And Away We Go!

I would have left for the first stop on my itinerary on the Saturday night before my vacation officially began on Sunday but as I said before, I couldn’t change my ticket without incurring a significant cost.  I had booked that ticket from Jakarta to Singapore thinking that I would be leaving from Aceh and would therefore need to give myself time to fly from Aceh to Jakarta that Sunday morning.  So the flight I had booked didn’t actually leave Jakarta until mid-Sunday afternoon.

That didn’t stop me from leaving the centre before 10 am that Sunday morning.

I barely slept the night before.  I had moved to a shared bedroom but I was thankfully alone that night.  I fell asleep at about 10 pm on Saturday night and woke up at 1 am.  I couldn’t sleep so I spent over 3 hours listening to podcasts and playing solitaire on my iPad; I finally dropped off again at 4:30 am and awoke at 6 am.  Clearly, I was eager to get gone.  I did my devotions, had a quick shower and breakfast, briefly encountered the Big Boss (I was in bed when she arrived the night before and I didn’t linger to meet or talk to her that morning so there’s nothing significant to report about that), then settled down out front to wait an hour for my cab, which I had ordered the night before.  It thankfully arrived about 20 minutes early and I was outta there like a shot.

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My travelling companion

At the airport, I checked in and headed to my gate.  Just the previous evening, I had been musing about the things I miss in my everyday life, buying books being 1 of them.  So when I saw an airport shop selling books that weren’t individually sealed in plastic wrap, I headed inside for a browse and ended up buying one.  It was a total impulse buy and I’m sure I paid too much for it by Indonesian standards, but I figured I needed something to read over the next 2 weeks while I waited in various airports.  As I walked out of the store, I felt the usual little burst of happiness that I get when I buy a new book.  I contentedly continued towards my gate.

When I got to security, they unexpectedly relieved me of my lotion, astringent, sunscreen and water bottle, all of which were small, in my opinion, and all of which I had travelled with to and from Jogja and Lombok; apparently domestic air safety isn’t as important as international air safety when travelling from Jakarta.  Still, I didn’t complain or argue too much, mainly because it’s never a good idea to be too lippy with airport security, but also because I didn’t really like that lotion or astringent anyway and I had paid basically cents for them at Indomaret.  Other than the tube of sunscreen, which I had bought in Tanzania and to which I had a sentimental attachment, it wasn’t much of a loss.  (By the way, months before, I had travelled from Banda Aceh to Malaysia – international travel – with that tube of sunscreen so I was a little bitter to have to give it up.)

Of course, I was the first to arrive at my gate seeing as it was still 3 hours before the flight was scheduled to leave.  I was there for a whole hour and a half by myself before other passengers finally started trickling in.  I spent that time eating my mie aceh that I had brought with me, Whatsapping with A (my only friend who was awake at that time), and getting started on my brand new book.

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Cartoon plane at the next gate in Jakarta…you can’t see her but Hello, Kitty is blocked by the jet bridge on the left…I can’t even, with these Southeast Asian airlines

When I finally boarded the Singapore Air flight, I almost cried in relief at the feeling of civility I got from seeing the wide-bodied aircraft with working video screens in the headrests, the free Singapore newspaper, and the little pillow on every seat.  There’s just something world-traveller-feeling about this type of aircraft.  For me on that day, that plane represented 2 weeks of relative luxury.

I sighed in contentment as I settled into my seat, even as I pushed to the back of my mind a vague anxiety about how I would return to my less than stellar Jakarta living situation after 2 weeks of civilised living.

Still, I couldn’t help myself.  I broke out into a big grin as the plane’s wheels left Indonesian soil.  Two weeks of bliss, coming right up.

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