Sunday, April 17, 2011

[L.E.P.A.K series: London] Chapter 1: Getting There

And so it finally happened! From it's almost done to do, done, did! Cik Anai and I have flown and conquered London, Edinburgh, Paris and Amsterdam (L.E.P.A.+K), all within a week. Craazzzy schedule, dead tired but very very worth every penny.

The entire thing started out way back in May last year. Yup. 10 months ago, when we bought our flight + hotel from AirAsiaGo. A little trip advice for ya all out there.

Hiyashibeeps L.E.P.A.K Travel Tips No.1: Flight and accommodation purchased from AAG is pretty much fixed aka not flexible aka no change of dates. Unless the change is from their end, otherwise your trip is pretty much 'do or die' or in this case 'do or burn'. So yes, it's cheap and I still say go all out and grab any awesome deals on AAG but be reminded that your flight purchase is fixed on the days you choose unless you forfeit them. Boo.

We came across this problem because we thought of extending our travels afterwards and found out the only way to do that is to buy another ticket back home. Woot?!? :( Being budget travellers, we decided to make do with what we have and thus the crazy schedule.

Ahhh! This is gonna be a loooong post. Proceed with the interest to read.

So after all the excitement, this was our first shot of the entire trip. HAHAHA. Cik Anai made a boo boo while she was in the loo in the airport. The hose went berserk and attacked her. Kesian. This woman got waaaaay too excited already I tell you. 4.00am sudah pun bangun. Our flight was scheduled for 9.30am.

Me at the waiting lounge, receiving my 'enlightenment'. See those glowing lights coming out from my head? HAHAHA!

Finally on board! See that leg space.

Okay lah I admit I sat really really straight to take this picture but Cik Anai was in a pretty relax pose and that's the little space she has. Not too bad in my opinion. We've been hearing lots of 'stories' about AirAsia X and how uncomfortable the seatings were that it got us all worried. For nothing! Yeah it wasn't spacious and luxurious but so is any other normal airlines out there. I've sat Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and oh god! China Airline and I think AirAsia X pawns the last one. Yeah luggage cost, food cost but show me another airline that gets you to the other side of the world for under 2k and I... I... *am so not good at threatening people at all*

Anyway, back to our journey. :P

See who we brought along! Hahaha... see how dedicated we are boss. We carried a piece of Ken Ray with us anywhere. Too much I tell you! Too much!!

Nasi Lemak. Yum! We pre-booked our meals for our journey to London. We figured RM20 is reasonable for two meals on board and to prevent us from feeling hungry and cold when we reach London. Not to mention, it's gonna be our last 'rice' meal for the week.

Cik Anai became an in-flight paparazzi and took passangers in umm... compromising positions. LOL. Seriously. Dude went right to bed after take-off. Cik Anai had to wait until everyone else began dozing off before she took the picture. Sorry dude.

3 hours later and this was the view from the window.


This picture does not do justice to what we saw with our own eyes. It was beautiful. Endless slopes covered with snow. Mr Man from the middle row stood up and asked us if it's the Himalayas. All we can offer was a very unconvincing "I think so."

And to prove how freezing cold it must be outside, the earlier water drops
had turned into ice.

And just like that, the landscape turned into a desert with lots of sand dunes. Again another breathtaking scene to behold. Luckily Mr Man did not come around this time and ask us if it was the Sahara. ^^;;

One more shot of the desert.

After that we tried to have some shut eye. 3 hours before landing, our second meal was served. Nasi Briyani. Cik Anai did not fancy the rich coconut of the curry but it was alright with me. I liked it better than the nasi lemak's curry which Cik Anai thought was good. Each to their own.

Are we there yet?

Is that Paris? :P

Finally! We're descending. We arrived Stansted Airport as scheduled even though we were late for take-off earlier. It was bright and sunny at 3.30pm but we had our jackets ready for the cold. Immigration was strict and time-consuming. We were worried we wouldn't make it for our bus out to London.

Hiyashibeeps L.E.P.A.K Travel Tips No.2:
Grab your cheap ride out to London with EasyBus ( with fare as low as £2. You choose your time of travel but your ticket is also valid for rides one hour before and after your designated time slot in case of delays and what not. That however depends on seat availability since priority will be given to ticket holders of the exact time slot. ;)

We booked ourselves the 5.00pm ride, hoping a one-and-a-half hour allowance was enough for immigration. So we got pretty agitated when the queue was moving oh soooo slowly. When it finally reached our turn, we somehow impressed the immigration officer with our crazy well-organised plan... hahaha... and was breezing our way through the gates.

Then we rode a very strange lift down to the umm... -1 floor and
search for our bus stop.

At 4.45pm the bus arrived. A very very small bus which arguably should be called a van. :P The bus that came however, was not the 5.00pm bus was actually the 4.40pm bus. There was this other Malaysian family that was scheduled for the 5.00pm ride and the mom kept telling the family "this is not our bus". Cik Anai and I, being two young shameless gals that we are, went up to the driver and asked if we could ride on this bus.

Me: Excuse me, we're actually scheduled for the 5.00pm bus.
*shows Mr Cool Driver the ticket*
but we're wondering if we can...

Mr Cool Driver: *in a serious unmoving tone* Hop on.

Me: *blinks* Umm... thanks! *turns to Cik Anai* Let's go, let's go.


That's Mr Cool Driver and the people on the left was the Malaysian family who stayed and waited for the next bus. Sorry guys. That's the advantage of being two gals with only two luggage as opposed to a family with lots and lots of luggage. We're easier to be accommodated. LOL.

When we got on the bus, Mr Cool Driver told everyone to put on their seat belts. O_O Hahaha... and boy do they take safety seriously...

Even Mr Cool Driver's bag wears its seat belt. LOL.

The sun was beginning to set as we arrived into the city. It was also after-work hours and the traffic was crazy. And here comes travel tip no.3.

Hiyashibeeps L.E.P.A.K Travel Tips No.3:
Pedestrians rule the roads of London. Yes. There's traffic lights to guide you but vehicles generally stop for people to cross regardless of what the traffic light says. Cik Anai commented that that's probably one of the cause of the jam. Cars just kept on stopping for people. Hahaha. Also words like 'Look Left' are well-painted on the road to tell you which way to look but us being 'unguided kiasi Malaysians' that we are, can't stop our well-instilled 'Look Left-Look Right-Then Left Again' mentality but yeah, pedestrians rule!

We finally reached Baker Street at 6.30pm, dragged our luggage to the tube station and catch the tube to Lambeth North, the station right across the road from our hotel.

Gosh is this post long or what. I'll leave the rest of the night to another post. Till then here's a video of our tiny miny room at Tune Hotel Westminster.

Cik Anai was quite surprised by the size of it. Hahaha. It was okay for me since it's basically the same as the tiny rooms I had in Japan. That's what they call semi-budget travelling. At least you have a room and bath to your own. :D

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