19, 2008, The adventure began, on the way to Mentawai, surfing paradise.
11 a.m., check in with Spanair at the airport in the north. I only took
one suitcase but a little big. It are 3 surfboards. The rest goes in hand-luggage.
I don't get it checked-in as normal suitcase and have to pay 80 Euro for
the trip to Kuala Lumpur.
My little bag of hand luggage weighs around 20kg but it is divisible,
and I decide, because the boards are separate and paid for, to check-in
everything that I do not need on the plane. It still weighs about 10kg
because of the cameras and computer. I get boarding cards for the 2 following
flights that are Madrid-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Kuala Lumpur.
I leave 35minutes late but we have tailwind and arrive in Madrid on time
to eat, start this story and find the boarding gate for the flight to
Frankfurt departing at 18.25.
19, 22 pm CET in Frankfurt. Ready to board on the huge Boeing 747 that
brings me to Kuala Lumpur with a stopover in Bangkok. So far everything
has gone very fluid with just enough time on the stops for a drink and
walk to the gate. Frankfurt airport is total chaos. The planes appear
like mosquitoes everywhere and have to queu continuously, crossing runways,
taxiways and terminals.
20, GMT 15h51, 22h51 in Kuala Lumpur. First part of the journey completed.
Resting in the Concorde Inn hotel. The flight on the fabulous 747 was
a disaster. Economy class on Lufthansa in a giant but full plane and less
room for the legs then on the flight with Spanair Madrid-Tenerife. I sat
in the center on a row of 3 and could not even lean my elbows. Row 47,
a horrible smell, I do not want to comment further details. And so for
13 hours. Well, I survived, the bags arrived and I try to sleep the oriental
night to deceive the jet-lag.
21, 09.25AM in Kuala Lumpur. I just took such a huge breakfast I had to
go back to bed to digest quietly. There will be no need to eat more today.
The best was the kiwi juice, of which I took 3 glasses. It's cloudy, humid
and warm, which makes it a little annoying. I do not know if I stay here
waiting for the end of the day or take the train to the center of the
metropolis Kuala Lumpur. There I can't do anything but go shopping and
take pictures of the famous Petronas Twin Towers, which were the world's
tallest buildings until 5 years ago (452m). (After what it was the Taipei
(2003, 509m) in Taiwan and now it is and will be for a few years at least,
the Burj Dubai (688m at the moment but will be finished in more than 800m)
until they build the "mile high" of 1600m in Saudi Arabia .
When there is no more oil, these buildings will be monuments in memory
of the era of oil in history.(if they don't collapsef))
21, 10.45PM in Kuala Lumpur. I have to sleep because tomorrow I should
be up early to catch the flight to Padang with AirAsia. I have booked
the "shuttle" which takes me to the LCCT "low cost"
terminal, on the other side of the airport (30min).
Finally I decided to visit the city and it was well worth it. The hotel
shuttle took me to the airport where I took a direct train for 70MYR per
round trip (14 Euro). That led me to the station "Sentral",
where the underground takes over the trip to KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center)
for 1,3MYR (0,25Euro). It leaves me directly below the impressive Petronas
Twin Towers. I arrived late to get on the catwalk on 41-42th floor (there
are 88 floors) that joins the two towers and see the view from there.
Next door is the largest shopping center that I've seen, like 4 times
Carrefour in Tenerife, with stores from Cartier, Louis Vitton, Cacharel
until Zara and Bata, and separate stores for each brand like Sony, LG,
Samsung, Apple, Sony Erricson, Nokia, Quiksilver, Billabong, Reef, Adidas
....... And of course many restaurants but as good ignorant tourist I
ate at Pizzahut (of course there was also McDonalds and Burger King).
Sept. 22, 9:30AMin Padang. I got up at 5.30 for breakfast and take the
"shuttle" to the low cost terminal and arrived just an hour
before departure. 190MYR (50 Euro) excess baggage and departure of the
Airbus AirAsia very timely. On arrival the boat owner was waiting for
me and leads me to a "hotel" in Padang. There are is lot of
traffic and driving without rules, touching the horn continuously to avoid
collisions, so it took almost an hour to make 15km. The hotel where I
pass the day is an old bank converted into a hotel but is not like any
of the two. On the outside seems to be in ruins but the truth is that
inside is quite cozy. I was introduced to the chef de cuisine and the
captain of the boat which is also spending the day waiting for the others
to arrive end get on the boat. They are Australians based in Indonesia
and Thailand, or better, settled in a catamaran of 72 feet. Apart from
them there will be 4 Indonesians on board to keep the boat running. We
talk about the surf, conditions and crowds, that in recent years have
increased by the "landcamps" or surfers who remain in the jungle
in front of the spot in organized camps. There are no forecasts for a
big swell but there is something, certainly tomorrow and then maybe we
will have to wait a few days to the arrival of a new swell that will also
not be very big. That's good for me because I do not need waves of 4m.
I have not seen the boat but it certainly is not like those emerging in
the photo of Padang. I have been assured that I can not imagine how big
it is until I get on board.