Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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10
Dec 03
Wed

The Runs

The flight up was relatively uneventful. There must have been an entire French army platoon on board – a whole horde of head shaven, buff guys with matching khaki backpacks scattered through most of economy class. Luckily, I wasn’t seated amongst them. Surprisingly, very few Aussies and Asians were on board. Most were Europeans on their way through to Frankfurt, or transferring back to Paris or London via Singapore.

I was seated next to two Sydneysiders, both also coincidentally travelling alone, who helped pass the time with conversation. Katie was a 17 year old PLC Pymble student on her way to Germany for seven weeks. Extremely chatty and somewhat jaded about the whole HSC deal which she will go through next year. She had no idea what she wanted to study in uni, which is not unusual at all. However, she’s studying Italian and German for the HSC, so something makes me think she’ll end up studying Arts. Pretty typical North Shore girl too, whose idea of being rich is (only) if you own a yacht. Nick was a Westie who finished high school at Hurlstone Ag in 2000 and is studying Biomolecular Chemistry (or something that sounds similarly impressive) at Sydney U. He was surprised I knew where Hurlstone was, and sniggered when I told him I was from Camden (even further West than him!) and sniggered even more when I told him where I went to high school. “If you lived that far away, why didn’t you board? … Ohhh, that’s right, the boarders don’t have a good reputation, do they?” He was on his way to Malaysia and Thailand for about a month, with an itinerary very similar to mine.

We were served by a steward (flight attendant?) improbably named Craig David. There must have been a lot of Europeans on board, because Craig expressed surprise and relief when he asked if Katie was from Australia. “Phew, I don’t have to keep talking so damn slow! Would you like the beef or the chicken?”

Turning to me, he asked if I was from Singapore, and expressed even more surprise when I told him otherwise. I could pretty much tell that Nick and Katie were Australians as soon as they spoke a single word of “thanks” (the “th” dipthong in the word is normally lazily contracted to “f” by Asians, and Europeans say the word with a skewed inflection). I find that accents are the easiest way – and a reasonably reliable way too – to tell where a person originates from. Mixed accents indicate a person was born in one place and grew up in another.

Anyhow, after a five hour bus trip, I’m finally in KL enjoying the hospitality of the Kepa. I’m not just relaxing after lunch (A$0.80 for a plate of mee goreng!), where the chilli is slowly burning a hole in my gut. Apparently I finally get to meet photographer extraordinaire Eadwine, and his girlfriend Ee Laine tonight. (What is it with Asians and spelling names differently?)