Early in the morning I took a tuk tuk to the airport, and from there I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur, from which I would fly onwards to Medan in Sumatera. But before I would take my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Medan, I would have to wait quite a few hours. So I strolled around the airport, with it’s many shops any cafes, and decided to get something to eat and drink at one of them. It was a Starbucks.
You can find restaurants/cafes/dining places from big chains like this anywhere around the world, but not soo much in the area where I live in my own country. There are few and I hardly ever visit them back home if they are there. This may seem irrelevant, but I’ll tell you the reason I’m mentioning this. I walked in, hoping there might be WIFI so I could catch up to some work, read my email and just browse a little bit in general… I thought I would be one of the few…. But no, most people there were online with either their phone, laptop, netbook, tablet or some other electronic device. Some were socializing with their friends sitting on the next table, and there was chatter and laughter, but still, to me it was a strange sight. Where I live this kind of scene would be associated with asocial behavior and people would judge you for it. But it was actually nothing of the sort.
These people were social, laughing, talking, etc AND “connected” at the same time. I started talking with a japanese guy sitting next to me. We both had our netbooks on our table in front of us, were checking facebook and email, and we talked about a number of topics while still browsing the web. We had a few good laughs and by the time we had to split up to catch our planes I had even managed to get some work done on a project I hadn’t worked on in quite some time. So we said goodbye, and as I walked towards the gate I noticed the same thing happening in all the other cafes along the way, but this time with a new perspective.
I took my flight to Medan, waited for my airport pickup and went to the hotel I booked in advance. I had some trouble finding a suitable ATM, but instead of leaving my bag there and have someone drive me to an ATM, I just decided to find one fully geared up. Honestly I didn’t feel like having something go wrong at the end of a long day (like losing my bag in the lobby of a hotel), so with renewed strength I walked around the streets in Medan to find one. New in a strange city, late at night, with everything you brought for your travel on your back seems like a really, really bad idea. But I was walking around almost like I owned the place, and I wasn’t bothered by anyone.
Finally back in the hotel, I took a shower, transformed from a rugged backpacker into a relaxed hotel-guest, and had a few good hours of sleep before my friend would come and pick me up the next morning.