KLIA – Dream Away Airport

AirportI had thought about the possibility before, but I never had the courage to actually do it. Or maybe I did not yet found the right airport.

When I arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport it is already 20:00 a clock in the evening. Before my trip, I failed to book a room in a hostel or hotel. Determined to save some money, and to step out of my comfort zone, I decide to stay at the airport for one night. However I have no knowledge of this airport. It is my first time visit to Malaysia. I have also no knowledge of the language, the people, or the city of Kuala Lumpur. This is another reason why I decide to stay at the airport at my first night. I want to get to know this country slowly, step by step. Exploring the airport is my first step.

I have always liked airports. In the past I used to spend most of my working days at Schiphol airport. It is nice being around people from all over the world. A safe environment where nobody looks at you in a strange way, if you hang around. Just another passenger waiting for a flight.

Walking around airports at night also makes me think hat nobody cares if you just set up camp, spread out and take a nap. For me however this is a new challenge in stepping out of my comfort zone. For some reason I  feel slightly embarrassed with crashing out at the benches. A bit as feeling like a bum. Then there is also a safety issue, which always kept me from doing it. I have never been keen on losing control, and taking my eyes of my luggage. However I always see so many people crashing out on airports that I start to feel I worry to much. All these people are doing it, why not me. Time to overcome my fear and just do it.

Walking around Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I quickly start to realize that this might be the perfect place for my little experience. Unlike Schiphol, this place is a  much more comfortable location for travelers who want to take a nap. The benches have no annoying armrests. This is great because because you can sleep in a horizontal position. What makes it even better is that the benches are faced to the outside windows of the airport. Then you are not in direct sight, so you can actually have some privacy.

I look around, and sneak over to a bench. Uncomfortable fears try to nest into my head. My brain detects what I am about to do and starts to rationalize me away from the idea. What if someone steels your shoe’s? that would be a really annoying problem. What if someone manages to steal your valuable belongings?  What if you are dragged out of the airport by the guards?

Luckily I am tired and it makes me overrule my thoughts. I put my bag under my head. Bag up my shoes, and hug them like a teddy beer,while I stretch out on the bench. I manage to take a nap for two hours. Not a record breaking one but I feel like a hero. I did it, and I passed some time. Outside daylight is awaking. I survived the first night  at an airport,  in a far away country. Next step, surviving my first day in Kuala Lumpur city.

Your experience

 Have you ever slept at an airport before? If so which one? Do you have any advice for sleeping at airports? Share your interesting responses in the comments section below. 

Khao San Diaries: Trouble at The Club

Khao San Road - The ClubShe stares at met with mad eyes. The fact that she is wearing red contact lenses makes it even worse. The girl is dressed up like some vampire, and she is probably going to rip my throat off. I look around. On normal nights this place already looks like crazy town, but now I really ended up in Harry Potter land. Witches, zombies and Dracula’s stroll the streets, celebrating and drinking lots of alcohol.

Being the smart capitalists that they are, the owners of The Club have taken the opportunity to get some extra money out of this monster fest. It is a busy Halloween night, so they decided to charge an entrance fee. Not a bad idea if you want to make extra money, and prevent the dance floor from becoming over stacked with drunk zombies.

I want to pay to get in but somehow fail miserably. Almost immediately we start a discussion about how much money I payed. While arguing with vampire girl, I am once again reminded why I don’t really like these kind of places. Especially not on crowded Halloween nights, when the staff is even more annoyed then usual.

The entrance money is not really the problem. The problem is that most of the times, I am either pushed inside by someone with an annoyed face, when I pay, or pushed outside by someone with an angry faced, if I try something funny. Trying something funny in their eyes could be anything from asking where the toilets are, to wanting some customer service when there is a problem. Going into discussion about the big why is not always appreciated. Partly understandable at busy and chaotic moments. I should just avoid these places at those nights.

It often looks like the club and bar staff seem to think the same. Please do not show your face her you annoying, large amounts of money paying customer. It seems to be in the blood of people that deal with large crowds of drunk (tourists) every night. I am wasting their time for every second that I am not paying but complaining. ‘Customer service, yeah sure but we have customers now, please come back another time’. A lot of people except this attitude and keep showing up. Reason for the staff to keep acting like that. At the same time they shove someone outside, they shove a lot more people inside. Conclusion: they don’t need you. Especially if you are being difficult.

I am also guilty for this coming back behavior. Of course, at certain moments, I am also drawn to the dark sides of live. Then I want to go out to shady dance clubs, and do my part of irresponsible drinking and dancing. But I always end up thinking the same thing when I arrive. it is hard to find some friendliness in a club. I have also experienced this problem in the Netherlands, with these giant meatball bouncers. When I want to enter a club, they look at me as if I just stole their kids lunch money. What a way to make someone feel welcome.

Going into discussion with the Thai staff om Khao San Road always makes me feel unpleasant. When something is wrong there seems to be no reason for discussion. No matter if I am are right or not. They usually get really angry. Vampire girl is a good example. After exchanging some yes and no’s back and forth I start see her getting more furious by the second, and I get a hopeless feeling. Defending my point any longer and she will probably go Muay Thai on me, followed by her colleagues and random Thai, who want their piece of the disrespectful Farang.

Not much for me to do then excepting my defeat. I lower my head and give up. The guard behind me recognizes my body langue and shoves me, how lucky for me, into the direction of the entrance to hell. Another security guard grabs my arm, and stamps me with the mark of the devil. I stare at the black entrance allowed stamp, feeling frustrated. Once again I belong to The Club. I feel slightly embarrassed, thinking of  all those previous moments when I cursed this place. I wish I was a real witch. That would certainly improve the cursing part. Now they win again, because I decided to show up once more. Again I am drained from my money with an unpleasant feeling, and I haven’t even seen the Halloween beer prices yet.

Your experience

Did you ever been to Khao San road or The Club? Tell us about your experience. Do you have stories about other bars and clubs, where you experienced bad or really good customer services? Leave your interesting responses in the comments section below.