Adelaide to Jakarta - the story so far.

April 1, 2012 - Jakarta, Indonesia

After weeks of very little sleep trying to prepare for this trip while balancing demands at work, I came up with a brilliant idea while enjoying the wedding of Matthew & Hannah King the night before our 6am departure flight from Adelaide. After a couple of lubricating beverages and some beautiful speeches, I decided it made sense to pull an all-nighter, fight the urge to sleep and get myself to a point where I was so tired I was delirious. So, that's exactly what I did.


Leaving the wedding at 12:30am, we were home just after 1am and our scheduled pick up was at 4:30am. 4 hours, that's not too hard, right? Lex's brother Julian and his girlfriend (or his wife if anyone in Dubai asks as it is illegal to stay in the same room if you're not married!) decided they'd go to bed for a few hours sleep, while Lex and I battled through. At 3am, and being part of the iGeneration, we watched with amazement and more than a dash of horror as our various iClocks all wound themselves back to 2am - daylight savings had ended, that's an extra hour of sleep my cunning yet slightly foolish plan had cost us.


Fighting extremely heavy eyelids, we made 3am for a second time, when I decided it was time to put the finishing touches to the masterpiece that was my packed duffel bag. When I returned to the lounge Lex was slumped in her chair, using her laptop as a pillow - just like a scene out of a Hollywood movie! She woke as I walked back into the room, and in a zombie-trance like state picked herself up and threw herself face first on to couch to sleep - not graceful, but she'd achieved what she wanted - sleep! I kept on fighting the urge to sleep, and by the time 4am hit and it was time for me to wake the troops, I was feeling like I'd never need sleep again, I felt fine. 10 minutes later I could barely string a sentence together, giggling like a little schoolgirl at my poor jokes (and I know what you're thinking, all my jokes are poor - but these were poor even for me).


Lex's parents picked us up for the airport run, I managed to stay awake for the drive and the others, tired but alot more alert than I, appeared relatively excited to be starting our journey. Adelaide Airport was empty, so everything was moving quickly, and it seemed to take forever for the time to board our flight to arrive, but it finally came and the 4 of us piled on the plane ready to start what can only be described as torture - 34 hours of non-stop travel. Adelaide to Sydney, a 4 hour stopover at Sydney, Sydney to Jakarta, another 4 hour stopover, Jakarta to Dubai with just the hour stopover this time, and then finally Dubai to Amsterdam and the promise of herring, chips with mayonnaise and Heineken to keep us going.


The flight to Sydney was pretty smooth as far as I was concerned, I was asleep minutes after take off and woke up not long before we landed, and I'm told the others slept as well. Once we landed, we paid the ridiculously steep $5.50 to catch a bus from the Domestic Terminal to the International Terminal, and headed off to the Garuda check-in counters. We lined up, and eventually we got served by an unenthusiastic but surprisingly helpful lady, who managed to check us through to Amsterdam and score us window and aisle seats for each couple on both flights, no mean feat given the planes were pretty much full. She also scored us tickets to the Garuda Lounge in Jakarta, free food and free drinks - and best of all free wifi would await us! Despite her surly nature, I was impressed with her efforts, as it is fair to say I wasn't overly impressed with Garuda so far.


After securing our bargain $1400 per person return flights to Amsterdam with a stop in Dubai, I must admit my expectations were low. Even I, however, did not expect Garuda to change our flights home and somehow not realise that they had us leaving Jakarta some 16 hours before we arrived even though all our flights were on the 1 booking itinerary - don't suppose anyone has a DeLorean we could borrow! We managed to get that fixed, and then they sent us the e-tickets and our 30kg baggage allowance (one of the reasons we chose Garuda) had been changed to 20kgs from Dubai to Sydney on the way home. When questioned, Garuda told us that this is because the 30kg limit is only for Amsterdam trips, and once we stop in Dubai (a stop that they charged us $100 for I might add), it became a seperate trip. I still don't agree with their logic, but the lady at the information desk did tell us we should be ok...should is such a dangerous word!


So, with a decent check-in experience, we started to wander through the Duty Free, sampling the alcohol testers as we went! We boarded the plane with renewed optimism, and I must admit I was pretty impressed. The plane was as you'd expect in economy, but the service was pretty good. We were given the usual pillow, blanket and eye patch on arrival, but they also gave us toasty socks to keep our feet warm. We served some tasty meatball tagliatelle and a trifle for the main service, which pleased Lex and disappointed me as we'd both expected Asian food! We also had packed nuts and best of all, Weiss Ice Cream Bars! We even got the hot towels, so for the price we'd paid, so far we really couldn't complain about the flight, other than it takes to long, but that's hardly Garuda's fault!


Even the on-board entertainment contained a decent range of new releases, though not as good as the selection of movies and shows I'd pre-loaded onto my brand new Motorola Tablet, the very Tablet used to type this journal. Lex and I managed to get some sleep on the flight, not a huge amount, but enough to keep us ticking over, though Lex was feeling a bit sick so she wasn't enjoying the flight at all. The rest of the flight was pretty smooth, until we near Jakarta and we were greeted by one rather large electrical storm. The lightning was extremely close, and at times you couldn't pick a gap between the flash of the lightning and the boom of the thunder and the rain was absolutely bucketing down. Credit to the pilot though, the landing was first class and we hurriedly got off the plane and headed to the Garuda Lounge. Alcohol wasn't free, but there was some good food and free soft drinks and we can hook up to the wifi while we tried to pass 4 hours.


April 1, 2012
What a trip guys, I hope the rest of it will be as smooth as so far ;-). Take care and get some rest!
April 2, 2012
Happy landings. Remember the old Customs Dept. acronym for GARUDA was"Good and reliable under Dutch administration".
April 2, 2012
Hi guy's, sounds like you are having a great time so far, love the journal, can't wait to read the next part of your journey. Take care :)
April 2, 2012
Awsome blog thanks for the entertaining read - got to get through the working day some how lol! Hope you got some sleep Jason! Enjoy the trip and have fun!
The Bulfords:
April 2, 2012
Lex's sickness...was it morning sickness by any chance?! ;)
April 3, 2012
Hmmmmm, I am with the Bulfords! Well, that trip sounded appealing, at least he real long haul is behind you. Go forth and enjoy your adventures <3
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