Fave Fiving From Indonesia

Guess what?  I made it to Indonesia.  My Fave Five for this Friday (I THINK it’s Friday but don’t quote me on that) will all be centered on my trip out here.  Can’t post a lot of pics since I’m using my son’s internet connection and media allotment but I’ll try to give you a few.  For today, it’s all about my little Mika.  And here is the pic that sums it all up.  We hit it off from the moment Laura met Jason and I walking from the taxi up the alley to the house.  I have been grinning ever since.  But back to my Fave Five:

1.  I survived all the plane rides.
2.  My bags arrived as well as myself.
3.  I made it safely through Customs.
4.  My jet lag hasn’t been too bad.
5.  Jason and I made connections in Jakarta and then took the train to Bandung where we were reunited with Laura and little Mika.

Now here’s the “rest of the story” about my flight over.  First let me just say that flying from New York City to Jakarta, Indonesia is a VERY long trip.  I will never again complain about how long it takes to fly to the West Coast in the U.S. or over to Europe.  Piece of cake, my friends!  My first leg of my journey was from JFK to Vancouver, British Columbia which was over 5 hours of flying.  Then we sat on the plane for an hour while it was refueled and a new crew arrived.  From there we flew another 13 hours to Hong Kong.  I had a short layover there (about 1 1/2 hours) and then I was on another plane for a 5 1/2 hour flight to Jakarta.  During all the flying, Cathay Pacific fed us well.  I think I had 2 suppers, 2 breakfasts, and one cup-o-noodles (try eating THAT with chopsticks).  What a nice airlines.  The flight crews were all so helpful and polite.  I highly recommend that airlines.

 I had also been very excited about the fact that each seat would have its own entertainment module with TV screen.  What I didn’t realize was the height and distance of the screen (on the back of the seat in front of me) would be at just the wrong distance for my field of vision since I have bifocals.  The only way to see the screen somewhat clearly was to either tilt my head back the entire time, take off my glasses, lean forward and put my nose close to the screen, OR push myself back as far as I could into my seat and hold myself in that position.  None of those positions was a great alternative over the long haul so I would alternate between all three over all my flight time.  Consequently, I didn’t watch much on the screen and instead, read my Kindle or slept.
Speaking of sleeping, I was surprised that I was able to sleep as much as I did on the flights.  I suspect it was because I changed my seating at the last minute.  As I was in line to board in New York, a young woman standing behind me glanced over my shoulder and said, “Oh, YOU have seat 56C.  Would you mind changing with me so that I could sit with my parents?”  She had the window seat in the row behind me.  I was reluctant to do so because I had really wanted to be on an aisle so that I could easily get up to stretch my legs but I felt bad for her and decided to switch with her.  Yes, I was crammed where I was now sitting but the good part was that I could easily lean against the bulkhead to sleep, which I would not have been able to do if I had been on the aisle.  So any time one of the folks in my aisle got up to use the restroom, I made a point of getting up, too.  It worked. My ankles were still swollen but not as badly as I feared they might be and I also made a point of drinking lots of fluids and I didn’t end up with those horrible leg cramps in the night that I was fearing.
So I arrived safely in Jakarta, Indonesia and piled off the plane with the rest of the passengers.  I had my customs documents in hand and the instructions from my son as to getting a visa and sure enough, I found the right line to stand in to get my visa.  It went smoothly.  My only confusion was where to go after that to get my baggage.  Somehow I found myself in a fenced off corridor that said “Diplomats” and when I stopped in confusion and was looking around to try to figure out how to get to one of the other lines, a policeman came up to me and looked at my paperwork and told me to just continue on to the baggage area.  Later my son asked me if the Customs folks had said anything about the fact that I was going to be in the area longer than 30 days (the amount of time you are allowed in on a tourist visa).  No, they hadn’t although I had put “35” on my form, knowing that we were going to have to file for an extension.  Then Jason asked me how the fingerprinting had gone.  I thought he was kidding.  Turns out he wasn’t.  Apparently, you also get fingerprinted when you come into the country.  I wasn’t.  There was no place that I could see where they asked me for fingerprints but always they waved me through after stamping my papers.  Oh, well.  I told him, “Well, a Customs official did look at my paperwork on my way to Baggage Claim and tell me to be sure to fill in the “Departure” information and I told him that yes, I’d be sure to fill that all in before I left.”
Jason looked at me.  “You’re suppose to fill that all in when you arrive, Mom, so that they know how long you are planning to be in the country.  No wonder they didn’t say anything about you being here longer than 35 days.”   
(Just a note:  I found out since I initially wrote this that what must have happened is that I inadvertantly went to the “Diplomat” section to get my visa which is how I ended up in the Diplomat corridor.  No wonder I got through everything so quickly.  Laura said that when I told the policeman that I wasn’t a diplomat, he probably didn’t understand English and all he probably recognized was the word “diplomat” and thought I WAS a diplomat. 
I guess ignorance is bliss sometimes.  But back to my story.  I was thrilled to see both of my bags coming out of the carrel.  Yay, they’d made it all the way.  I grabbed them off the belt and put them on a wheeled cart and then off I went, turning right as I came out of the baggage area and there was Jason standing head and shoulders above the crowd, waving at me.  Oh boy, was it good to see him.  And it was wonderful to have someone who spoke the language to be able to fend off all the good-natured offers of help and taxis as we left the airport terminal.  Jason had already arranged for a taxi to meet us and the driver showed up right away.  I was SO grateful to have an air-conditioned van to ride in and a pleasant driver to take us right to the apartment. 
Traffic!  Oh boy!  I had been warned that the driving would be different in this country and it is.  I sure wouldn’t want to have to drive here.  Several times Jason told me to “not look” as our driver went onto the shoulder around cars and trucks or when cars would drive over curbs and onto our lane.  And the motorcycles……gosh, they were everywhere, weaving in and out of the traffic, just missing near death by inches constantly.  Part of me couldn’t stop looking at them and part of me wanted to keep my eyes shut at times.  Mostly my fascination won and I just took it all in.
There is a lot of construction going on in this town.  Jason says that the economy is booming here and I see signs of that everywhere with the obvious growth going on.  We were in the financial district and went through the embassy area mainly, also going past big malls and huge billboards in English and Bahasa Indonesia.  Sometimes I glimpsed slums down side streets.  I’ll be seeing those up closer later in my trip.   But this day was to be firmly set in modern Jakarta.  It all reminded me of Athens, Greece (with all the construction) and some of Rabat, Morocco.  And my goodness, it is summer here, not winter, which I left in the U.S.   I’m mighty happy for the modest air conditioning that they have in the apartment here.  I packed quite a few long-sleeved shirts, thinking it will be cooler in the mountains once we get to Bandung but if it isn’t, I might not be wearing those much on my trip.
We arrived at the apartment where I kicked off my shoes and put my feet up for a bit before Jason and I walked over to the little mall across the street for some fried noodles (yummy).  Then it was back and I had a chance for a shower (heaven) and more time with my feet up while we watched a DVD of old “Monk” reruns.  I’m afraid I didn’t make it beyond the first episode.  I was fading fast at that point.  I did manage to stay up until around 7 p.m. local time and then I went to bed.  Jason figured I’d probably be up at 3 or 4 a.m. because of the jet lag and time differences but I actually slept very well.  I woke up at one point and checked my watch.  I thought it said 8 a.m.  Yikes!  I sprang up because Caroline, one of our friends, was supposed to be coming over for breakfast at 8.  I couldn’t believe that I’d slept that long.  I looked out the window but it was still dark out.  Looked at my watch again…..and looked at it again……and again.  How could it be 8?  Finally I realized that I was holding it upside down and it was actually 2:30 a.m.  Back to bed I went.  At 4 a.m. the “call to prayer” sounded outside.  It went on for quite some time.  I don’t remember it being such a long production in Morocco but they really do a melodious “call to prayer.”  I went back to sleep and finally got up at 6 a.m.  Praise God that I did not have the horrible leg and foot cramps nor any problem sleeping.
I woke this morning and enjoyed a pancake breakfast with Jason and our friend, Caroline before we headed off to the train station to catch a train to Bandung to be reunited with Laura and little grandbaby, Mika.  I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.  Suffice it to say, I enjoyed some beautiful vistas of rice paddies, mountains, and tea plants.  Got some lovely pictures, too but since Jason only is allotted so much space on his internet plan, I’ll probably only be able to upload a few pics at a time unless we get to a WiFi place.  So till my next post, goodnight from Bandung, Indonesia! 

If you’d like to post a Fave Five yourself, visit Suzanne’s blog at Living to Tell the Story.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • I’ve been waiting to hear that you’ve arrived safely! Wonderful.
    Will there be any problems with your having gone through the diplomat line? If not, that’s a good way to avoid hassles. LOL

    Looking forward to reading more of your adventures! And all about that little sweetheart.

  • What a beautiful, happy photo of you and Mika! I’m so glad the flight/s went well. Looking forward to the rest of the adventure.

  • You’re there! How exciting! Good to hear you arrived safe and sound. Maybe I’ll have to remember the diplomat “trick” to get through the lines if I ever travel. LOL.

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