Our 'break' in Kota Kinabalu with Daniel was great. We didn't do a whole lot - he was very tired and needed lots of sleep at first; he also wanted a chance to read, to browse the Internet at a coffee shop, and just to hang out and chat. We enjoyed eating out at various places around the town, had one day trip out to an island, and a morning when Dan and Richard were able to rent a small boat and go sailing for a couple of hours. But we didn't climb Mount Kinabalu, we didn't visit any museums or other culture/history places, and we didn't visit the rainforest or wetlands.
Boring...? No. We went there to see Daniel and spend time with him, and that's what we did. We all relaxed, and enjoyed having the hotel as our base.
We took him back to the ship on Wednesday night, as he was working the early shift (8am-3pm) on Thursday, and we had to be at the airport by 9am. KK airport is very small and informal, but the flight was reasonably comfortable and Kuala Lumpur airport, our first destination, is an excellent place - well laid-out, plenty of shops and restaurants, with sufficient comfortable seating and efficient baggage handling. We had a twelve-hour stopover there, so since we had visas for Malaysia anyway, we took the express train into the city for a few hours.
Our next flight left KL at 1am, arriving in Dubai at 4am. It was a seven-hour flight, since there's a four-hour time difference, and none of us is good at sleeping on aeroplanes. I did manage a couple of hours of dozing, but since we were given a 'snack' at about 2am (KL time), and then breakfast at about 2am (Dubai time) it was impossible to get more. I read some of the time, and watched a film since Emirates have excellent in-seat entertainment, with hundreds of films to choose from. I chose Northanger Abbey, which was OK.. I knew the story well so didn't have to concentrate too much!
Then we had four-and-a-half hours in Dubai airport early this morning, leaving on the last stage of our journey at 8.35am. We arrived in Larnaka at the expected time, 11.15am (with another hour of time difference along the way) and were home by noon. The cats were all looking healthy and sleek, and were very pleased to see us; our friend (who stayed in our house for the whole seven weeks) has looked after them well.
We're very, very tired. I rested for a couple of hours this afternoon but didn't really sleep. We did a bit of supermarket shopping but it was rather random. I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but at least we have plenty of fruit and veg now.
Tomorrow I hope to sort out all the photographs taken in the last month (several hundred of them) and post a few on this blog.
When we were waiting for our luggage in Larnaka airport this morning, I was amused to note a new snack bar right by the baggage carousels, next to some some seats under parasols. It seemed to me to typify the relaxed attitude of this country.
Other airports manage their baggage reclaim rapidly and efficiently; in Cyprus it comes much more slowly, and it's not unusual for something to get lost (though thankfully none of ours was lost today. )
Moreover, most people tend to be in a rush at airports, hurrying to the carousels, pushing their way forward, looking at their watches, impatient for whatever they're going to do next. It was easy to feel frustrated as we waited at Larnaka airport for about twenty minutes before the first of our bags came through. In Hong Kong, a much larger airport, all our luggage appeared within ten minutes of our arrival at the carousel, and in Kuala Lumpur it was about five minutes.
But why rush? The Cypriot attitude to time is much more casual, and probably far healthier. The baggage will arrive eventually... and in the meantime, they might as well sit and drink coffee, chatting with friends, relaxing after a flight.. and probably laughing at the people who are in such a hurry to get through their lives as fast as they can.