Kuching: Day One

While travelling in Greece several years ago, my companion and I were not surprised when the bus to Epidaurus left 45 minutes later than its scheduled departure time. We shrugged, accepted it as part of a Greek holiday, and counted our blessings that we’d found a shady spot to wait in. We were, however, somewhat blindsided when we turned up 7 minutes or so early for the return bus and found that it had already left, with the next bus due in about two and a half hours. We passed the time easily enough with other stranded backpackers, but I’ve never forgotten the laughable unpredictability of that particular travel glitch. Bloody Greeks.

Anyway, since a Greek bus leaving early is about as unheard of as a Parisian pavement without dog poo, I always dismissed it as a one-off, the sort of anecdote you throw into a conversation about travel stories when it reaches the point at which you revel, cackling, in the various national stereotypes your cosmopolitan jet-setting has only served to confirm.

Until we arrived at Senai Airport two weeks ago only to discover that the AirAsia flight described on our tickets as leaving at 1630 was, in fact, now leaving at 1545. We had received absolutely no notification of the change. But by a stroke of pure luck, we’d arrived in the last few minutes before the check-in counters closed, and made the flight.

Amusingly, the only reason we had even arrived as early as 1500 for what we thought was a 1630 internal flight was that the airport coach schedule from Senai Airport’s City Lounge was also markedly different from the coach schedule its website promised. So, having found that the 1440 coach no longer existed, we’d decided to take a cab rather than chance the 1500 coach. If not for that, we’d have been roundly fucked, first by the Senai City Lounge and then by AirAsia. Bloody Malaysia.

(There isn’t much more to write about the first day of the trip once we got to Kuching, apart from mentioning the great Teochew steamed fish dinner we had at ABC Seafood and the beginning of a dramatic shoe disintegration process that finally culminated in their utter surrender while trekking in Bako National Park two days later. I mostly just wanted to warn anyone reading this to be careful when flying AirAsia from Senai.)


  1. Michelle! Mark T here. Arriving into Singapore late this evening and staying for three days, at the Holiday Inn Atrium.

    Hope you are about. Give me a call. Was in London about two weeks ago and caught up with the usual suspects. Talk soon hopefully.

  2. I’ve never taken Air Asia myself and I’m not sure how many times you’ve taken it, but you may or may not already know that Air Asia is infamous for its delays and unpunctuality. Here’s one of the top ‘AirAsia’ Google results for your reading pleasure:


    ‘Bloody Malaysia’ huh? You ain’t seen nothing yet till you’ve lived here for 27 years.

  3. Delays are part and parcel of flying budget airlines, I more or less expect that and factor it into my travel plans. Same with rescheduling of flights, provided sufficient advance notice is given.

    But moving a flight 45 minutes EARLIER and not notifying passengers is something I’ve never come across before.

  4. Look, what are you complaining about? Air Asia was simply having your best interests in mind. Haven’t you heard – the early bird catches the worm? If you depart earlier, you arrive earlier. And when you arrive earlier, you get to do more things on your vacation. Everybody wins. That’s Malaysia for you, a country built on integrity and service before self. We are, after all, a country that spends RM 100m (SGD 43m) on a 5-year plan to promote racial unity, which includes steps such as seating pupils from different races next to each other in schools and setting up a world’s first computerised early warning system on racial conflict. Because racial conflict is something that only computers can detect. And multi-racial seatings create nice chequered patterns in the classroom.

    Read here for context:

  5. Hi Michelle,

    i find its best not to slag off the Greeks, ‘coz i have it on good authority that they shall inherit the earth, and any way its really the Italians who are crazy – Picture the Scene at the ticket Desk in the Bustling Main train station in Rome:
    Brian: Do i need a supplement for my train ticket on this route?
    Roman ticket sales agent: no that ticket doesn’t need one!
    Brian (wary of being turfed off in Pisa again): may i buy one any way?
    Stupified roman ticket sales agent: yes but you don’t need it.
    -3 hours later in a train carriage stopped at remote and dusty Italian train station-
    Annoyed Ticket Inspector: everyone without a supplement off!

  6. Jesus, if one person isn’t moaning about me it’s another. It was four years ago James and besides, we got to Geneva in the end. Who cares if we’re black listed by BA, we’re both more ‘Ryanair’ type of travelers anyway.

    Honestly, as if I don’t have enough to put up with right now. Bloody Benny on his way to Singapore again. I’ll have to suffer through more heated debate about Serena fecking Maneesh together with the usual gibes concerning my intelligence.

Comments are closed.