The Flight to Malaysia (Part III – Lost & Found)
(continued from “The (Missed) Flight to Malaysia (Part II)“)
At this point in our journey we were just completely depleted and devastated when we made it to baggage claim and could not find our bags. Given that we had missed our flight from Singapore, it was not a surprise that the bags did not catch up with us (especially after the additional plane/gate change). Nonetheless, it was a low moment being in a foreign country, exhausted, without our stuff and not knowing if we still had a friendly face waiting on us or if we had to fend for ourselves to find the hotel.
So, across language and culture barriers, we filed a lost luggage report with the offices in the airport, but we weren’t sure who was responsible. Remember, we started on Delta, changed to Singapore Air, was slated to finish with Malaysia Air but actually took the final leg on Silk Air. So who had our bags?!? For good measure, we made sure multiple offices had our info and knew about our bags. Finally, around 11:15 (3 1/2 hours after our schedule arrival), we made our way out of the terminal to find a cab and begin the search for our hotel, when we heard “McNair!”
Our driver had waited! Slash, didn’t get the message…yikes! Double yikes, because our “driver” turned out to be Mr. Walt Morris, the Head of School and Jenny’s boss! “Oh my gosh, Mr. Morris it’s so nice to see you and hear English but we hope our messages made it to you somehow and you didn’t have to wait too long.” Humbly in a Canadian accent he replied “Oh, you know, I was here a-boot 7:30 or so but no worries. I like to be here when our new folks arrive.” So we were off to a great start with Jenny’s employer!
Mr. Walt was great. He dropped us off at our hotel (about 45 minutes or so from airport), got us set up with some local currency and tips on getting around. After copious amounts of sleep, our first priority was shopping. Ask Jenny about why carry-on bags are good for packing an emergency change of clothes : ) I wasn’t much better having changed into my only back up outfit halfway through our flights. Thankfully I had some fresh running shorts and T-shirts. But just in case, the next day we ventured off to a local mall to find some clothes because poor Jenny was working on day 3-4 on the same outfit!
Travel Tip: Always, always, always pack a couple extra outfits in your carry-on luggage, especially the further away you travel. We re-learned a basic rule the hard way.
But it led us to an interesting experience – Malaysian Malls. It’s so hot here they love the malls because of the Air-Con. People take advantage of being indoors and cool, though there’s not a lot of buying going on. I don’t know how the shops stay open but we were glad they were and we say many interesting new things. We saw sports events, music shows, different mannequins, and all of the food shops that would make you “proud” to be an American (e.g. KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, TGIF’s, and of course the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Starbucks — but no Chick-Fil-A!!!!)
Actually it’s a little embarrassing to see the golden arches and little green Seattle coffee logo everywhere you go. Plus, I cannot get over how much they LOVE KFC here. Anyway, good news was, we could a lot of familiar items including a change of clothes or two.
We ended up visiting two malls that first weekend, because on our first visit we only purchased 1-2 items thinking our clothes would be there any minute. After one, two and finally three days of no luggage we went back again for more substantial shopping. After all Jenny had to work the next day and she wouldn’t make too many new friends wearing the same outfit from the 30-hour flight. Finally, about 72 hours after made it to our hotel, our bags made it, too…and just in time for the first day of school.
It was quite an ordeal finding our bags. Thanks to help from Mr. Dennis (he’s great at yelling at people while pretending to be you) and Ms. Martha (who’s tenacity knows no equal, especially when fighting customer-no-service) on making numerous calls to the US offices of multiple airlines, they finally arrived. But we learned that they were not delayed because of our missed flight. In fact, apparently at least one was still in Atlanta, and others in Houston after we already arrived in KL. We couldn’t seem to get a straight answer on where they were and when they might arrive as no one wanted to claim responsibility. There was definitely no urgency on the part of the airlines or our hotel (read more here on “Malay Time”). Needless to say, it was happy moment when our stuff arrived!