Social Whisper

Possibly the Longest Journey of My Life

Posted on: May 22, 2009

While doing my diving I was starting to get itching feet for something new and exciting and at the same time heard from Chris and Nik who were feeling the same and just wanted the beach. We decided to have a Mui Ne reunion and head to Bali to meet up with a load of people we had also met in Mui Ne who were already out there.

The journey from Koh Tao to Bali was pretty extreme, I was prepared for it to be a long one but nearly 3 days without sleep was something else.

The first stage of my trip was getting the night boat to the mainland the day my PADI course finished, which meant that couldn’t stay and celebrate with my diving buddies, but Bali was calling and we’d all managed to get on the same flight from Kuala Lumpa to Bali on Saturday.

The day had already been a long one as we’d been up since six for our final dives, so by the time the boat left at 9 and with some help from some gravel Dustin had given me ages ago I was up for sleeping through the journey.

The night boat itself wasnt what I had expected and had just an upper deck with rows of skinny mattresses running down either side with your ‘bed’ number above them.

Night boat

Luckily the boat wasnt full and neither was I next to a couple of fatties as otherwise the journey would have been pretty intense.  Despite this my paranoia about drowning in confined spaces meant that I didnt get much sleep, waking up every half an hour to check we weren’t sinking.

Arriving at 4.30am we had to wait around for an hour or so for the bus, while the women at the travel agent tried to convince us that we needed to change about $300 into Malaysian Ringgit as otherwise you wouldn’t be allowed across the border. As I had been through Malaysia before I was pretty sure this was a lie and said I’d take my chances with immigration, but I met people later on who’d believed her and been badly ripped off over the exchange rate – one guy nearly cried when he found out how much he’d lost.

The bus took us to Hat Yin where we had a bit of lunch (probably the hottest vegetable curry ever) and changed buses to a mini van that was to take us over the border to NW Malaysia. Crossing the border was the first time I’d heard of swine flu as we were just given a bit of paper with the symptoms on at the border, but it was all a bit vague and I wasnt sure if I was coming from an infected area or going into one. I also managed to accidentally miss the medical area where everyone had to have their temperature taken before they crossed into Malaysia but felt fine so decided to worry about it if I started to feel ill.

There was only me and one other guy that were continuing down from NW Malaysia down to Kuala Lumpa which meant waiting around for the night bus after our new and very confused mini van driver eventually found the bus station. By this stage I’d had about 2-3 hours sleep in the last 36 hours but was doing ok and hadnt yet started to get delirious.

The night bus we got on was amazing – probably the best I have ever and will ever go on. It was the equivalent of the business class section of a plane with huge sofa like seats that had a range of different buttons that moved the chair in every direction you could want.

Best night bus ever

After leaving about 10.30pm  we got into K.L  at 2.30am with only an hour or so’s sleep due to the over enthusiastic air con system creating sub zero temperatures. Neither of us had booked some where to stay and I knew Nik and Chris were some where in the area but as there were no Internet places open to check my emails I couldnt go and hunt them down. Considering K.L is a capital city the place was dead with no where open apart from a 24hr McDonald’s and KFC.

After wandering about for an hour we realised that we were unlikely to get anywhere to stay and our options were to either bunk down with the homeless people in the bus shelter or eat our way through McDonald’s night menu until dawn. As we begun to resentfully sit down and begin our fast food marathon, two of the girls we’d met on the street said they’d found a place that although was full had a communal living area we could stay in till morning when there may be rooms.

Figuring this was a better deal than consuming our body weight in grease under fluorescent lights we went back with the girls to wait it out till morning.

The living room area was a cross between a squat and one of the student houses I’d lived in at uni. But could have been worse and had a couple of sofas, a small kitchen, and a TV with a DVD player. Despite that by this stage it was 5.30am there were a number of people hanging around from other hostels drinking and playing music. After a bit of chat some one put on a DVD and people gradually started to leave or fall asleep.

By this stage I’d notched up about 4/5 hours sleep in two days but as there was only an hour before I had to leave for the airport once the movie had finished I decided to dose a bit on the floor before attempting to make my way to the airport.

Leaving the hostel lighted headed from lack of sleep, I started to try and figure our how to get to the airport which was 75km away without spending a fortune, knowing that once I got there I could put my self in the hands of Nik and Chris to get me to Bali.

Luckily I think someone was looking down on me as I got on the first bus I saw which took me to the main bus station and magically dropped me off in front of the Air Asia airport transfer bus which then dropped me off just as check in opened – couldn’t have bee more perfect if I planned it.

Checking in my bag I settled on the floor working my way through 5 double shot cappuccinos and a box of After Eights while waiting for Nik and Chris to arrive. When the boarding started and they still hadnt arrived I thought I must of missed them and made my way to the gate. It wasnt until they started closing the plane doors for take off I’d realised they’d missed the flight.

Despite being slightly worried about what had happened to them I passed out for the whole flight feeling immediately better when we arrived in Bali. Checking my emails Nik and Chris were fine but had forgotten to put their clocks forward an hour and so were getting a later flight, although it was twice the price of the original one.

I went on to meet up with Carolina and Rowland while we waited for the guys to arrive and start our Mui Ne reunion.


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May 2009
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