Posts Tagged With: the system

Who hasn’t slept with half the world?

Ooo, I need a rant! So this place I’m staying in Penang, really odd…

I’m walking down the street, map in hand, trying to figure out why I can’t find Blue Diamond Hostel (the cheapest in the book!) when I’m stood right by exactly where the dot is on my map, and a guy on a moped stops and asks if I’m looking for a room.I would normally ignore this, but he had an old white man on the back of his bike so he must have been a bit legit…

“Yeah, I’m looking for Blue Diamond Hostel?”

“It doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s that,” he points to where the dot on my map would indicate, “Expensive now, over a hundred Ringgit a night.”

“Oh..”

He sends me to Jim’s Place. He’s Jim.

The people are a bit weird here, like travelled for waaaay too long, dead cynical etc….then there’s this little girl. She shows me the animals at the hotel behind this place (they had lots of terrapins!) and when I get back from my walk around town, she wants to play cards. No worries. Bored of her cheating at Go Fish and having been to see the animals again, and watched her dance, I decided to go upstairs and watch a film. She follows, we end up watching a copied and skipping version of Marley And Me.

After about ten minutes, she sat on my back…then she picks my key up with her toe, no problem, then she won’t give it back to me!!

“It’s MY key, you need to give it back.”

“No, it’s Jim’s key.” She sounded rather smug.

You may think I’m overreacting, but I attach my hotel keys to my suitcase key and thus to everything I have to keep me alive for the next 4 months and a keyring with 2 out of 3 photos I have with me of me and my boyfriend. AND a keyring my sister got me from ChocoStory in Belgium. That was the deal breaker. I was rightfully, I think you’ll agree, getting angry with a little girl.

When I eventually get my key back, after feeling like I’d gone back to working in a school with the tone I was having to use, she starts tugging on my watch!! She wouldn’t let go, thinking it was a joke, I could see the evil in her eyes. The skank.

Her dad, who kept finding fault in “the system” during an earlier conversation, was downstairs (he’d smoked dope earlier in the day…great parenting, right there) and I heard him saying earlier “Do you have kids?” to some guy.
The guy responded with, “Yeah, one French, one Palestinian.” What the hell?!?!?!?!

As if it’s the most natural and normal thing in the world to have slept with half the planet, Isa..something..blah blah’s dad replies with, “I’ve got 3. One Spanish, one (something else) and Is(..blah blah or whatever her name was.) Her mother is indigenous. We were living in the rainforest for sometime.” WHAT?!?!? You were living in the rainforest so long you decided “Hey, let’s get pregnant?!”

Literally mental. Tomorrow I’m finding somewhere else!!

Just needed to vent that!

Please tell me I’m not on my own here, that’s weird, right?…

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Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Well I wasn’t expecting this!

So here I am, typing away in my bedroom, sat on my bare matress getting ready to leave at 12 for take two. On the 2nd of August.

HUH??!!

I know right, I should be sat in a Saudi Arabian airport paying 100000000 Saudi Riyal per minute to type this! Well, things didn’t quite go to plan. If you read the last post, you’ll know that I was pooping my pants a little about my Saudi transit. Thankfully, all the kerfuffle was this side of the check-in desk and I’m all booked to fly EMIRATES (yeah, uh huh, screw you Saudi Arabia Airlines!) through DUBAI (yeah, uh huh, screw you Riyadh!) to Singapore arriving a mere 5 hours after my expected arrival time of the past 6 months.

I’ll start from the beginning….

We arrive at the airport, I head over to the check-in desk, we queue for ages because quite a few people have more bags than there are people in the queue. One woman literally had 4 trolleys worth of huge suitcases. I’m glad I didn’t get on that plane it wouldn’t have made it very high off the ground. Anyway, we’re queueing, making friends with the woman behind me in the queue (who was, I would like to add, bigging up Emirates!)…..eventually, we get to the front of the queue. Man asks to see my passport and ticket. He says:

“Are you aware this is a 21 hour stop?”

I say:

“No, what, really, what, what’s an hour?”

I’m kidding:

“Yes, I’m actually rather good at incredibly simple maths.”

No, seriously, I played innocent:

“Yeah, I’m staying in the airport, it’s a long time, I know. Ha.” Attempting to laugh it off.

He calls his client over, we have the same conversation. She says “You’ll need a visa for being there more than 18 hours,” I tell her I know and that I’ll be staying in the airport and I know it’s a long time in an airport but I’m prepared for that and she says, “Ok, if you’re staying in the airport, it’ll be fine.”

I get called to the check-in desk, no time to say goodbye to my new found friend (who would have been in the airport for 3 hours – someone to talk to!). The man there was not as nice, very grumpy, very grizzly, very I’m-talking-about-you-on-the-phone-and-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you-what-I’m-saying…y. He said I wasn’t allowed to fly without a visa and that I’d need to see what the “airline ticket service” desk could do. Basically he passed the buck. Coward.

So we trot over to the “airline ticket service” desk. I’m feeling pretty angry at this point. Not surprisingly, I think it’s fair to say. The people there were lovely, still refused me but they were much nicer about it than grumpy grizzle guts at check-in. They said there was nothing they could do for me other than advise me to call my travel agent who sold me the ticket. At this point, I’d like to make it clear that I purchased the ticket as one product, therefore, as far as I’m concerned, meaning that the travel agent had deemed it possible for me to make this journey. The “airline ticket service” folk told me that it was an illegal connection and I shouldn’t have been sold the ticket without appropriate visa advice from my travel agent, which I was not given. Fuming, I left the “airline ticket services” desk and burst into tears. Again, not surprisingly, I think it’s fair to say.

Me and my boyfriend went and sat down and hunted for a telephone number for the travel agent. I then made a very angry 15 minute phone call to Shervin or whatever he said his name was. He started arguing with me! Surely if you’re representing your company, regardless of someone being rather annoyed with you at the other end, you keep as calm as possible, you can’t argue back!! Apparently “the system” is to blame for the whole thing because “the system” is responsible for making this a possible flight combination. Ridiculous.

My favourite line from the phone call was:

Shervmin: “How do you expect “the system” to tell you if you need a visa?”

Being quite taken aback by this and not feeling the need to reply with a rant about how computers and “systems” were controlling the entire airport I was sat in and were controlling the plane I should have been heading for I opted for:

“How do I expect a computer to tell me something?! Because we’re living in 2011, my friend!”

What an idiot Charmin was. No use. “non-refundable” and “non-changable” and “system” were clearly embedded into his little mind, and the fact that his company could make a mistake was beyond belief. “The system” avoids mistakes for them, of course!

After finding out from the Malaysian Airlines lady that the only ticket they could offer me via Kuala Lumpur to Singapore was over a grand, we headed over to arrivals to use the overpriced and underpowered internet. And that’s when we found my new flight. Luckily.

One thing our friend Shervmir had suggested (I say one thing, really the only thing, he was absolutely useless) was to ask the airline for a partial refund. So once we were all sorted I suddenly remembered his little bit of advice and we trotted over to ask at “airline ticket services”. The same nice woman was there, and she remembered me. She said she’d need to ask her manager – who was the first woman who had said it’d be ok. She ok-ed me flying and said they could fax something over!!!!

What a joke! That really was the cherry the icing, on top of the cherry, on top of a huge, dirty cake of bad luck.

What I learnt from yesterday:

  • Be prepared for the rest of the trip re: visas, onward travel info etc
  • Boss knows best – don’t listen to the people at grassroots level, if you want something ask for the big boss, worth a shot
  • Saudi Arabia sounds pretty dull, or so according to my new found and never to be found again friend behind me in the queue
  • DON’T USE TRAVELPACK
  • “The system” can be blamed for anything
Categories: Hometown, South East Asia | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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