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April 28, 2010

Travel Snafus Part 2

Tom McLaughlin

[Editors Note: This is the second installment of Tom's travel misadventures from last week. He is now on Facebook. Check out the photos and other fun stuff.]


Kuching, Malaysia – While there, we wandered around the semi-live volcano which I remembered was the reason why I wanted to go there in the first place. Later, while strolling the streets, I stopped at a travel agency and asked about the possibility of flying from Bandung to Banda Ache. The agent said since I was already in Indonesia, my visa was good for that city. She booked us on a flight from Jakarta to the town on Lion Air.


I had never heard of Lion Air and had visions of a crop duster with rubber bands turning a prop. To my pleasant surprise, it was a brand new Boeing something. But I get ahead of myself.


To get to the airport in Jakarta to catch the flight, we had to leave at 3 A.M. and take a taxi. The night before we were to leave I heard a banging on the door at 3 A.M. I asked who it was and it was a bell boy with a package of some sort. I said whatever it was I didn’t want any. Then the phone rang. The guy had the hotel packed breakfast to eat on the way to Jakarta. Panicked in my half asleep mode, I quickly awoke my wife, told her we over slept and had to run and catch the taxi. After about five minutes of scurrying around the room it finally dawned on me it was the wrong day.


Everything was fine and we had very good time in Banda Ache. We used the back end of the round trip ticket to fly back to Kuala Lumpur and then a connecting flight to Kuching. All was well, I thought.


The plane leaving Banda Ache was late. I had two connecting flight tickets, for my stupidity reasons, so I figured if we missed one, we would catch the next one. The plane was later and later. We finally departed and on board it finally dawned on me we would probably miss the second flight.


We ran to the check in counter and I asked if this was the queue to Kuching. The people said “yes.” We were relieved and waited in line to reach the counter. We explained to someone our story and showed him our tickets. He informed we were in line for the one after the second one and that we had probably missed the flight.


We galloped to the front of the line, rudely shoved people out of the way and asked if that plane had departed. We were supposed to be there two hours early, the check in counter closed 45 minutes before the plane leaves and we were 10 minutes before takeoff.


“Go to counter 16 and ask,” the counter girls said. Rushing over, we had to deal with, you guessed, the guy who wouldn’t let us on the plane a few days earlier. I could to see in his face, “Them again!”


I babbled in Malay, telling him our problem; but I think I said something about an ice cream cone going to Kuching. My wife took over and explained in rapid Malay, and he asked how we got to Banda Ache. Satisfied, he allowed us to board the plane.


We got off in Kuching, relived the tension was finally over. When we got home, our bag, which we had put in the taxi days earlier, never made it home. It did show up three days later, contents intact, but where it had been remains a mystery.


…life is good


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