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A night at Jakarta Airport...

INDONESIA | Thursday, 18 March 2010 | Views [7338] | Comments [1]

So, I made it to Indonesia, after a grueling trip from Sri Lanka that began at 4am and ended at 11am the NEXT day! Yes, I love Air Asia for their cheap flights, but their timing SUCKS! I flew from Colombo to Kuala Lumpur, had a 5 hour layover there, (drank 4 cups of coffee at Starbucks to pass the time) and then flew into Jakarta at 10pm and had to wait until 6am for my flight the next day. Since check in for a 6am flight is at 4am (thank you Air Asia), I figured I would just “camp out” at the airport. Well… that became an adventure, because I had to go from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3, and they are not very close. Also, getting my visa upon arrival was a bit more of a hassle than I bargained for because they wanted to see my flight ticket leaving Indonesia. I only booked a 1 way, b/c I wasn’t sure when I would want to leave, and its never been an issue before. So I gave them some chocolate covered almonds and promised I would leave within 30 days, and that worked nicely. Time to get to Terminal 3.…

One thing about Indonesia that is obvious from the moment I arrived is that there’s TONS of people trying to sell you something. And most of the ones that hang out in the travel hubs are shiesters. I already spoke with an Air Asia flight attendant, so I knew there was a free shuttle between terminals, but that it stopped at either 10 or 11pm. It was 10:30 when I got my bags. So, I went outside, and was accosted by literally 50 cabbies asking me, “Where are you going?” “Where are you from” “What is your name”- the 3 ubiquitous questions that circulate the travel hub tout club. So I said, “I’m getting the free shuttle to terminal 3- do you know where I need to go“? (I had a vague idea already). Of course, the cabbie starts to tell me, “The shuttle has stopped now, there’s no more, so you need to get a cab”. At that point, something inside me snapped, because I knew he was lying, and so I swatted at him like a fly and growled, “LIAR! Leave me ALONE and get outta my FACE!”. The look on his face was priceless… I thought his eyeballs might drop out onto the floor and roll off of the curb. I had just spent about 18 hours traveling at that point, so I was in no mood for scam artists… and I’m from New York!

So I went upstairs and waited under a sign on a dimly lit street that said “Shuttle stop”. I was praying the last shuttle was really at 11 and not 10. I had a feeling it would work out. About 15 cabs pulled up to ask me where I was going, and I’m almost perfected my “fly swat”, which is a wave of the hand and a shake of the head that says, “get away”. Once you make eye contact or begin to engage, there’s no hope of not wasting time. Luckily, the yellow and blue free shuttle pulled up 5 looooong dark minutes later and picked me up. There really wasn’t any chance to walk between terminals, because we got on the highway in between.

When I got to terminal 3, I checked with security to make sure I could enter the terminal and spend the night there. They said, “no problem”. So I told them I would get some food and come back. I went to a place 10 feet away called CFC and it sold… chicken, of course. After ordering a drumstick, chicken nuggets, fries and a chicken burger, my bill was $67000! About $7 US… I decided to keep my chicken burger for breakfast and headed back to the security checkpoint to enter the terminal. Only now they were “Closed”. So I reminded them of our deal that I could come inside, and they said, “ah, yes, come in!” I thanked them profusely, thinking how lucky I was to enter the desolate airport. And then I was escorted through the lobby, and right back outside again on the other side of the lobby! The waiting area is outside, with the cabbies and stray cats! At this point it was about 11:15pm, and I wanted to cry.

So, after sitting down on a bench with my bags and freaking out a bit, I decided to go to the area where all the security officers were hanging out and go “make friends”. I went over to them and sat down with my book, and of course, after I read less than 3 sentences, they were talking to me. I hung out with about 10 security guards for about 1 hour, and learned some Bahasa Indonesian language, and then one of them said, “if you are tired, please rest. We will watch out for you and wake you up at 4 for your flight”. Bingo!

So I went to sleep on a bench with the feral cats in the “security hang out zone”. I woke up a few times throughout the night to see that all the “security” guys, except for one were sleeping as well! So much for “security”! But everything was ok, I was not robbed or harassed in my sleep. I actually slept quite well, despite the circumstances, because I now carry around my pillow and a blanket and ear plugs! At 4am, I was woken up by a guard to let me know the terminal was open. The only collateral damage was that a feral cat ate my chicken burger! I found it on the ground, mauled with fang marks, so I threw it away. 2 seconds later, a security guard picked it out of the garbage and proceeded to eat it!! After I pointed out the fang marks!!!! He did eat the other side of it, but still….

So, then it was on to Jogjakarta, a town in Java where the World heritage sites of Borobudur and Prambanan are. Both are ancient temples. I met up with an Aussie/ Singaporian guy I met in Kota Kinabalu named Wayne. He’s a bit of a weinie, but he’s good to travel with, because he’s a nice guy, very organized, and he speaks the basics of the language here. So, I killed 3 more hours in Jogjakarta waiting for his flight to arrive, bringing the grand total travel time to something like 27 hours!

Tags: jakarta airport, layover



hello carrie gee...
Im sure that you really not enjoyed layover in Jakarta airport.
I have experience layover in jakarta airport.. I think is better go to the hotel near the airport if your flight is delayed.
when i was layover in jakarta, i go to FM7 Resort hotel. the hotel was good, and have many facilitites. you can relax yourself in hotel while waitring your flight.

  nidya Jan 15, 2014 6:52 PM



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