To be chosen as one of the five winners of “The Ultimate AirAsia Ranger” never crossed my mind. It all started from the fad. From a desire to go abroad again this year. It all started from a desire to watch live football matches on the stadium. It all started how it feels like to watch a live football game. How it feels like to watch a Premiership team directly! Because during my life, I can only see them on television. Beginning of all that desire, I decided to enter the contest “The Ultimate AirAsia Ranger” held by AirAsia. Coincidentally, the requirements are not too difficult. Just make a blog post that contains reviews of the QPR’e journey on the Barclays Premiere League season 2011 – 2012. Premier League football is my favourite, so I really enjoyed writing about QPR. Although I am not big fans of QPR, I know a lot about the QPR.
Unexpectedly, my blog post was selected as one of the five lucky winners that could follow QPR Asia tour. I was also confused why my blog post elected. I’m not confident with my English because my English is messed up. Even one of my friend told me that my blog post should be checked by editor before being published. I was contacted by the AirAsia 1 weeks before departure. When contacted via email, I still do not believe that I was selected to go to Kuala Lumpur. After I reply to their email, I’m waiting for a reply email, but not forthcoming. After 2 days, I got a call from AirAsia (Virginie Laurency, she is a very nice girl) who asked about my departure ticket to Kuala Lumpur. After that I was entering a period of hesitation, because the tickets are not clear, I don’t know when the schedule of departures, it is not completely clear. Just on Monday, 16 July 2012 (H-1 before departure), I get a ticket to fly to Kuala Lumpur at 5:40 am. Everything was a sudden and I couldn’t print my boarding pass because my printer was broken and it was already night. Finally I just capitalize the boarding pass in the PDF only. I should have to pay Rp. 30,000, – because I didn’t have the print version of the boarding pass, fortunately for me, the check-in counter officer let me in without having to paid Rp. 30.000
When I arrived in LCCT Kuala Lumpur, I’m like tourist who get lost in the neighbors country. I didn’t know where to go and what to do. I tried to contact AirAsia, but they didn’t reply my email. When I need to boarding up to Kota Kinabalu, because the city of Kota Kinabalu is the first of the three cities visited by QPR, Virginie sent email to me to meet her at McDonald’s LCCT. I get out of the queue to get to the meeting point. But I didn’t see anyone, because in my mind, AirAsia staff using a red uniform. Apparently I was wrong, they wear very casual clothes. By Virginie, I was given my boarding pass and the 2 others. On my way from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, I met with the others two winners, Bradley Thomas Welsh and Chairani. Initially I was quite shocked by Brad, because he does not llook like a Thai in general. It turns out he originally from Liverpool and has been living in Thailand for 3 years.
Kota Kinabalu is a nice town. This is the first time I set my feet in Kota Kinabalu. On arrival at the hotel, we immediately invited to the stadium of Kota Kinabalu to watch the match between Sabah vs QPR. My adrenaline pumped when I saw QPR’s players which is I used to see them only on television. I also had the opportunity to take pictures of them.
The game ended with QPR win 5-0. Due to the differences quality of the game. In the Sabah team, surprisingly there are two players from Indonesia, namely Titus Bonay (jersey number 25) from Persipura Jayapura, which now play for BEC Thero, Thailand. The other one is Oktovianus Maniani, who was elected as man of the match in this game. This is the first experience of a very memorable, because this is the first time I watch live football matches at the stadium, and I watch the English Premier League team. In this stadium, I got a very rare opportunity, which is pictured with Mr.Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s owner.
The match finished at about 11 pm local time, and we went back to hotel for a rest, because the next day we had to return to Kuala Lumpur at 6 pm in the morning.
QPR’s main attractions are located in the city of Kuala Lumpur. There were a lot of events in Kuala Lumpur, training sessions, meet and greet and a game against the Red Warriors (Kelantan FA) in Shah Alam stadium. The first day of our arrival back at the LCCT, Kuala Lumpur, Swee Ping (Head of Social Media Team AirAsia Berhad) had told us the schedule. On arrival at the LCCT, we are invited to hae a tour in AirAsia headquarters in LCCT. After that, QPR players will arrive at LCCT (back from Kota Kinabalu) for an exclusive press conference. WOW! The real adventure begins today.
Were given a tour to see the HQ of AirAsia is very unbelievable memory for me. For an ordinary Indonesian citizen, this opportunity is beyond my imagination. My first impression was, is this an office or a “giant-sized” freezer anyway? It’s very cold in there! We are invited to look at every corner of the AirAsia office. We are also told how the culture of work in AirAsia. Everything is very professional, very busy. After the tour at HQ of AirAsia, we return to the very boring routines , wait at LCCT. 3 hours we have to wait for the next event. Because it is located at LCCT Sepang (on the outside of Kuala Lumpur, the distance is approximately 1 hour drive), there is no other choice but to wait at LCCT.
Once the show began, we all were escorted to the terminal Y1-Y2, where the meet & greet at the LCCT. There I witnessed the players came off the plane, then enter to the meet & greet room. This is my first experience to see the world-class player directly. This is truly an priceless experience in my life. Park Ji Sung is the main superstar. After the meet & greet, we are all invited to go up to AirAsia chartered planes for QPR. Once again, Wow! Priceless really.
From LCCT, we are invited to AirAsia Academy which is located not far from the LCCT. On the first time, I think AirAsia Academy is the CSR of AirAsia for Malaysian young children to practice soccer that can be sent to England. Apparently my guess is wrong, because AirAsia Academy is actually a place for trained pilots,flight attendance and engineers. Here, the players do the meet and greet only for AirAsia staffs. There is one moment that I will never forget here, when all players have gone up into the bus, Anton Ferdinand, suddenly returned to the restroom. Seeing this opportunity, I ventured to ask for his autograph and Anton Ferdinand gives his autograph for me. WOW! I can’t say with word. How lucky I am be part of this event.
After the show finished, we transfer to the hotel where we stay for one night only. It’s very nice, it’s name Nilai Resort. close enough from the LCCT (20-30 minutes if arguably close, because the comparison is the distance to Kuala Lumpur which takes 1 hours using car). In this hotel for the first time we can sleep well and long.
Able to sleep well and long is our hope, because in 2 days we just only sleep 4 hours. Breakfast in the hotel is very delicious. The hotel located in the countryside is also very suitable for a group of people who slept only four hours and requires high quality sleep. On the third day, we all will fly to Kota Bahru, Kelantan to watch QPR team practicing there. There will also meet & greet at a mall in Kota Bahru. Arriving at the LCCT, the AirAsia inform the next WOW experience, we will flying in the same plane with QPR players. WOW! One more priceless experience. But with condition, we are forbidden to talk, take photos, and all any activity that may interfere the players. We will be invisible people for one day.
The first schedule at Kota Bahru, Kelantan is meet & greet. In this meet & greet is actually the best opportunity to obtain the signatures of all players QPR. Too bad AirAsia parties are not working on it so we just be a spectator only Maybe this rare opportunity is the only one that I regret in this trip. The next destination is a stadium which is the headquarters of Kelantan FA team. Here, QPR will do the exercises and end with a penalty shoot competition against Kelantan FA. The result is Kelantan FA came out as the winner. Pretty boried when I saw their practice. From the stadium, we return to the airport, which for some reason we weren’t join QPR team.
We left the city at 22:00 local time, still in the same plane with QPR team. When about to leave the Kota Bahru, Kelantan. I got Kelantan FA’s jersey, The Red Warriors. Though jersey was given to all players, coaches and official QPR team. But because I was in a group with them, I also got the Kelantan FA’s jersey. I was really lucky.
The next day was the match between Kelantan FA against QPR at the Stadium Shah Alam. This is the game that I wait. Why? Because QPR will play against big team, Kelantan FA, and playing in big stadium. Kota Kinabalu is my first experience watch live match in the stadium. And in Kuala Lumpur this is my first experience to watch the game directly at the big stadium against a great team. But it turns out my big expectations for Kelantan FA, because QPR managed to repeat the same score against Sabah, which is 5-0.
On the last day in the Kuala Lumpur, there’s only one schedule, it is another meet & greet (again) at The Curve. Actually I do not expect anything to meet & greet this time. But at this last meet & greet I get some autographs from the players QPR.
This is an invaluable experience. Where for the first time I had won a very big contest. In this trip, I also can watch for the first time in the stadium directly and personally meet with the players QPR. Thanks to AirAsia which has given me this rare opportunity