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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Australia 2011 - Day 1 - Malaysia Boleh

"Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled." - Michael Crichton

***

Australia 2011
Day 1 - 29th July - Malaysia Boleh
(Part 1)

My trip partner MR and I flew to Melbourne through KL, using AirAsia. This meant another visit to LCCT.

As we all know, Australia charges citizens of most countries money for the ability to obtain a visa, for the privilege of spending money in it and so contributing to its economy. The Australian Government System offers an online application system for which one pays A$20 (it's outsourced to a vendor, which explains the markup). We managed to find a cheaper source, EasyETA, which charges only A$10.99 (it plugs into the same system). At first we were wondering if it was a scam, but I couldn't find any genuine negative reviews of it online but instead lots of positive ones. More to the point, we were allowed into Australia. So I can recommend EasyETA as a cheaper online visa application alternative.

There was a plane with "*** airlines cargo" written on it (*** represents blanco-ing out), and there was the word "jett" on the aircraft tail. This was puzzling, especially the blanco-ing out.

AirAsia was a big fail. We'd pre-ordered food for the way to KL, but they didn't manage to serve us (and a couple of others) before the plane landed as we were at the back. Before we landed they told us they'd pack the food for us, but forgot and we had to remind them before getting off the plane. Even better, it turned out that *both* our pre-ordered food choices were not available (nor was that of a third lady who came to collect her food), so we had to choose from something else. So much for pre-ordering. It's ridiculous enough that they have a no-outside-food policy (only in Asia can you do this sort of nonsense!) but they don't even serve you when you want to buy their food.

At KL LCCT, one screener tried to x-ray a pram, which couldn't fit into the machine. Very good.

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"Wholesome porridge" at KL LCCT

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AirAsia beef lasagna ad ("our ONLY Beef meal specially prepared for you") and the reality (MR's choice)

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My choice: "Asian Fried Rice with Chicken Satay" with cremated Water Glorybind (Kang Kong)
After a bite, it became apparent that by "Asian Fried Rice" AirAsia really meant "Malay Fried Rice", revealing their parochialism in equating Malay and Asia. Perhaps "Malaysia Truly Asia" had gone to someone's head. This was truly authentic Malay fried rice - so much chili I could taste nothing else, flavourless and lacking wok hei. The lasagne was better.
I was impressed by the nutritional information though.

The wifi in KL LCCT was awful. It'd worked well in March but I couldn't get it to work properly this time. Only Twitter and Android Market worked. Facebook was very very slow and Whatsapp, Foursquare (both app and website) and Hotmail (both POP3 and web) were down. Though somehow my French wiktionary mobile and blogspot were up. This was not a device issue - MR's iPad also had problems.

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Dodgy cheongsam women - I suspect they're both Malay

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"Sarawak Wild Tongkat Ali"!

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"LOCAL SIM KAD. www.localsimkad.com"
It should be www.lokalsimkad.kom.

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KLAS KARGO: the airplane is slipping down the slope and is going to crash into the ground, rear-first.

Unsurprisingly, the plane from KL to Melbourne was colder than the plane from Singapore to KL. This was so AirAsia could sell more "comfort packs" with blankets.

The arrival card was interesting. Even Australian residents returning to Australia must fill it in, which asks which country they spent the most time in. Meanwhile there is a category of visitors called immigrants. Presumably this is for easy processing when they want to mark you as "for shipping to Malaysia in a swap".

Happily there was no third passenger in our row, so we got a comparatively restful flight there.
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