Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thawing in Vietnam: Airports, Planes and Layovers

A final night of rest at Arcadia followed by a final breakfast buffet and the Harrington's soon found themselves in transition to 'real life'. Fortunately, the transition was slow and steady.

After paying their final bill and tab at Arcadia and re-acquiring their passports, the couple headed up the road to check in on Facebook, although it's forbidden in the land of Pho, grab a couple of sandwiches for lunch on the plane and finally jump into a taxi and head for Phu Quoc Airport where they had an early afternoon flight scheduled.

Over estimating the time required to check in at the regional airport, the couple spent ample amounts of time sitting, sipping on Coke and reading their Kindles before boarding the small plane and saying a final good-bye to Phu Quoc Island Paradise.



Upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, the couple continued forth with an afternoon of reading and snacking while waiting for the 8:00pm flight to Kuala Lumpur. After paying too much for a Whopper and doing a last bit of souvenir shopping at the airport, the couple boarded the plane and soon found themselves in KL, Malaysia.
Wanting to make the most of their 12 hour+ layover in Malaysia, the couple found a place to store their small packs and made their way into KL Sentral by shuttle bus where they then snagged a taxi to the ever popular Jalan Aloor, famous for their all night hawker stalls - which translates into friggin' fantastic food, specifically the most tender, delicious roasted chicken wings $4US has ever purchased.

Prior to arrival, the couple talked big and intended on making an all-nighter of their layover, hitting up food stalls and bars. However, finishing up chicken wings at 4am, Melissa was beyond tuckered and pulled out the pouty lip and big ole puppy dog eyes to request checking into a guesthouse for a few hours worth of napping prior to checking out KL Tower and the infamous Patronas Towers.

So it was, the Harrington's found themselves in an attic of a room with two 'single' beds, a small fan, two shared bathrooms for the entire guesthouse and some sketchy looking sheets laying down for a few hours of rest. Melissa awoke feeling refreshed and grateful for some shut-eye. Mike on the other hand, awoke to the feeling of his knee finding a mysterious and previously unnoticed puddle on his bed...from previous nights? Not sure. Nonetheless, the couple took it as a sure sign it was time to make their way out on the streets and hit up some sights prior to heading to the airport.
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First order of business was making way toward KL Tower where the Harrington's were greeted by hoards of young adult Malaysians racing around the city on a city-wide cultural scavenger hunt. Fascinated by the race, the couple took a few pictures before exploring the shops and grounds of the KLTower while choosing not to enter the observatory but rather to head on over toward the Patronas Towers, the world's tallest twin towers and prior to Taipei 101 (2004) and the Burj Khalifa (2010) the world's tallest towers. Once on the grounds of the Patronas towers the couple set out to take a few photos, received the halting blow of a whistle for standing on a cement block, made their way into the shopping center and through the park on the other side to get some non-drama causing photos of the towers.

Having seen all that could be seen in the allotted time the couple made their way back to the airport where they retrieved their belongings and made their way to the waiting zone before walking out to their final flight of the vacation.

Upon arrival in Incheon, the couple slowly made their way from the back of the airplane out through the gates just in time to wait 1hour+ for Korean Immigration to get everybody through the line, an unpleasant surprise at 10 pm when you're desperate to be home. A few minutes after 11, the couple exited immigration, hurried over to the airport shuttle booth to discover they had mere minutes to catch the final bus heading to Daejeon for the night. With a kind Korean employee of the airport shuttle buses leading the way, the Harrington's ran through the airport and out to the bus stop just in time to pay and board the bus home-bound.

And that, dear readers, concludes all of the vacation adventures from Winter 2012 for Mike and Melissa Harrington.

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