South East Asia Day 1

9 Sep

South East Asia Day 1, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

This is the inside of an Airbus A321. I’m going to have to get used to this sort of view for this trip.

This blog started as a record of my round the world bike trip. When I decided I wanted to do more bike travel (a lot more), the blog was redefined to be a blog about bike travel. I will be doing more bike travel, but this particular trip won’t be on two wheels. Not with an engine attached, at least. South east Asia appeals as a travel destination but not as a biking target, so for this venture I’m doing the backpacking thing. I’m still going to use this blog, which will now be redefined as a record of my attempts to see as much of the world as possible.

Travel without the bike means lots of public transport. When you travel by bike, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, but you’re always the one in control. It’s always just up to you to make things work. When you want to move on, you suit up and ride. Backpacking means lots of waiting around, queueing, more waiting, and everything is in other people’s hands. A double booking, a late departure, a cancelled flight, a careless baggage handler, there are lots of ways for things to go wrong. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling trepidation and apprehension, where normally I’d have an ear to ear grin at the thought of weeks of travelling. I’d prefer to be in control. On my bike, not only do I have plenty of leg room, a great view, no hassle finding space for my luggage, and no screaming children nearby, but also no need to wait when I’m ready to go, and no need to transfer to a bus to do the last couple of miles.

At least the flight from Newcastle to London with British Airways is considerable more refined than the hell that was the EasyJet flight I used to do twice a week to go to work, mostly because BA has allocated seating unlike the idiotic EasyJet free for all. There’s also a complimentary glass of Tempranillo, which is satisfying and relaxing enough for that ear to ear grin to reappear, even though the next day and a half will be more airports, busses, queues, stupid airport security, cramped seating, one very long flight to Kuala Lumpur and a short one to Saigon.

I’m not expecting to have any interesting stories or scenic photos for a while. I’m just hoping that Air Malaysia’s economy class also features a complimentary red wine…

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