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Our Jakarta Adventure - The Beginning

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It started badly.

While waiting for our Philippine Airlines flight, I decided to sit at the farthest end of the terminal, which was near Gate 1, so that there would be fewer people going to the toilet. We were going to board at Gate 7. It’s end to end but I was not worried. I listened to every announcement to be sure it wasn’t our flight. When it was almost time to board, I told Via that I wanted to go one more time to the toilet. We had 10 minutes to spare, after all our boarding time was 8:50 am. Imagine my anxiety while waiting in line, I heard an announcement that it was “Last passengers for Jakarta flight 539.” In my head was, “What?! But there was no announcement that flight was already boarding!” So I told myself (as people rationalize a situation to fit their understanding of it), they were calling for passengers for the last row. I told Via, we have time and we’re almost there, only 5 more people in line ahead of us.

We finally finished our business at the toilet and just as we were exiting, I heard another announcement. Last 4 passengers for flight 539 to Jakarta. Passenger A, Passenger B, Passenger Marie, and Passenger Via. I was like (realization dawning on me), “What?! So the announcement earlier WAS calling for last passengers.”

Via! That’s us! We have to run! So we ran from one end of the terminal to the other end. When we reached Gate 7, the two other passengers got there just ahead of us. They were an old couple, a grandfather and a grandmother. Slow walkers. Understandable that they were late. Us? We had no excuse. But, I attempted to complain that there was NO announcement. However, as we ran from Gate 1 to Gate 7, I was terribly out of breath and there was still the long distance from the gate to the tube and onto the plane. I gave up complaining and just walked on trying to catch my breath.

The flight was uneventful. Food was served about an hour into the flight. We had a choice of beef stew or fried fish with tomato sauce. Via had the beef and I had the fish. There was also macaroni salad and crema dessert. Let me just say that I enjoy airline food. I always look forward to the meals being served and I always eat EVERYTHING including Via’s leftovers. She only eats the main meal not the sides. The flight attendant also gave me a whole can of coke. Yay! Usually it’s given in a cup and if you want more, you have to ask. Four hours passed quickly and we arrived in Jakarta 15 minutes early.

After getting through immigration, I debated whether to withdraw money at the ATM at the airport but since I found some Rupiah at home, I decided against it thinking the Rupiah I had would be enough for the taxi. Daddy would not be able to meet us because he was performing an operation. He said he would send Uber for us but then I couldn’t say our exact location at the airport so we decided to just take the Bluebird Taxi which was the most reliable and safe in Jakarta. Before finding a taxi, I counted my Rupiah again. It wasn’t as much as I thought I had. All the zeroes confused me. Still, I thought IDR86,000 was enough. I read in an online travel forum that taxi fare from Soekarno-Hatta Airport to the Central Jakarta is about IDR40,000. We got in a taxi and were on our way to Hotel Aryaduta in Central Jakarta.

I was watching the meter closely since I had limited IDR with me and looking at the fare rising steadily with the city nowhere in sight was making me anxious. Finally, the meter read IDR70,000 with us still in the expressway and the toll coming up. The driver said toll was IDR16,000. Gosh! That’s all my money and we’re not yet in the city. After getting through the toll, I told the driver if we could find my bank’s ATM before proceeding to the hotel. He said that there was an ATM at Hotel Aryaduta. I mulled that over in my head. My bank’s ATM. At the hotel. But I looked up all my bank’s ATM locations beforehand and there was none at the hotel. So I asked him again if we could stop by my bank. After going back and forth, I showed him all the IDR I had which was not enough to pay the cab fare. He FINALLY understood I did not have enough money to pay him. HA-HA-HA!

We soon drove up to my bank and I withdrew from the ATM. I know. I know. It’s dangerous to let the driver know that I had money to get just like that. But I trust Bluebird taxi. We arrived safely at Hotel Aryaduta and I gave him a IDR40,000 tip (which is about P150). Wow that was generous of me!


Check in was fast. The booking was in Daddy’s name but he notified the hotel that Via and I would be checking in without him. Soon we were in our room. Via checked out everything and found the room to her satisfaction. Do you know that she asked Daddy if the hotel was five star and what kind of room was booked?


For dinner we walked to the nearby KFC Tugu Tani. Once we had our food, I was looking for spoons and forks and remembered they don’t have it. We eat with our hands and there’s no gravy. Still we were very hungry and did not mind. All’s well that ends well.

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