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  • Writer's pictureHannah

Stranded in Penang- Part 2

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Copenhagen airport had an appealing climbing frame in the shape of an aeroplane flying through clouds, so Emily was chuffed to arrive there. I was full of joy at the near reunion with Mike and Gideon and anticipation for the journey ahead, with the last- minute booked flight to Kuala Lumpur, changing at Doha. At check-in we were refused on to the flight much to my dismay, due to the fact we hadn't an onward flight booked out of Kuala Lumpur. So Emily and three smarmy Qatar supervisors (not all at once, just two of them gave up on me first and to be fair only the third was actually smarmy), had the pleasure of observing a futile, emotionally fuelled negotiation effort on my part, flying in the face of logic and policies. But no, even though there was a current global crisis/rising epidemic, even though scrutiny of my passport would reveal legitimate documents relating to our employment status in China, even though our family had been split in half for the indefinite future, would not sway the supervisor from his worry that; 'Qatar airways would have to pay a little fine if we flew into Malaysia without an exit date'. So, suppressing my desire to punch the supervisor and trying not to swear in front of my 4 year old, I admitted defeat and thankful that we had got to the airport with time to spare, I frantically began looking for flights from Kuala Lumpur- Shanghai and tried to call Mike a few times too many in vain, in the middle of the night to check his plan for onward flying. Emily chose this time to play one of her games which involves repeatedly popping her face right in front of mine, retreating, and then repeating the scenario over and over, sometimes shouting 'boo' or words to that effect. This game is not a happy combination with frantic internet searches.

Thankfully we could book tickets with the option of cancellation and second time around they let us through to departures. We were still en route, on planned trajectory for Kuala Lumpur! We duly flew and disembarked at Doha to transfer ( I'm still not sure which country Doha belongs to). Emily, as is her typical pattern, fell into deep sleep about half an hour before landing, thank you to Doha airport for providing pushchairs, this little touch is a pure joy for a single travelling parent with multiple hand luggage bags and a not-so-small, child; up until a point. Emily stayed in blissful slumber for the whole transfer, right up until it was time to board our onward flight. I customarily queued with my boarding pass, poised with pushchair and child, ready to cross the 5 meter distance between the airport lounge and the bus to take us to the plane. 'Sorry ma'am, you can not take the pushchair out of the lounge' came the scathing words from the passport checker. After calm, collected conversations with three different staff members again, going along the lines of my BMI not really that of a bodybuilder, how can they expect me to manage to carry double my body weight, perhaps the bus driver could cross the 5 meter distance to pop the pushchair back when he comes to collect the next passengers, as much as I admire the wheels I had no intention to steal it and flog it in SE Asia; staff member no. three was not persuaded; 'SORRY MA'AM UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST THE PUSHCHAIR EVER LEAVE THE AIRPORT LOUNGE'. Another passenger overheard our plight and offered to help carry some bags. Random act of kindness win again!

A few hours later, (thank you Qatar airways for the whiskey sour) we arrived in Kuala Lumpur...

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