After we had been in Jakarta for a few days, we began to plan for our Bali excursion. My indonesian hosts were experts on the matter, so I left the planning up to them. We consulted a travel agent whom we also eventually visited to pick up our tickets. I was a little shy to take a photo in their office, but I should have. It was crowded, to say the least. The employees had about the space that their seat occupied plus 2cm on each side. Desks were everywhere, with obviously inadequate escape routes – if a fire ever breaks out there, they can bury half their staff. At least. The travel agent’s credit card terminal was also broken, so we didn’t get our tickets until a day later.
We departed for Bali on Wednesday, June 28th. Had to wake up really early after way too little sleep, and I am afraid I fell asleep again on the way to the airport. Which was just as well, as my Indonesian hosts were talking in their native language; gibberish to me.
2633The airport can only be described as chaotic. People there were rude and uncivilized, and, as I have noted before, Indonesians do not know the meaning of the word “queue”. Another surprise awaited me when we went to the gate – The departure terminal / gates are open-air! They have roofs, but no walls. The exception is an air-conditioned waiting area near the gate itself. Eventually, the boarding call was made, not too much later than expected.
2591Our airline was a regional company called “AdamAir”, presumably to be as much on top of the alphabetical sort order as possible. Their company colors are orange and yellow, but the plane we got looked old and shabby; a 737 painted in a dusty white, with barely a company logo on the plane’s tail. (Other AdamAir planes had a better paint job.)
2594The inside was pretty much what you would expect, and I had severe problems with my rather limited leg space. Another big surprise awaited me when I first saw the flight attendants. If AdamAir has a dress code, it must be very liberal. The flight attendants wore jeans and football jerseys. They were all young women – girls, really – as well, and while they didn’t do anything wrong they acted with a kind of aloofness that seemed to scream: “Hey I don’t really care. This is only a temp job.”
2621The flight itself was alright, not great. The family in front of us couldn’t sit still, and their fat son jumped up and down so much that my host had to scold him. That slowed him down a little, but didn’t stop him. The food was strange; spongy rolls and pre-packed water. Not too yummy, but hey, it’s an airline. We did have a window seat, and after we had left the [Jakarta pollution](/2006/07/04/pollution/) cloud behind us we had a pretty good view. Most exciting for me, I must admit, was that we got to see Mount Merapi. My first active volcano – even if it is just from many kilometers away.
2630The flight to Bali took maybe a bit over an hour. We landed, got out at the high-tech terminal, claimed our luggage, and were eventually picked up by a small bus which drove us through streets I didn’t think it would fit through to our hotel.