One of the things that concerned me about traveling to Malaysia was the amount of time I would actually spend in the air. A daunting 14 hours to Taipei and then another 5 hours to Kuala Lumpur; not for the claustrophobic or (fear of flying people). Or recovering pulmonary embolism patients like myself. I get up about every hour just to walk around and keep the juices flowing. It’s 8am Arizona time (11pm Malaysia time) and I should go to sleep so that jet lag doesn’t kick my arse (like it does almost every time I travel)…however, technically I’m going WEST…so…maybe I’ll be OK.
Malaysia airlines is the friendliest airline I’ve ever used (almost as friendly as Thai Airways, but more on that later). Even with the voodoo that goes on behind the counter. How in the world do airlines still function using such arcane systems? I was watching the keystrokes these attendants were using and it was indeed voodoo. They even had to ask each other for keystroke combinations to give a screen that, when looked at by a normal human being, makes about as much sense as attempts at Unification Equation. For $700 they upgraded me to Business Class. Cool. I wasn’t so lucky on the way back. $3000 was the upgrade fare, except I only paid $1800 for the original roundtrip airfare. I couldn’t see justifying twice the fare for an upgrade. In Business Class I was very impressed. Yeah, most flight attendants in Business Class are very accommodating but these attendants are over the top! They didn’t just point me to my seat, they ESCORTED me to my seat. Probably would have read me the newspaper, too, had I requested it—REALLY.
The beautiful travel started when at the check-in I did a stupid thing: I left my Zune30 (complete with accessory bag, charger, cable, etc) at the counter. I’m sitting on the plane ready to consume my complimentary beverage and snack when the gate agent approaches me and says, "Mr Taylor–I believe this belongs to you."
1) How did he remember that?
2) Very honest
Everything was there, too. I will definitely fly Malaysia Airlines again!
I would never have thought that a hotel could ever be TOO hospitable. The Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur comes VERY close. They are WAY over the top with kindness and amenities. I was so impressed with the breakfast that I think I had to try everything. I’ve been to Europe many times and thought that the US could totally learn something about a buffet from our European brothers and sisters; well–it’s our Asian brothers and sisters that know how to do it. HOLY MACKEREL! the service was IMPECCABLE. They don’t even let you push the buttons on the elevator! Seriously!
The view from my room was absolutely marvelous!
TechEd Southeast Asia is a smaller conference than its TechEd brethren EMEA or US. About half the size of EMEA at 2000 delegates, the conference packs more punch because of the caliber of the presenters and the technical content in less days. The staff are very hospitable and see to make life for the presenters as smooth as possible. One thing TechEd SEA does that I haven’t see in the other conferences is personalize the speaker shirt. The design is also much more hip than I’ve seen in any of the other conferences.
THE TRIP TO THAILAND
After the conference was over I took a trip to Thailand which was about a two hour plane ride. Not bad. I rode on Thai Airways and was SUPER impressed with the service. I stayed one night in Bangkok before heading up to lesser known Khon Kaen. The Queen of Thailand made the place a center for education and it showed as there seemed to be a university on every city block. My guide took me to a mall where we ate at a place called MK, which (I guess) is like a fast food joint except that the food isn’t your typical fast food fare. You order from a menu and then they bring the veggies to you to cook on your table where there is a big pot of boiling water. You throw your noodles in there as well. The only thing cooked in the kitchen is the meat you might have ordered. Very interesting indeed. I stayed at the Sofitel Hotel which was fantastic. I managed to catch an earlier flight out and landed in Bangkok in time to make an earlier flight back to Kuala Lumpur but it didn’t help….
THE MISSED CONNECTION
I was *supposed* to go to Manila, Philippines afterward but the time to go through customs and reboard on a different airline in a different terminal wasn’t happening for me. I ended up staying another night in Thailand.
My sessions were ‘OK’. The demos were being run from a S-L-O-W external drive and I was having trouble showing everything for FBA (Forms-based Authentication). I forgot a step and it blew up at the end….I hate when that happens! My interactive session was ranked #4 in its class of sessions.
My next conference is the SharePoint Best Practices Conference in Washington DC. Then in October I will be in Iceland for the Dive Deeper Technical Conference.