Saturday, January 31, 2009

It has begun

The invitation

Somewhere in December, Mutiara told me that Kakak was getting married to KP. Yes, thanks to the internet, we still keep in touch. She invited me to attend the wedding. But the dates weren’t set yet. In the weeks that followed, eventually the date was set and Mutiara got busy with the wedding preparation. I on the other hand, got busy with work and at the same time preparing for the trips (saving up money and scouting for the best air fare).

I wasn’t sure my boss would approve my leave. Nevertheless, I booked a flight ticket online. As the date drew nearer, I finally realized that it would be a long weekend break due to the Chinese New Year Holiday! So I just had to apply a day leave and to my surprised, it was approved with no question asked.

And so began yet another solo trip to Cibinong on Saturday 24th January 2009.

Day 1 (Saturday 24th January 2009) – Earful

I had initially wanted to take the bus to the airport. Unfortunately, I was caught in an unexpected traffic jams in my small town, while I was running some errands. Not to mention that I accidently left my international-roaming-enabled-phone on my bed. I had to turn back to pick it up, and by then, it was probably too late to take the bus. I had to ask mom to send me to meet my brother half way to the airport. Mom, only to be told about the trip two days before departure, grudgingly drops me off at the rendezvous point.

It was 12.30pm. I was calm. My flight is at 2.50pm. and the check-in counter closes 45 minutes before the flight. There were still plenty of time (but might not enough if I take the bus). But my brother was furious. He told me that I be in the airport two hours prior the departure time. He lectured me about the security check and clearance. In my previous travel to Indonesia, I never had any problem with security checks. Half an hour later, we reached the airport.

I got my bags scanned and queued at the check-in counter. The lady behind the counter was surprised that I checked-in my small pack instead of my big backpack. I told her that I have liquid in the small back. She understood and expressed her concern that the small pack might get damage or lost. To which I told her it’s okay, the bag contains only liquid in a plastic bottle. It’s my big backpack that I can’t afford to loose.

I got my boarding pass, got through another security check and in a few minutes, got cleared by the immigration. There were many people at the boarding hall. I still had plenty of time to kill. I found a seat, sat down and began to switch on my laptop. I still have plenty of downloaded e-mails to read. Then I realized that I need a power point if I still want to use the laptop onboard the airplane. I looked around and saw another westerner scouting a power point. We booth couldn’t find any near the seating area. I decided to save my battery for the two hours flight and switch off my laptop.

It was around 2.30pm when we started queuing to board the plane. I sat at the window seat, next to a Korean mother and son. The plane took off around 3.20pm, 30 minutes delayed from the scheduled time.

Day 1 (Saturday 24th January 2009) – Killing time in the sky

I had planned to watch some film downloaded into my laptop. Unfortunately, I forgot to take out my earphone. Among the cabin noise, the sound from my small laptop speaker was drowned. I couldn’t hear a thing. So I decide to continue reading my e-mails. And write offline replies. I also got started with some office documentation that needed to be done. However, I had to stop a few times. The flight was a bit bumpy. Perhaps due to some bad weather. Reading while in a bumpy ride caused me to have a little bit of a headache.

The Korean boy next to me dozed off almost throughout the two hours flight. The mom on the other hand woke up during some of those bumpy ride. She noticed the photo on my computer desktop. She commented how cute the little girl. Sensing her skepticism of the girl being my daughter (thought I’m old enough to have a school going child), I explained to her that it’s a photo of my little niece.

I continued with my work. The Korean lady took out a brown exercise book (the kind that have “Rukun Negara” written at the back cover), and began reading. Every now and then she took out an electronic dictionary. I glanced over and realized that she’s learning English. There’s a lot of commonly used English sentences written in the pages. I could make out some of the sentences. It wasn’t the simple basic English sentences. She’s probably in an intermediate level.

Before we knew it, it was time to land.

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