I should never have had the salad.
This afternoon I had a meeting in a shared workspace above a nearly empty shopping mall. It felt like a companion piece to Terminal 4 at Changi; both desolate places, devoid of human life. The meeting went well though, and afterwards I paused for a meal with a colleague.
Trying to be healthy, and with hours to go before my flight, I ordered a Mexican salad (that’s a salad, with avocado in it, apparently) and when it was about 6:30, requested a car through Grab back to KL Sentral, to get the train to the airport.
I like the train, it’s efficient and unaffected by traffic. I hadn’t realised that when my Grab car said it would arrive in 10 minutes, it would take 20, nor that congestion would be so bad that my 20 minute journey to the station would take closer to 45.
Disembarkong from the car, I sprinted through the station and got the 7:30 train with 4 minutes to spare. The train takes 33 minutes to KLIA2, and my flight departed at 9:15.
Fortunately I had checked in online yesterday, so that wasn’t an issue, but getting past stationary people on escalators was. I reached a long line for security; a tall man in uniform gestured for me to come out of the line, inspected my passport and sent me on.
To a line of people being checked, with about 40 people in front of me.
8:15, 40 minutes to go.
It took twenty minutes to get through customs. Then I had to get my bag x rayed. Then I ran down a long corridor, looking for my gate. Because I checked in yesterday, there was no gate assigned to my ticket, and there are no signs until you run half the length of the terminal telling you which flight departs from which gate.
8:45, I found my gate. Cocky, I paused to photograph the carpet and buy a sandwich, before realising I still had a long way to run, and a second x-ray stop, where the lines moved like treacle and my all-plastic watch set off the alarm.
Then a final race against time, the gate closing at 8:55. Had I snatched defeat (and a sandwich) from the jaws of victory?
Thankfully, tardiness meant the boarding was delayed, so I was five minutes early, and could sweat calmly in an uncomfortable chair before boarding the plane. But I’m never risking that headlong charge across Malaysia again. No more salad for me.