about Luton, it’s easier to get to London than to get to the town centre. There are plenty of coaches leaving for Victoria Station every 10 minutes, but the road to the local town is a bit perplexing. I asked around, the kiosk makcik, the taxi driver pakcik, a pierced-everywhere abang, and they all told me to various different answers. Not to say they weren’t helping, English are very helpful and cordial to the tourists but yeah, an information counter would be a tremendous improvement.
At last, a knowledgeable taxi driver told me the easiest way is of course to take a taxi. I cringed, asking how much it would cost me. “5 P at most, luv. But you can also take the local bus, which would take you to the railway station. From there, you can take the train to the address.”
He waited for the bus with me and only left when I finally boarded the bus. In the bus, I was again at lost. Sure I could take the train, but which stop. I looked at the girl next to me, she looked okay enough. I shoved the hotel itinerary to her face. “Excuse me, do you know this address?” Hallelujah, finally, my break for the day!
Aleona is a Godsent. She said the hotel is within walking distant from her house. I asked her if she minded me tagging along. She said no, so we set off trodding along after being dropped off at the train station. She told me her name, and I was intrigued. It sounded a lot like a Slav name, and it turned out that her parents were from Lithuania. She was a local student at the Uni of Bedfordshire, reading accounting while working part time at Burger King. We talked for awhile, as the town came in sight and she meluahkan perasaan saying that she lost 30P from her tip jar. She suspected her supervisor had a hand in the disappearance. She looked so down and so sad, so I told her her to take charge and to confront the supervisor. Funny how a simple trip turned to be a mini consult.
She let me off the corner of the hotel. I reminded her again to be strong and face her boss to claim her money back. I snapped a photo and as I watched her disappear around the corner, I wished she would forever remember this midget Asian girl asking for direction.
Stockwood Hotel is a quaint little hotel with a very accomodating manager. I was handed my keys, direction to my bathroom (30P and no en-suite, sad, isn’t it) and the breakfast area. I ordered a hot vege pizza which was claimed good by the manager. It arrived after my shower and as promised, very hot and very good. Or maybe I was being biased since I hadn’t a bite of anything throughout the day.
Went to bed, cherishing the fact that it would be the last comfortable sleep I’d have before bunking in at CDG tomorrow.
13th July 2009
Woke up to the sound of The Cure professing their love by the day of the week. Switched on BBC, had it muted. Climbed up the bed, Subuh on the bed. Kept on tripping on my telekung. Hahha. Munched on the cold pizza while waiting for breakfast to be ready. Watched the news for Gordon Brown, Thatcher, Air France updates, H1N1, etc. Tiba-tiba rindu nak dengar suara Dang Suria. Clock struck 8, turun bekpes, makan semahu-mahunya kerana hari masih panjang. Checked out, roamed the town for awhile. Luton is really a charming small town. I wouldn’t mind living there.
I saw Jeffrey Archer’s latest, Paths of Glory and thought it’d be an excellent read while waiting for their ship to dock. Tengok harga, 13P. Eh, maybe later can gores & menang. For now I need the 13P for sustenance.
Set off to CDG. Holy crow the airport is convoluted. I didn’t like it. But the customs are cool though. Even the policewoman looked like she could kick serious ass. I climbed up to terminal 1, chose a strategic location, pulled up my legs, and dozed off. Tomorrow is a longer day.
Everything’s gone white and everything’s gray
Now you’re here, now you’re away
I don’t want this, remember that
I’ll never forget where you’re atDon’t let the days go by, Glycerine, Glycerine ~ Glycerine, Bush