I completely lost track of time and space on the way here. Cincinnati to LA, LA to Shanghai, Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur.
On the airline website it looked simple enough. A couple of transfers, some airplane food, a bus ride to central KL, and we’d be there.
In reality, 4 dusty, tired, and disoriented travelers stumbled up to meet the owner of the apartment we found on Airbnb.
By American standards, the apartment is very basic. It’s clean, and has wifi, hot water, AC, and cable television. Sounds just fine – and it is – but I think most Americans would turn around when they saw it. Located on a hodgepodge street full of luxury hotels and businesses, I’d bet the building this apartment is in has been here longer than nearly all its neighbors. It’s the kind of concrete block apartment building you see in Jackie Chan movies… jammed with lots of little (~500 square feet for the biggest) apartments. This one has a main area, 2 bedrooms, and a bathroom. It’s basic, but functional. You can hear lots of very detailed sounds coming from the neighbors all around you – but you aren’t really able to directionally locate them. Very much “big city” sounds. Rarely have I been in this close proximity to this many people.
Our choice to relocate from the suburbs of Cincinnati Ohio to downtown Cincinnati seems a good one in retrospect. Though Cincinnati isn’t nearly as dense as KL, the family is accustomed to the sights and sounds of urban life. Here it is just turned up in intensity.
We arrived at ~7am local time after 30 hours of travel. It was daylight when we left Ohio, and it was still daylight when we landed in Shanghai…. only getting dark when we landed in KL (roughly 2am local time). We basically flew west with the sun, so it never set.
Once we got to the apartment, the 2 hour nap we had planned to rejuvenate ourselves turned into 9 hours of dead-to-the-world. We roused ourselves around 4pm to get ready to go find food & a travel adapter only to catch the rain as it started. It’s now 8pm and the rain hasn’t stopped yet. Subsisting on a big bag of homemade trail mix Meredith made (good call, by the way), we’ve given up on today.
I’m good. I’m clean, freshly shaved, and scrounged a cup of coffee. I’m just starting a journey I’ve dreamed about for years, and I’m on it with people I love. Oh, and the delicious smell of garlic cooking is coming from somewhere nearby now.
Hopefully the morning brings some sun.
Tomorrow we try again.
p.s. pictures soon – when I can find an internet connection fast enough.