Monday, January 30, 2012

Around the World: On a Wing and a Prayer

January 31, 1992

Today is my last day on Bali.  Toasted the island with a few refreshing sips of Bintang, the local beer, before packing up for the trip to Jakarta tonight and the flight to Hong Kong tomorrow morning.  The peaceful, beach side setting is frequently interrupted by nearby vendors who seek out tourists and relentlessly attempt to persuade them into their shops.  "Come and see my shop", "I give you cheap price", "You buy one thing and bring me luck."  I know once I'm in the store, being not interested is not an option if I plan on leaving and as much as I sympathize that these people are only trying to earn a living, I am finding it easier and easier to lose my patience with the constant badgering.

Bintang by the beach

Said our goodbye's at Denpasar airport and now I am waiting for my 9pm flight to Jakarta.  There is very little offered in the way of seating in the departure lounge, so I've turned my backpack into a chair.  To pass the time, I dig out my sewing kit and make an attempt to embroider a Canadian flag on my backpack.  I know nothing of embroidery, so I'm pretty impressed that my lame effort is almost recognizable.

My 9pm flight has been delayed until 3:45am because of an unknown maintenance issue.  I was given the option to get on another flight scheduled to leave at 9:30, now delayed until 11pm for another unspecified maintenance issue.  An airline staff member is handing out free drinks and cookies to apologize for the delay.  Nothing else to do but check out the bathroom, and thankfully, the facilities come with instructions.  There's a hole in the tile floor with foot prints painted on either side.  I think I get it.  This reminds me of my high school's frosty frolic evenings, except there's no snow and I'm wearing a lot less clothes.

Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia

Finally, we are boarding the plane.  Some of the seat covers are torn which goes well with the rest of the interior, indicating that this plane has seen better days.  I just hope it still flies.

Arrived in Jakarta with flames spurting from one of the engines.There is a garbled announcement, something about losing the use of one engine in flight and to follow instructions to evacuate the aircraft.  There are only 30 people on board so we are all quickly ushered out of the aircraft down a transportable staircase and into a waiting bus that whisks us to the terminal. While I am elated to have landed safely, the crew and airport staff are treating the situation as a minor inconvenience, like this sort of thing happens all the time.  A bench outside Jakarta International Airport is my home for the night until I board the plane for Hong Kong in the morning. 

• ¤ •
"How we sing as we limp through the air.
Look below, there's our field over there!
With just one motor gone,
We can still carry on,
Comin' in on a wing and a prayer."
~Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh