My last 350 rupees are splurged on a mock-Mont Blanc pen (They’d run out of biros. Hello Tesco Nige, by the way.) within the airport terminal. A necessary procurement along with the complimentary notelets from the hotel. Scribble now, blog later. The devil will find work for idle hands to do. Several thousand miles to go. Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne in the company of Air Malaysia.

“When the President does it, that means that it is not a steaming pile of horse poo…” Frank Langella stars in the inflight movie’s main role on the Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur leg. Robot & Frank is the title apparently. People tune in inquisitively.
Frost & Nixon is one of my favourite films of all time. Your man Langella was Oscar nominated, deservedly, for his role as the doomed President. This is him, older, whiter, balder, more hang dog post his finest hour.**
Langella frowns his way mournfully through proceedings, trying hard to look interested, trying harder to maintain credibility as he conducts a cod-Short Circuit type relationship with a plastic space age robot of the type that failed the auditions for a Beastie Boys video. The best thing about the film is Liv Tyler’s legs. There is no harsher come down than the one from the White House, even as an actor.
Either that or there’s no business like show business.
The sound around me is the hurried rustling of passengers replacing their earphones back into the plastic bags. At least three hours before we land. Poor bloke.

The Aerotram, KL airport. I catch a glimpse of myself reflected in the window. Resplendent in Panama hat and horizontal striped blue and white t-shirt. Ye gods, it dawns on me that I look like I should be doing a turn on the waters of Venice or punting down the Cam. First impressions count. Don’t give those Aussies anything. In plenty of time for the connecting flight to Melbourne, I head to the gents to sort out my contact lenses but take the opportunity to address my sartorial issue. Emerging from the bogs sporting another shirt with the very embodiment of Great British man looking on earnestly from the breast, his name writ large.


I’m ready for Australia now.
I decide to carry the hat though.

Although, quite by accident, later it falls out of the overhead locker on to the head of a grumpy looking lady from beneath her hijab. That her young daughter is laughing isn’t making it any easier for me as I do my best to look solemnly apologetic.
Air Malaysia are good. I’ll fly with them again. Good staff, good choice of entertainment, well on the second part of the journey anyway.
Beef for the first time in ages functionally washed down with average air food claret. The Dark Knight Rises is well worth the wait. Gary Oldman needs to do a Bond film. Nearly the best thing about the film is Anne Hathaway’s arse. It is that good.
I don’t sleep. I never do on planes. Despite the wonderful hostesses doing their best to help by segueing smartly around my variations on a theme of gangly. Some kid behind me constantly sniffing grinners isn’t helping my route into subconsciousness. I ponder the previous night in the most comfortable bed in the world and consider twenty four hours is a long time in sleeping patterns. I also reflect on the evening’s film versus Skyfall. It keeps me awake. That and thoughts of the next month or so.
I’m excited. I think.

My first repast on Australian territory, just after seven as the sun comes up over Coober Pedy, washed down with weak black tea with the sound of Concrete Jungle on my iPad is, bizarrely, chicken pie in a box. Who? Why?
Air Malaysia’s attempt to mix it with the locals, or, genuinely, is chicken pie de rigeur among Malaysians first thing in the morning? Either way, it’s not worth devoting anymore words to.

Unlike Australia, which hopefully will give me a month or so of material. Time to get among the chazzwazzers….

*Ha ha! Hello erstwhile colleagues! I’m laughing now but I fear I’ll soon be begging for my job back.

**And, no, his role as the baddie in Cutthroat Island was not his finest hour, irony fans…..