Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 4 (18/3/2008) - Delayed

Yes, I know the ending for Jakarta enteries is very much delayed. I promise, this is the last entry for Day 4. No, the taxi to the airport did not caused me to be delayed. In fact the taxi ride was uneventful. No “macet” nor road accident along the way.

It was a wonderful drive to the “bandara” (translation: airport). I chatted with the taxi driver (actually the taxi driver did most of the talking). Thanks to Mutiara, according to the taxi driver, I (finally) sounded like a local! Since I was speaking fairly slowly, the taxi driver had to follow my pace of talking. Hence, it gave me ample time to understand and then, participate in the conversation using the ‘formal’ Bahasa Indonesia.

I didn’t have any luggage to check-in. So by 4.30pm, I had safely passed the immigration check. I had almost two hours to kill. I did a mental arithmetic. The flight should take about two hours to get to Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur time is one hour ahead of Jakarta time. That would mean touching down in Kuala Lumpur at approximately 9.00pm Kuala Lumpur time. Great! I could take my dinner in Malaysia.

As I wandered from one airport shop to another, to kill my two hours (or so I thought), I found an electronic information board – the one that displays flight information. I was horrified to discover that my flight was rescheduled to 8.10pm! Coincidently, I had a dead mobile phone (I wasn’t sure if it was because I dropped it or because the charger was faulty). Tried the public phone at the airport, but for some reason I couldn’t get through to the people back home.

After a few futile attempts to contact those at home, I resigned my fate to the Almighty. Surprisingly I did not panicked at all. I contemplated on telephoning Mutiara to inform her of the ‘delay’ but decided against it. What could she do. She couldn’t ask the airplane to leave early just for me. Besides, I didn’t think I could talk to her without bursting into tears.

Another quick arithmetic made me to conclude that it would be too late to have dinner in Malaysia. So I headed to the food court. Nothing on the menu seemed to grab my appetite. At the end I settled for a cup of hot chocolate and two slices of smoked-salmon sandwiches. I ate only one slice of sandwiches and emptied my cup of hot chocolate. Packed the other slice of sandwiches into my backpack and continued to wandered at the terminal. Bought some souvenir for people back home. Like most shops in other airports, the prices were a bit more expensive if compared to shops at outside of the airport.

Tired of walking, I headed to the boarding gate. I spotted a row of chairs near the gate. A lady in her late forties or early fifties was sitting alone. I went near her:
Me: Maaf, bu. Ada orang? (Excuse me, ma’am. Is the seat taken?)
Lady: Nggak. Silakan. (No. Please sit.)

By then I was hungry again. So put down my backpack, and sat on a chair next to her. I took out my remaining sandwiches
Me [being polite]: Jemput makan, ya bu. (Have dinner ma’am.)
Lady: Terima kasih, silakan. (Thank you, enjoy your meal)

Once I finished my sandwiches, we somehow went into an engaging conversation. I was glad she understood English for my brain was kind of tired translating my thoughts into formal Bahasa Malaysia. Quite frankly, I don’t use formal Bahasa Malaysia in my daily live. She on the other hand, admitted that certain Bahasa Malaysia phrases sounds funny to her Indonesian ears. And so we chatted mostly in English.

The lady, HM, is a headmistress visiting her engineer sister who resides in Malaysia. Judging from my simple-no-brand clothes, she was surprised to find me able to speak fluent English with little difficulties. She thought I was still in high-school! I assured her that I was old enough to have a school-going child (which I might have if I was married). She was also surprised that I was bold and brave enough to go for a solo-backpacking trip to Jakarta.

Before we knew it, it was almost 8pm. We made our way to the boarding area. There was a short queue for a final security check. A few minutes later, we were in the boarding area, only to discover that the flight was further delayed! We took two seats facing each other and continued chatting. Near us was a loud group of Malaysian family – Mommy, Daddy, Aunty, teenage son, and two young sons.

The loud family were returning from a big shopping spree in Jakarta and Bandung. They asked us a few questions. But they were more interested in indulging themselves about the things they bought. I could see from HM’s face that it was somewhat hard for her to understand what the Malaysian family was saying. I told HM that it was a local Malaysian dialect.

The loud family was commenting on how cheap things were. And how they had spent at least RM 1000. They also discovered that some executives earn merely IDR 2Million (roughly around RM700). I quietly told them, after my ‘home-stay’ with Mutiara, IDR 2 Million, is a lot of money. HM too, agreed. In lower voice, HM and I doubted that their hired driver would have take them to similar places that I had been (the non-touristy places).

Weary of the loud family, we were glad when the boarding gate finally opened. We were taken on a bus to the waiting aeroplane. Since it was free seating, HM and I sat next to each other and continued chatting. The aeroplane finally left the tarmac around 9pm.

We reached Kuala Lumpur LCCT around 12am (Malaysian time). I gave my phone number and bid adieu to HM. After a little drama, I finally reach my brother’s place around 2am. With that, my four-days-trip finally ended!

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