Welcome to the cheap seats
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Bukit Lawang Indah Hostel
We arrived at Bali airport to board our Air Asia flight and I was that tired that I managed to sleep for the whole of the two and a bit hours. We touched down in Singapore at about 9.30 and after a light breakfast at Burger King (ha, but we had to soak up some of last nights’ booze) we enquired as to which terminal ‘Tiger Airways’ another Asian cheap airline flew from and we were told that it was from the ‘Budget Terminal’ to get there we had to go down in to the basement of terminal 1 and then catch a bus. The steward might as well have told us we were scumbags right there and then. Walking in the basement, which was obviously the bowels of the operation, you were made to feel even more of a scrubdog as you walked past stored janitors’ trolleys and just shit everywhere. Instantly I renamed the ‘budget terminal’ the ‘Turdinal’.
It was a short drive to the Turdinal but far enough away that the airport proper could almost deny any knowledge of its’ existence. It was fine inside not too many lepers and had a little shop, cafe and even a McDonalds. So we queued to check in for our second flight of the day to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Our flight was at 1pm so we didn’t have much time – thank god as there were literally 4 chairs at the ‘gate’. We also got stuck next to a screaming child who’s grandparents couldn’t keep under control, maybe as they were both deaf they couldn’t hear her like everyone else could. We got on the plane and again I fell asleep before we took off, it was only later that Andrew told me that there had been what the captain termed ‘confusion’ as there was one too many passengers on the plane – so we were delayed taking off which made us a little concerned about making our final flight of the day.
Fortunately Kuala Lumpur is an hour in front of Medan in Indonesia (our final destination) which gave us another hour to check in and get on the plane. Much more comfortable than the 45 minutes that we thought we had. Kuala Lumpur ended up being a lot more subtle with their terminology with regard to their cheap seats calling the cheap terminal the ‘LCCT’ (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). We checked in again and somehow I was cut up in the line by about 5 Malaysian bitches with washing bags full of stuff. I was totally outnumbered and aside from jumping on the mans back who was currently at the counter I had to let them go first. Andrew and I had a few words about it, him having a go at me for allowing them to do it and me saying that I didn’t want to be sniffing the mans armpits (all quite loudly so the bitches could hear).
Finally we were back on another Air Asia flight to Medan the capital of Sumatra in Indonesia. Back to the country which we had started the day in 9 hours earlier. We arrived in Sumatra without anywhere to stay and anyway of knowing how we were going to get there. All we knew was that the buses stopped running at about 5pm and it was 5.30. We spied another western couple in the baggage claim so approached them to ask if they were going to Bukit Lawang (it would be much cheaper to share a taxi). We got a rather hesitant response from Graeme however when he asked his new wife Ewa where they were going, which was supposed to be a volcano, they decided that they would come with us and go trekking first. I love such impulsiveness! So we all bartered for a taxi and eventually got down to 350,000 Rupiah for the 3 1/2 hour journey. Surprisingly it didn’t seem to take as long as we’d imagined as we chatted the whole way there. Ewa and Graeme were on their honeymoon after getting married in Poland (Ewa is Polish) and had decided to explore Indonesia for 3 weeks. They were such a lovely couple and we hit it off straight away so when we arrived in Bukit Lawang in the dark to be met in the village by a strange trekking guide called Thomas we all stuck together and decided that we would do a two day, one night trek in to the jungle together.
We gave Thomas a bit of a hard time (we felt guilty afterwards but we have been in that situation so many times before on this trip with people just trying to rip you off) as he tried to get us to book a trek with him so we negotiated hard but in the end we agreed to go with him two days later. We managed to get a room for 50,000 Rupiah a night (about £3) at the Bukit Lawang Indah Hostel which had a great little restaurant with a group of locals playing guitar and singing along. The place had a great atmosphere about it. Ewa and Graeme had chosen, understandably to stay in the nicer but more expensive place that we had been shown. We all had dinner together at our place and a few beers and agreed to meet the following day to explore the place in preparation for our jungle trek the day after. Andrew and I fell in to bed shortly after it had been a exhausting day.