Come on, now.
I’ll try to cut to the chase and get to the point as much as I can so that it wouldn’t be too long and draggy though.
So yeah, since I got wind that Benedict would be hosting the Laureus World Sports Awards 2014, I knew I was going. I knew I had to. It was perfect timing, seeing as my BC fangirliness was just about at its peak. My concrete reason (well, at least I thought so) was that Benedict was an international star; and God knows when, if ever, he will set foot in Malaysia again! And, well… I know it would be pretty much impossible for me to go to London anytime soon in the future, so I just HAD to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Timing was a bit bad though. I hadn’t been feeling too well for about 2 days then. There was this annoying dull ache in my bones; the one you’d get right before you fell sick. I couldn’t sleep well, and for that 2 days, I’d often wake up with a headache. On the night before the trip, I was running a slight fever. The fever didn’t bother me so much; it was the aches that worried me.
Anyhow, I was thankfully able to get up that morning and shower. I had a slight headache, but it went away eventually. My mind was not focused the entire bus trip. Also, this was the longest I’ve ever gone in a bus trip that I hadn’t slept. Moreover, I hadn’t had any breakfast. The only substance I had was the bottle of uncarbonated 100Plus I had bought before getting on the bus. When it came to the rest stop, I got down, bought some bread and a Maggi Cup for dinner later.
I just hoped that the hotel I was staying in ( First Business Inn ) had those electric kettles. But I never really thought too much into it.
Throughout the trip, I had this song on replay several times, and was grinning from ear to ear just thinking about the encounter I was going to have. ;)
When I arrived at the Pekeliling bus station, I called for a taxi to take me to my hotel…. which, as it turns out, was just about 2 blocks away from behind Pekeliling. So yeah, money wasted on taxi there.
Anyways I checked in earlier than I had estimated.
I managed to get a bit of shut eye before getting out of bed, freshen up, and getting a taxi to Istana Budaya. I was half-expecting there to be fans loitering around, and I had mixed feelings when I stepped out of the taxi.
First, there were only 2 other girls there at that time. Second, I was starting to regret wearing a long-sleeved camisole; I was feeling a little nauseous already.
Or maybe that was just nerves.
Anyhow, I got out, and saw that there were policemen all over the place. I didn’t know what I was expecting, knowing it would be an international event and all. I kept my distance from the 2 girls, just observing the area. But there was no one else and it would be awkward (not to mention rude) if I had not said anything to them. They might say something to me, but I didn’t want them to think I was antisocial or anything. So I went up to them and made conversation. And, although I didn’t know it right then, I would become rather good friends with them throughout the day.
So the girls, Kathryn (or Kate) & Angeline (or Ying, as Kate calls her) and I got along great and joked and talked throughout the 4 hours it took for the celebrities and athletes to actually start arriving. We were our own little ‘group’, seeing as we just somehow couldn’t click with the others.
We watched car by car pass, and none of them had Benedict in them. We narrowed our expectancy down to wanting to see just any celebrity; Nadal, Sebastien Vettel, anyone.
But most of the cars were tinted in such a way that we couldn’t really see inside much. After almost an hour of watching cars pass by with no sign of anyone familiar, we were getting restless.
But we were reluctant to leave our spot because we were so sure that Benedict had to pass through here in order to get in. But then we asked one of the guards if the host was inside already, and he said yes. Then another bunch of girls confirmed it and said they saw him walking in using another entrance, wearing casual clothes.
We were bummed. I, in particular. By then, it was dark.
The other group of fans had begun to scream Benedict’s name, but we thought nothing of it because they had a false alarm TWICE. But when their screams continued, we jolted. We ran to where they were, only to see nothing. But beside me, I saw a girl going through her DSLR, AND I SAW BEN.
HE HAD REALLY BEEN THERE.
The fans were chanting for him now, because he had appeared only for a few seconds. But he never came out again.
Words couldn’t explain how disappointed I felt then. I came all the way just to see Benedict Cumberbatch, and he comes out for a mere few seconds, and that’s it.
All the money spent on taxis and bus tickets and hotel fares, wasted. We still held on to that very thin string of hope though, which, in the end, resulted in us seeing Sebastien Vettel arrive (he didn’t wave too), and then Jamie Foxx, who gave a short wave to us before going in. I hadn’t managed to record either’s arrival, but I DID have a random vid of some of the arrivals:
Also, we thought we saw Serena Williams, but I couldn’t be too sure because all I saw was the back.
Not long after, there was someone who arrived in a flashy F1 car, who I later found out to be David Coulthard.
After waiting there for about 30 mins more, our legs were killing us (MAJOR kudos to Angeline who stood all the way through with her knee brace and was limping as she walked throughout), and we were giving up hope. We were debating if we should go grab something to eat and drink while waiting for the event to end, then come back and try to catch Benedict exiting the place, OR go to his hotel and wait, but then again, we were terrified that we’d look like those group of crazy stalker fangirls who waited 15 hours at the hotel trying to catch a glimpse of him or take a photo with him.
In the end, we decided that we’d take our chance and head to his hotel, but try our best to show him that we are, at the very least, civilized fans.
Kate parked her car at the basement of the hotel, and we walked around looking for somewhere to eat and drink. We did, and by then we were all worn out, tired, and disappointed. At the food court we discussed what our next move was. Staying around and loitering at the hotel’s lobby would probably make the staff suspicious of us, and we really didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with anyone.
Then came Ying’s suggestion to ask permission from the staff, better yet, Manager. But Kate pointed out that if the management flat out said no, were we going to accept that and give everything up without even having the chance to try?
They asked for my opinion, but to be honest, I felt too worn out then to make any decision. This whole situation was the complete opposite from what I had been expecting. Sure, I knew deep down that I had no guarantee whatsoever that I would return to Kuantan the next day with some sort of ‘souvenir’ from Ben, but I had not given that side of the situation much thought. Originally, both Kate & Ying’s plans were to meet Benedict, get a picture/autograph/even catch a glimpse of him, and then rush home to watch the live telecast. But that didn’t work out when we never got to see Ben.
Then there was also the problem of where we didn’t know if they had an after-party. If they did, we had no clue where it would be, and honestly, how long could we wait? The event was already estimated to end at around 12am – 1am. If there was an after-party, what on earth time would they come back?
We could only hope and pray that there would be no party.
But then the event ended about an hour earlier than expected.
We were excited. Should we go wait at the hotel?
We did, and right then, the cars were already coming in. Some groups came back with buses. By then my heart was hammering in its cage. Would this finally be the moment when our luck would turn around?
“For all we know, Benedict may have already gone in.”
I felt my heart sink.
NO. We can’t lose hope now. Not when we’re so close.
Suddenly, Kate starting freaking out.
She saw actor Daniel Bruhl, who had acted alongside Benedict in The Fifth Estate.
There was a panicked battle amongst us if we should approach him, but then he had left quickly with his… girlfriend? Friend? We dunno… to the side of the hotel.
BUT, about 10 minutes later, he reappeared, to Kate’s glee. She kept asking if she should approach him, and I all but demanded she did. LOL. He was so near after all.
3 other chinese fans got to him first as they were nearer, and they took pics as the lady stood a distance away, smiling. When it came to our turn, we apologized profusely for interrupting them (I just realised that at that moment, we were probably behaving like Tom Hiddleston.), and asked if we could have a photo. Kate & Ying went first, and I offered to take. As I held the phone up to take their photo, I noticed that my hands were visibly shaking. I may not know who he was before this, but knowing that I was in such close proximity with an international actor was enough to make me tremble.
The lady moved away again, but both of them asked her to be in the picture as well. In my opinion, it was common courtesy/manners, and I thought it would’ve been a bit rude to not ask her to join. Whoever she was, she was Daniel’s date to the event, after all. Plus she was so nice and gorgeous, too.
After getting our pictures taken, we apologised again for holding them up. But they were SO SINCERELY NICE about it.
So that left Benedict.
To look out for him, we stood in the middle of the hotel and the club, Kate having her eyes on the buses, and Ying having her eyes on the cars. I had my eyes on both alternately. Not long after the picture, a white guy approached us and asked us who that man (that we took photos with) was. We told him that he was an actor, but the guy didn’t know who he was; though he figured he must be some celebrity. He then asked us if we were waiting for a particular person. We didn’t know how to put it at first for fear of sounding like a stalker, but we literally muttered in unison, “Yeeeeeaahhhhh. Benedict Cumberbatch.” The guy didn’t know who he was either.
Not long after that, another white guy approached us. I should probably mention that none of them went to those 3 chinese fans who were, in fact, nearer to them. We took pride in thinking that it was probably because we looked ‘classier’ and looked English educated.
Anyway the guy asked a question, and all I heard was “…take the photo?” I looked at Ying & Kate to see if they got it, but they both looked nervous, and I suspected that they had thought the guy was telling them not to take photos. We asked the guy to repeat, to which he asked a similar question as the previous guy. We were relieved that he hadn’t asked us not to take photos.
Literally less than a minute after that encounter, I heard Kate call out in a high pitched voice, “OH MY GOD, IT’S BENEDICT! IT’S BENEDICT!!”
I SWORE my heart stopped in that moment. Panic, adrenaline, hyperventilation, just coursed my veins all at one go at that moment. And in these moments I tend to freeze for a second or two before my brain could come up with a reaction. But that time, it was exceptional. We literally FLEW down to where he was.
And then I saw him.
I was aware of my mouth gaping open slightly. When I reached the gates, my senses finally went into that delayed state of blankness. My body was moving around, but my mind drew a blank.
Benedict is right in front of me.
And then I heard his deep, silky voice.
I kept staring at his face for a while, transfixed. The man looked simply GORGEOUS in person. I thought pictured already depicted how handsome he was, but they simply didn’t do him justice.
His body was a perfect stature. His skin, flawless. And I DO mean flawless. It looked like his skin was touched up to look perfect.
In the instant my senses kicked in, I took out my phone and began snapping.
Isn’t he gorgeous? *dreamy eyes* I know some of the pictures are blur, but my hands were shaky!
I HAD to get a picture with me and him in it, and even if I couldn’t get a personal pic, so be it. I made sure he was in the frame, and snapped.
After that, I tried several times over to try and politely squeeze my way through to take a pic with him, but they were all so squished up front that I had no way of going though.
It was also then that I remembered that I hadn’t brought anything for him to sign. In a desperate attempt to get his signature at all costs, I literally thrust out my phone to get him to sign the cover; the best, though undoubtedly the saddest thing to get him to sign.
Ying saw my futile attempts, and she called out, “You want him to sign your phone? Give me, I’ll pass it!”
In that second, I debated if I should. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was thinking if there were any other options/objects of mine that I could get signed. Ying was bouncing on her feet, silently gesturing me to hurry, because we all knew he probably wouldn’t stay for long.
I thrust my phone at her, and she went off.
And also in that moment, I completely forgot that I had brought my waterproof Sony along too. I strained my neck above the heads of the fans, trying to see if Benedict got my phone.
And then I saw it.
I saw him take my phone, use Ying’s sketchpad as leverage, scribbled on the cover at the back, and handed it back to a girl in blue, who turned around asking whose it was. I took it from her, and stared at my phone for what felt like the longest time. My hands were shaking again.
He fucking signed my phone cover.
“Oh my god…” I whispered. And then a little louder.
Benedict had to go in after that, and apologized for not being able to stay. Ying & Kate emerged, all looking wide-eyed.
Pay attention at 2:29; on the right side, you’ll see my phone being passed. ;) Unfortunately this fancam doesn’t show him signing it. =/
We showed each other our memorabilia, and gave an excited squeal. Trying not to make a scene, we paced hurriedly to Kate’s car at the basement. Just before we got in, Ying stopped, and said: “Guys, we actually got Benedict’s signature.”
Ying & I did a little jig-and-squeal. I was so close to bursting into happy tears. My eyes were already watering. I called my mum, and even she could hear how shaky my voice was.
They sent me back to my hotel after that (to which I’m SO grateful; they even refused to let me have a share in paying the parking ticket, which amounted to RM12-ish), and we took a last photo together before I went in the hotel.
Kate, Ying & me.
We hugged, and because the area was a little dodgy, they refused to leave until they saw that I was safely in the hotel premises.
The first thing I did when I entered the hotel room was grab the nearest pillow, and screamed into it.
After speaking with my mum on the phone in the hotel later, I felt all the more dissatisfied that I wasn’t able to get a proper pic with Benedict. But I do realise that I’m lucky to even have his autograph. ^^
A part of me didn’t want to go back, really. Sure, it got a bit lonely, but knowing that Benedict might still be in KL made me restless.
But I did go back, though.
I’m back home typing this on my laptop.
Oh well. Hoping against hope that Benedict would return sometime soon! (Or that I may somehow miraculously get to go to London, but I have a feeling that the former is more likely to happen than the latter )
PS: I’ve very nicely not put a watermark on the pictures. Please please PLEASE don’t repost them. (I will set SuperWhoLock on you if you do. I mean it.)
PPS: Kate has also written a much shorter version of our encounter here. Also, please, don’t take her pictures without permission.
PPPS: I dreamt of Moriarty & Mycroft that same night in the hotel. Just thought I’d mention it. xD I just remember passing through them, going through that black door at 221B Bakers Street.
PPPPS (I dunno how any Ps it will get to I’m really just making them up as I go): Notice that I did not mention which hotel he was staying at. YES, IT IS INTENTIONAL. I dunno if he’s still at KL, but if he is, I wouldn’t want fans to gather there by the throngs and wait for him. The guy deserves some privacy.