Arrival in Jakarta was expected to be a straight forward meeting with my Brazilian friend Rodrigo. He was touring South East Asia at the time and because I live in Hong Kong and had a week off work, we agreed to meet up and travel round a few parts of Indonesia. Panny Yu was in Germany with work and had also already been to Indonesia.
Rodrigo and I were both on flights from Singapore to Jakarta, but not the same flight, though for 30 minutes or so we were in Singapore airport at the same time. I had flown in from Manila in the Philippines.
Rodrigo had suggested just meeting at the hostel – it was the Hunny Hostel in the Harmoni District of Jakarta. But I thought it would be better to meet at the airport and travel to the hostel together as our flights were within a few hours of each other. That would have been a good idea, I thought. I was badly wrong. First though I boarded in Singapore pretty much on time and enjoyed a chicken roll, an orange juice, water and a biscuit. Philippine Airlines are good.
My first sighting of Indonesia, and the massive Jakarta as my plane descended into the city.
Arrival at Jakarta International Airport on time, and a few hours ahead of Rodrigo who was airborne at this point.
The welcome sign for Indonesia came from an Australian and New Zealand company!
Funny that Turkey and Timor Leste (East Timor) have just been included in the visa programme. Hong Kong and Macao don’t need a visa for Indonesia. United Kingdom and Ireland do. I had no space left in my British passport so I used my Irish one for my visa.
It was 25 US Dollars and a very fast and easy system to get your visa on the border.
Having arrived in Jakarta, I had a few hours to kill waiting for Rodrigo. I went outside first to suss the place out and find out where we could get a bus or taxi later. This proved to be an annoying experience as every 5 seconds I was approached by wanker taxi drivers asking me all sorts of questions about what am I looking for, what hotel do I want and worst of all do I want a taxi! So it was straight back in to stand or sit by arrivals and wait for Rodrigo. I agreed to meet him in the nearest bar to the arrivals.
However after a 20 minute walk round the ENTIRE arrivals section, I noticed there were NO obvious bars about at all. I went onto both floors of arrivals and thought this might now be an issue. Neither Rodrigo and I were travelling with a reachable working mobile phone (though I often take my old UK phone with me on these trips as emergency) and had no way to contact each other. Luckily I found Bengawan Solo Coffee Shop – right opposite the arrivals gate and I could see the flight schedule from there. So I figured “no problem, Rodrigo will come out here, and I will see him straight away! And even if I don’t he will look around and realise there are no bars here, so he will come to the coffee shop instead.” It was 2pm when I arrived in Jakarta. And about 2.30 pm when I sat down here for a cup of coffee to update my notes and wait on Rodrigo.
The view from my coffee. Time was getting on a bit, and it was now gone 3 pm. I didn’t buy a second coffee though and though I sat there for another 20 minutes or so, I decided to get up and just stand right at the arrivals section. I couldn’t miss Rodrigo, could I??
I stood right here by the arrivals section. On the board there were oddly 4 or 5 flights arriving from Singapore, including mine which was listed as LANDED. I knew Rodrigo’s flight was landing at 15.10, so it was around this time now. None of the flights on the board from Singapore landed at exactly 15.10 so I assumed his would be the next Singapore one to arrive.
I was still waiting and at 15.35, the third flight on the board from Singapore had arrived!! Rodrigo was here!!
I hadn’t copied Rodrigo’s flight number down for whatever reason, as I assumed that the flight in from Singapore would have been the only one after mine and I remembered his arrival time of 15.10. At this point however 2 Singapore flights had already left the arrivals board list (my flight and another one). I looked at the second flight down, JT 155 which had now arrived at Terminal 2E. This was certainly Rodrigo’s flight I had thought and simply waited there. For an hour. During that hour two more flights from Singapore (GA 831 and SQ 960) also both arrived and I assumed it was only a matter of time before Rodrigo emerged along the queue of hundreds of arrival passengers. When the next flight arrived, Valuair VF 203 I started to wonder if there was another exit that he could have come out of, or indeed if I had missed a bar in the airport and he was sat somewhere else waiting on me with a beer! I had been in Indonesia almost 3 hours and 6 Singapore flights had now arrived. Mine and 5 others – one of which surely was Rodrigos!
After the 16.55 flight arrived – the Y6 862 flight, I noticed there wasn’t another Singapore flight arriving until 18:05, and I had decided that one wouldn’t be Rodrigo’s flight and even if it was, as it was 3 hours delayed, he would have known I knew about the delay having been waiting around, and may well have gone on to the hostel on my own. With time ticking I took another walk hoping in vain that Rodrigo was around. He just wasn’t and I got very frustrated. I even wondered at one point if Jakarta had two airports and he had flown into completely the other airport. Then I found a SECOND arrivals entrance so I waited by that one for about 30 minutes. The SQ Flight had now arrived and still no sign of Rodrigo. I asked at information during this whole saga and they showed me all the Singapore flights that had arrived, none of them were delayed by a long time, so Rodrigo was here somewhere!
I stayed for a further 30 minutes at the first arrivals section. My reason for that was that I had also flown in from Singapore and came out there, so I assumed he had too and would have come out the same exit. I got really worried about him after 6pm and thought either one of three things:
1. He had arrived on time, looked for 3 hours to find me and couldn’t so he assumed I had gone back to the hostel as I couldn’t find him, therefore he headed to the hostel.
2. His flight was delayed or cancelled and wasn’t even on that list.
3. Jakarta has two large airports and he had flown into the other one and I hadn’t checked.
(in the end the real reason was none of those three)
But after 4 hours of waiting (my flight had got in at 2 pm, it was now 6 pm) so I gathered that one of those 3 things had occurred and I headed back to the hostel on my own. I had two options to get back – bus and taxi. But by getting the bus I would also have needed a taxi after that, as the bus goes to Gambir, rather than anywhere near Harmoni, so I got in a Bluebird taxi to Hunny Hostel.
It was just getting dark as I got into the taxi and I really wondered where the hell Rodrigo was. At a point like this, having a mobile phone would really have helped both of us. BUT the real fault lay with me as I was sure there would be a bar next to arrivals and we would meet there. The weirdest part of the entire story was that out of the EIGHT (8) Singapore flights that landed during the time I was waiting for Rodrigo, NOT ONE of them were his flight and it was completely the WRONG terminal I was at, yet somehow the CORRECT Airport – I learned that Jakarta does only have one International Airport.
I had scanned EVERY part of that airport arrivals section looking for Rodrigo and after 3-4 hours of doing that you know something is wrong – what a pity I didn’t print his flight details either. It was all my fault and I could only presume we would meet at the hostel as my taxi veered its way into the suburbs of Jakarta.
One of the toll road charges on route to Jakarta.
In the end the taxi cost me about 89,000 Rupiah. That’s under $9 US Dollars.
I arrived back at the Hunny Hostel and NO sign of Rodrigo. I was so gutted and angry with myself. I really could not understand what had gone wrong. Why had he not arrived in that four hour period?? Had I even got the wrong day??
I got checked into the Hunny Hostel and met Adrian a guy from Switzerland. This guy Adrian turned out to be a wanker. He steals stuff from fellow travellers, travels alone and is arrogant. I then chatted to the staff and used Facebook on their internet to send a message in vain to Rodrigo.
Our room in Hunni Hostel, Harmoni, Jakarta.
Everything had gone wrong already and I was now convinced Rodrigo’s flight was simply not even in yet and had been delayed by many hours, hence why I didn’t see him. But, I was on holiday and needed to relax and chill out despite the worry so I grabbed a beer. A Bintang. Then I checked Rodrigo’s flight details and tried to find out if he had landed.
He had and he was only 41 minutes late! He had arrived at 3.51 pm, just over 1 and a hlaf hours after me. I was standing by Arrivals for 2 hours after that. WHY THE HELL HAD I NOT SEEN HIM??? The website even said Arrival Gate 2, and I had been to both Arrival Gate 1 and Arrival Gate 2. The answer came 5 minutes later when he comes in the door of the hostel, rightfully angry at me, thinking I had deliberately let him down and just came straight to the hostel. Of course I hadn’t, BUT I had been waiting at completely the WRONG ARRIVALS gate in completely the WRONG TERMINAL for 4 hours. He flew into Terminal 3, a 10 – 15 minute bus ride away from the Terminals I was at (1 and 2). I was so angry with myself and all I could do was apologise to Rodrigo, shake his hand, be happy we were both there safe and offer him a beer.
Happiness arrived with a few beers and a catch up. Rodrigo, I am still so sorry about what happened and take full responsibility. When we are reunited in another country in 2013 (hopefully) I’ll let you do all the planning…
We ordered a pizza with beef pepperoni as it was late and we had an early start the next morning for Yogyakarta Tour so we didn’t leave the hostel that night. It had been a long, frustrating day. But having friends and a beer always makes you happy again. Thanks and sorry once again Rodrigo.
From – Changi Airport, SINGAPORE
To – Jakarta, INDONESIA
Nationalities Met – Singaporean, Indonesian, Swiss
Transport Used – Aeroplane, Taxi
Where We Stayed – Hunny Hostel, Harmoni, Jakarta
Strange Currencies – Indonesian Rupiah
Key Songs –
NIRVANA – ALL APOLOGIES:
REM – THE APOLOGIST/SOUTHERN CENTRAL RAIN (I’M SORRY):
HANNAH MONTANA – MIXED UP:
ALICE IN CHAINS – GOT ME WRONG (TERMINAL 5):
35 MINUTES IN SINGAPORE AIRPORT BEFORE THE FLIGHT TO JAKARTA:
ARRIVAL IN JAKARTA AIRPORT WAITING FOR RODRIGO:
BITING THE BULLET AND GETTING A TAXI AFTER 4 HOURS WAITING:
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