When I was growing up, taking an airplane was a big deal. I remember boarding an aeroplane for the first time when I was 12. My family and I were so excited: I had never been to an airport before and didn’t know what to expect. Nowadays, of course, flying the world is almost a blase experience for most people. We all have flown or know someone who has flown somewhere at some time.
The first time I went anywhere by plane was to Malaysia. I had been holidaying in Malaysia with family for ages, often travelling by bus or car, but never by plane. This time, we were going to Kuala Lumpur and Genting Highlands, which were too far for us to drive in comfort with three kids between 7-12 years of age sitting at the back of a non-airconditioned car, going ‘Are we there yet?’
I still remember what I wore to board the plane. Mum had bought me a pair of brown shorts from John Littlewood – very smart, short, and new. The last adjective is important as I wanted to look my best on my maiden flight. I teamed it with a white top, and was ready to go.
Of course we did not have connecting walkways at that time, so we took a connecting bus from the airport terminal to the airplane itself. Then, it was up the steps to look for our seats. I was so excited to see plush seats and could not wait to bag a window seat so that I could watch the world go past as the plane took off. Meanwhile, I was also swivelling around at the rate of knots looking at all those sophisticated air hostesses in their beautiful sarong kebaya: it was hot and humid outside, but none of the air hostesses had a hair out of place and all looked so cool and collected . . . and ever so pretty! I wanted to grow up to become an air hostess there and then.
Alas! I never grew tall enough to even become eligible to apply for a job as an air hostess. Instead, I studied for my three degrees at university, worked at a variety of posts, and am now proprietor of a bed and breakfast guest house in Bowness on Windermere. But more of my maiden flight below.
I found that I was prone to air sickness as soon as the plane started to move. How could this be? I had so much been looking forward to flying, and now I was feeling queasy. I have never been a good traveller, and normally travelled with the windows wound right down when in a car, with hair flying in my face as Dad drove along. Encapsulated in the body of a plane, with no means to a brisk (warm) breeze to blow into my face in order to disperse the cobwebs of impending sickness, all I could do was to turn the air vent on at full blast. It helped a little, but left me feeling chilled to the bone, with only my short shorts and thin T-shirt for scant protection.
Well, I cannot say who was more relieved when we finally touched down in Kuala Lumpur – me or Mum, who had sat beside me and was always in imminent danger of being showered by the detritus of my misbehaving stomach. I remember lurching out of the plane and enjoying the feel of good old terra firma again. Now, all I had to worry about was getting home after our holiday.
I really enjoyed visiting Genting Highlands. We met up with some friends and went bowling, which was an experience for me. I was a real lightweight at the age of 12, being all skin and bone, and the bowling ball was very heavy and big for my hand; I had never bowled before and thought that my feet would go under me and take me along with the ball down the alleyway.
The best thing I remember about this visit to Malaysia was the vista of Genting Highlands covered in early morning clouds and mist. Growing up in Singapore, where it is so hot everywhere, the coolness of the Highlands was a revelation indeed. The clouds and mist swirled about us as we drove up the winding road in a rickety bus. I was entranced by the closeness of the clouds, and wanted to reach out and touch them. Of course this was impossible as we were travelling on steep and narrow roads, and those patches of cloud seemed to hang in the air on the edges of the roads or just beyond reach above the forest floors below.
My father was a gallivanter and he made sure that his family went gallivanting with him whenever we all could. We had always travelled as a family for as far back as I can remember, thereby broadening our horizons. Dad made sure that we stayed in areas frequented by locals rather than tourists. We ate local foods from local stalls. We joined the locals at their morning and night markets. We lived, as far as we could, like the locals – and we loved it!
Now, when people travel to visit us at Blenheim Lodge, we try to interest them in local sights and foods. Being involved locally makes for a better experience of a place rather than being holed up in a hotel and its grounds only all the time. At least, that is what I think.
I was ever so excited when I saw that people from many parts of the world are now reading my blog. Imagine sharing the local scene with someone thousands of miles away. I think that the new WordPress country stats is a genius: it encourages new bloggers like me to keep writing and sharing, but also makes one feel that we are indeed united as a people from all around the world.
Hubby and I look forward to sharing our guest house with all those travellers who are keen to visit the Lakes and to stay with us. We do so want you to love the English Lakes as much as we do, and to enjoy a happy stay at our B&B. Come and visit us now or during the coming months, and take advantage of our special offers or book online for a romantic break, an active break, or a quiet retreat. We assure you of a warm welcome!
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com
Telephone: 00 44 (0)15394 43440