Changed minds

On the sixth anniversary of our first flight to Europe B and I visited the Flight Centre Europe Travel Expo at Darling Harbour. We knew what we were looking for: cheap flights to Europe. It wasn’t until the end when we discovered the China and Korean Airlines stands tucked away to one side.

The next day we put down a deposit for flights to Europe with Air China. Korean Air was cheaper, but the deals were only advertised for the October/November period and Air China allowed two weeks for us to make the final decision.

I admit that I don’t really feel like flying with Air China right now. There’s nothing wrong with their flights that I know of, apart from their ancient livery, but the prospect of passing through China again didn’t excite me after our trip there earlier this year. Unlike most other Asian transit airports it is compulsory to pass through immigration in China, which means spending more money on a visa as well as presumably collecting and rechecking in your luggage.

I found some cheap flights with Korean Air. Seoul is a nice place to transit and the Korean National Tourist Office brochures make it sound like there is much more to see beyond our own brief explorations a few years ago.

My dream journey to Europe is to fly Qantas or other premium airline, stopover somewhere nice and easy, then explore France and other parts of Europe. B really wants to visit Eastern Europe, while I dream of wandering through medieval and coastal Brittany in France. Unfortunately, when we did the sums for both time and money and took into account other events in our life we realised that we just couldn’t make it work out. Maybe later in the year. If we are lucky or not.

However, at that point in time we then discovered Jetstar’s latest sales. A week in Malaysia in February. Potential for a very cheap holiday. Maybe even a side trip to Thailand as well. So we booked, not only for ourselves, but also for B’s mother and friend. B is from Malaysia so this will be chance for her to visit and eat!

I would like to catch some trains in Malaysia. The first time we visited we caught the train from Johor Bahru to Butterworth (Penang) via Kuala Lumpur and back to Singapore. I remember passing through jungles and tiny villages with ornate Hindu temples and mosques. The Jungle Train looks especially beautiful.

Anyway, the first stop is the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur (see image below) for shopping and food. Hopefully the hawker stalls are still there so I can have roti canai and milo ais for breakfast. Yum!

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