Saturday, May 19, 2007


4 May 2007

Time for another plane ride, minus the bicycle, plus my "better half", two days after arriving back to KL from the Phuket - Perlis cycling trip. A slightly hectic schedule. I carried along my sunburn to Surabaya.

Another courtesy of the free flights offered by Air Asia, we flew into Surabaya full-house. Seated next to me was a Malaysian PR, still with heavy Indonesian accent, balik kampong with an entourage of wife, children and grand-children all scattered in the various seats in the plane. A smooth flight , and we landed 20 mins earlier than scheduled. Won't matter much since the sun was already settling in on this late afternoon flight.

Spanking new Juanda airport, its newness competing against the parked equally new Air Asia Airbus. Immigration clearance took a while because of the full load, 80% of passengers either Malaysian PR Indonesians or PR hopefuls returning home to their various Kabupatens. The Immigration officer asked for my return ticket confirmation. I didn't have one. I didn't print one. It's ticketless travelling, I reasoned out. He didn't see my reason. He pointed me to an Air Asia personnel. We lost our position in the queue. The officer wanted to see my return ticket. I can understand. He wouldn't one to add two more PR hopefull in his over-populated Indonesia! It took a while for the Air Asia personnel to print me my ticket.

I joined back the queue. By now, a MAS flight landed and I now joined this queue. I asked the lady in the queue (I assumed to be a maid in Malaysia going back for holiday) why she didn't fly Air Asia. "Boss saya baik. Dia hantar saya naik MAS". Hmmm...Looked like I won't be a good boss when it would be time for my maid to return home. I smiled at her.

As we rolled the trolley out, a taxi-driver approached and I insisted to buy the taxi voucher at the airport counter. "Bisa Pak". Everything in Indonesia is poison --- "Bisa Pak"! The taxi counter doubled as a hotel booking agent and a pre-paid mobile phone counter. Great multi-business. Next time I come to Indonesia there will be 2 things I will not do from Malaysia. One - change currency. You get better rate in Indonesia for your Malaysian Ringgit. Two - book hotel rooms, even through the so-called cheapo internet services. The taxi counter offered me a better rate. Lucky I booked in only for the first night via the internet.

A new Toyota Avanza taxi carried us to our hotel. Befriended the driver, Kadek Sudiantara, a Balinese. Later we used his taxi for our travels. Over dinner on the way to the hotel, we learnt from Kadek the heirachy of Balinese names. I had a faint understanding of this when I was in Bali in October 2006 but didn't bother to note it. All Balinese are identified through their heirarchy at birth. A person called Putu (or Wayan or Gede) means he is the eldest. I smiled thinking of our Putu Mayam.

The second born is called Kadek (or Made), so our taxi driver was the second child. Bingo. Third born is Nyoman, fourth is Nengah, fifth is Ketut. I supposed it stopped at five since the sixth becomes Putu Balek. Now I'm thinking of Apam Balek.

Having filled our stomach to the brim, there was nothing else to do after checking-in to the hotel, except to settle in. Tomorrow, we would plan our free and easy holiday.