My flight to Jakarta was grounded on the runway at Singapore Changi Airport last January 19. I didn’t expect that. I should’ve known better that Changi is such a busy port which could have heavy air traffic cum ground delays. The plane finally took off thirty minutes after it was supposed to.
We arrived in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (in Cengkareng, Jakarta) at around 11AM, (Western Indonesian time - GMT +7, 1 hour late of Singapore time). As I exited the terminal after immigration and baggage check, many booths offered travellers taxi services. A girl from one of the booths waved her hand; so curiously, I approached her and asked how much it is going to Bandung. It was a whopping 780,000 rupiahs by way of taxi! Convert, convert, convert! It’s roughly 110 Singapore dollars for a 3-hour trip! So I just smiled, refused the offer politely and walked to the exit. I had always known I could get a rate of less than 100,000 rupiahs.
I had a (supposed) long time waiting though for it was only 12 noon. I had lunch at A&W restaurant munching over a crispy chicken sandwich (hamburger) with a tasty soup of carrots, pork and tomatoes and Coke (damage: 51,000 rupiahs).
Making use of the draggy time, I went strolling outside of the curvy airport, taking pictures. Looking like an obvious tourist, someone from airport security greeted me ‘moshi moshi’. I nodded, giggled inside and a smile spread wide on my face.
I got weary-tired so I kept walking back and forth, passing the X-Trans booth for the third time when one of the staff came running telling me we’re leaving even though it’s only 12:45PM. Great, they scrapped my 1:45PM ticket and printed out a 12:45PM ticket. I had no idea why, no question asked, all I knew was that I had just escaped boredom. I just wanted my feet moving already.
Just when I thought everything would turn out perfect that day, rallying labor unions blocked the Cikarang toll road causing us an hour of stagnation that searing afternoon. Wow, it didn’t speak shy of my 1:45PM ticket that went to the bin.
There were a series of beautiful sceneries on our way to Bandung that helped ease the traffic jam experienced earlier.
We arrived in Bandung (stopped at Oncom Raos) four hours later. I asked my co-passengers Rita and her daughter, Tiara (a medical student in Solo) the way to Bandung train station - they had been waiting for their son (an accounting student in Bandung) to fetch them. The pair didn’t have any idea since they were only there for a vacation, being natives of Sarawak. However, they asked if I wanted to come with them because her son was driving. Bingo! I said, yes, of course. They drove me to the train station for free and I was up waiting for my 8PM train to Yogyakarta via Lodaya Malam (Night) train.
There were more good souls during my solo backpacking in Indonesia as you would know later.