Every day a new adventure.
That this should just happen to be my last doesn’t even start to break that rule.
I’m woken by a knock on the door at 9am. And then again at 11 am, and at 12pm –check out- I awnser it.
Last nights there was a little incident where one of the employes knocked on my door with broken English and pretty much forced himself in, sat down and asked if I had beer and if he could stay. I got him out again easily enough, but still he scared me and I kept my door locked and closed for the rest of the night.
Now it’s just the minivan service to the airport. And while waiting the guys make some more (rude?) comments, and one of them wants to take his picture with ‘the blond girl’.
But finally we load up and leave this place. I share the backseat bench with 4 other customers and we pick up 2 more who get the passenger seat. Not too crowded.
At the airport again I have to pose as ‘the white girl’ a few times. I’m sure they were saying in amazement “and she was smoking too.”
I was hoping to stash my bag in the Emirates office, but after trying to arrange that for 2 hours with a lot of asking, walking back and forth, and no success I give up. Not a lot of English is spoken or understood around here on Soekarno Hatta International Airport. I’m glad the signs at least have translations on them in small writing.
I sit down with starfucks and order a ‘coffee’ to get on their wifi.
A nice young man from Bandung asks if that other chair is taken. His Ingris is very good and we have a nice chat.
Yeah. Airport days aren’t that bad.
And that’s what you get for talking to strangers.
A look into the airport backstage and a free local meal. And of course the company and insight of life of a local.
Sjaf, who works here in logistics –but not today; so what was he doing here? – took me.
He just starts talking to me, not in the annoying way the ignorant-to-buleh guys at the hotel did. He’d actually seen and learned something of the world, has a French girlfriend now living in Bali and aspires a trip to New Zealand to visit a friend and work in the kiwi business. Good English too.
I ask him for a tip on good, cheap, local food and he tells me there is a place he can get that. “You want to go now?” So I follow him into a staff only area where a woman sits behind a table filled with local goods. He gets a fish pindang and fried potato and nasi goring. Enak sekali!
He insists on paying, and makes sure I put down his contact info for when I come back. “You can stay with my girlfriend maybe, she lives in a big villa. No charge of course. Call me when you get back ya?”
It’s funny: back there in the staff area I expected more funny faces like “Who the hell is this?” but I didn’t get any at all.
Sjef walks me outside and tells me “Thank you for your time.” For real? All of that, you just get, all it takes is an open mind, or maye some would call it naivity. I’m still just a little blond girl travelling alone with my big backpack. But you’ve got to be able to let go of those things and just roll with it.
At 9pm check-in starts, my visa gets that big ‘used’ stamp on it and in line the number of none-asians suddenly grows fast.
The only smoking area on this side is a café where I wasn’t allowed a table without consumption, but another guest invites me to sit at his. However, he continues down the tunnelvision of his smartphone. Welcome back into ‘the real world’…
An other airport employe has seen me walking around this gate the past 3 hours, and comes to sit with me while I steal some power to make sure my music won’t die on the 16 hour-flight ahead of me. He hands me a can of coke and tries to strike up a conversation, but is something like a deaf mute. At least it’s not the language that’s the barier, and he’s such a sweetheart for noticing and sharing this with me!
I cannot bare to leave this place! But he signs for me I should probably precede to bording. I give him a peck on the cheek, swing on my small backpack, and walk out of Indonesia and on to Emirates.
About 6 hours later I find myself on Dubai International Airport again. With a new free for use smoking lounge sponsored by Winston. So I walk past the Irish pub I once envisioned running into one of my on-the-road-crushes. As all of those have faded, so will eventually do my feelings for Padangbai and becoming a Balinese, I suppose…
And thus I get on another airbus, back to Amsterdam.