23 September 2013

Traveling to Indonesian Borneo

This is a message to inform you that your scheduled shuttle pickup time has been changed to: 4:15 am. Thank you. BEEP!

It was the first of many early mornings greeting the dark: bags packed, bleary-eyed, and ready for adventure. Adventure!

Because sometimes you need to get away from place like this...

...and go to a place like this.

(if you have subscribed to this blog by email, you may need to click through to themadhapa.com to view the images)

Ironically, to escape the rat race of too many people crammed in too little space you have to cram yourself and your belongings into still smaller spaces: shuttle vans, security queues, and of course the airplane itself.

By the way, flying a SE Asian discount air carrier was truly an adventure. I wondered aloud, do they allow smoking on this flight? To which my traveling companion muttered, I can't feel my knees. If you think I'm just being a western tourist a-hole, check out this photo I took in the airplane toilet. Incidentally, the toilet didn't flush... and it was a 6am flight. You can do the math.

Sometimes You Have to Laugh
It's funny though, things that would have really bothered me back home didn't bother me so much, because it was another culture, I guess. For example: in Indonesia, you clear security just before boarding the plane. There's a metal detector and an inspection belt for bags within view of the jetway.

I dutifully pulled out my laptop, took off my watch, and while I was doing this several Indonesian dudes pushed past me. I thought that was odd, but let them take care of emptying their pockets and so forth. While I waited, another couple of guys shoved in between me and the first group. Dafuq? 

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when they didn't queue to board either. Everyone jammed into the jetway. I had to laugh at this because, well, it's an airplane. We're all getting there at the same time. Who cares if you get on the plane first? I had to laugh...

I think this says, "will using my mobile phone crash the airplane?"
Cultural Treasures Available in Your Seat Pocket
The image above is from the inflight magazine. I think the article is meant to discourage people from using their cell phones in flight.

In my seat pocket there was also a prayer card with prayers in Indonesian and English for: Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and Tian Khaghhuzu Shangi Di - which I just typed into Google and the first search result was "Fan Fiction." I have no idea.

I also enjoyed the pre-recorded messages they played over the PA for English-speaking passengers. Before the plane takes off they remind you about the emergency exits and also that the penalty for transporting illegal drugs is death. Just before the plane lands they thank you for flying and remind you not to steal the lifejackets - further noting that your luggage will be searched.

Shortly after the message ends, the pilot drops the plane on the tarmac like a hot f*cking rock.


I hope you've enjoyed this little missive. I hope to do a separate post about the actual dive trip and also the time we spent in Singapore. Until then terima kasih (terry makka see) which is Thank You in Indonesian.


Anonymous said...

The flight does sound like a fun adventure! Now I, too, hope that my next flight will be on some obscure discount airline, just for the stories. Did they serve interesting food?

Unknown said...

I took a very similar photo of a sign in the bathroom of the large department store here in Mongolia. There was a woman on her cell phone as we were landing in Mongolia, as well. My little anal American mind found it frightening, but I guess one cell phone won't crash the plane, right?? (I hope not). Curious what discount Asian airline you used since we'll probably be on a few of those flights soon, too.

On our Hainan flight from Seattle to Beijing, I found it disturbing how long the captain's messages were in Chinese and how short they were in English...what were we missing??