Medan - Sanur (Bali)

Trip Start Jan 2003
Trip End Dec 2003

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Saturday, May 31, 2003

Day 118 - Medan - Sanur (Bali)

Shunning airlines like Awair ('Striving To Be One Of The Best') and Merpati ('It's Merpati And I'll Fly If I Want To') we went for the even cheaper option of flying with Mandala (no strapline - not even trying to be any good). It wasn't until we went to board that I realised the potential danger we were putting ourselves in. Every other passenger was being waved off by family and friends, all of whom were in floods of tears as if it was going to be the last they'd ever see of them and as if a plane crash was imminent. The aircraft was, as expected, coming to the end of its life and in serious need of a paint job. The numerous scratches and dents on the nose did nothing to boost confidence levels. To be fair, the initial flight to Jakarta was, barring a bit of turbulence, incident free although the Indonesians do like to make things a bit more 'exciting'. In addition to smoking in petrol stations, we now know they like using their mobile phones on flights. Call me a traditionalist or unadventurous if you like but I prefer my pilots to have all available equipment functioning as it should and without interference as they're coming in to land rather than being subjected to numerous mobile phone renditions of the William Tell Overture because we'd just entered the clutches of the Indonesian mobile phone networks.

In Jakarta we suffered a brief panic about catching our connecting flight. Knowing that Bali was an hour ahead of Sumatra but not knowing where Jakarta fitted into the equation we were left with either five minutes or an hour and five minutes to board our next plane at 13:45. Running through the airport, the only clock we saw typified Indonesian attitudes towards time by stating that it was 10:20. Perhaps predictably though, the flight was delayed and we ended up waiting around for hours. eing two of only a handful of Westerners at the airport we were yet again sounding boards for incessant broken English questioning as well as having to pose for photographs. Embarrassing o admit but I fear the reason we're seen as being so unusual and therefore interesting (even more so than the other tourists) is the fact we're so pale. Still a few days relaxing on a beach or lounging by the pool should make us less of a novelty.
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