My solo trip to London and Paris in mid-July was one of many things I wanted to do before my 26th year on Earth was over. I’d wanted to see London for quite some time but never quite had the balls to take the plunge and book the flights.
That was not until one fateful evening, after a couple glasses of red, on the steps of the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre when I took a moment to book the cheap flights that I’d found on OzBargain earlier that month. And that was how my first solo trip came to be.
I was due to fly out of Sydney on the Friday 14th of July at just after 10PM but due to mechanical issues, the flight was delayed for 2-3 hours and then eventually cancelled in the early hours on Saturday. Naturally, there was a lot of anger and uproar amongst the mixed crowd of travellers, some of which started spewing vitriol at the gate staff.
I found this a bit unfair since it is in the best interest of all travellers for Malaysia Airlines to ensure the safety of its passengers. If it was unfit to fly, then really I’d rather wait for another flight than to be sent off to die on a tin can with a couple hundred strangers.
But in saying that, it’s true what they say about Malaysia Air dropping the ball a bit in terms of service. A cabin crew member gave a bit of lip to the passenger in front of me for “making too many requests” and a particular cabin crew member was too busy flirting with one of the passengers to tend to her other patrons. The rest of us ended up learning a great deal about this guy from Battersea who was heading back to London to visit family for the Summer etc. etc.
Oh well. You get what you pay for.
The leg room for all 158cm of me on my flight to Kuala Lumpur.
You can’t tell how dirty the console was because I wiped it down with my brand new pack of baby wipes as soon as I sat down. There was also some questionable brown stains on my tray table, presumably from someone’s in-flight meal from a previous journey.
Revolting? Yes. But again, you get what you pay for. At that point, I thought to myself they’re dropping in ratings for obvious reasons now…
As a result of the cancellation of my original flight, I was placed on another one the following day. This meant that I lost my nominated vegan meal. The only reason I received the VGML meal pictured above was because another passenger decided she didn’t want to eat vegan on my flight and the steward made damned sure I showed gratitude when he turned up at my seat with the tray.
“Miss, next time you need to book. This one is only available because another passenger didn’t want it.”
I can’t remember what’s beneath the tin foil but I’ll assure you it wasn’t a meal to write home about. That mochi dessert above it though, I would’ve happily eaten another 2. Same with that little hommus dish to the upper left.
I had some time to kill at KLIA so I wandered around for 2-3 hours, bought headphone jack adapters for my next leg towards Heathrow upon a certain someone’s recommendation. I lost them on the flight back because I’m an idiot so I ended up buying a new pair on the way back to Sydney.
It took forever to board my second flight over to London Heathrow because my flight was delayed yet again. I’ve never had such bad luck with flights aside from that time Typhoon Haima delayed my flight to Hong Kong by a day and even then you just can’t protest against force majeure.
But 13 hours later, I arrived at London Heathrow where I hastily (and hazily from the sleepless flight) went through customs and bought my SIM from a little vending machine outside. I then followed the signs and boarded the Heathrow Connect upon recommendation of one of the airport staff.
After a few hiccups changing trains for the Tube and I was on my way to meet this little cutie pie at my Hackney Central airbnb.
My airbnb host was away so one of his housemates welcomed me into her home on the Sunday morning. I took a quick shower, sweaty and feeling disgusting after 23 hours of sitting idle behind screaming children and practically bathing in others’ bodily products (vom).
After a brief lunch at the Temple of Hackney for some famous vegan fare, I visited the Columbia Road Flower markets upon my host’s recommendation. I had a grand time snapping photos of all the spectacular floral bouquets along the road and ended the adventure by treating myself to a hand-squeezed lemonade when I was starting to feel the jet lag.
I then walked (in delirium) towards Bethnal Green where I checked out the V&A Museum of Childhood for a long while before heading to the gardens next door to rest my poor little feet. I swear I almost fell asleep on the park benches before I got my first taste of British rainfall.
There were also a number of these little guys scurrying about, rustling through bins for a snack, chasing each other away from food wrappers on the floor. They made for great entertainment before I decided to go home for a solid night’s sleep. My body was a bit confused with how light it was still at 9PM!?
I also got to enjoy a Coke Zero near the station where promoters were giving away free vouchers and little cans of the drink. I was pretty dehydrated at that point so I visited Sainsbury for the first time and bought myself a bottle of water.
I think I walked back to Hackney Central from Bethnal Green… I honestly can’t remember anymore.
My first day abroad was eventful to say the least. What with two delayed Malaysia Airlines flights and 35,000+ steps (as per FitBit) on the first day whilst jetlagged…