Friday, March 30, 2007

more airport drama

I promised on the myspace that there would be more airports, but domestic Indonesian flights are pretty cool, They are set up like bus terminals (in capitalist counties that have more than just Greyhound that is) with each of the airlines having a counter where you can buy tickets minutes before the plane leaves. In lieu of security, they make everyone pay a departure fee and everything is very efficient and stress free. Plus there is the sexy dying factor. Planes crash in Indo all the time, I heard 75 in the last 5 years. It’s only about one a month, but news from one crash carries on for a few weeks and by then a new one has happened so there are always grieving widows and officials promising to investigate this tragic instance. I’m hereby declaring Indonesia the country with the best news. ‘Merica, Brasil, and Colombia all have plenty of folks killing each other and kids accidentally getting shot, but here there are always earthquakes, volcanoes, planes crashing, boats sinking, floods, and that mysterious underground mud that is eating entire cities. The weather here is awesomely destructive, and poor building standards combined with lack of oversight contribute to the devastation.

Sumatra is a big, big place and with only a few days left on my non-extendable tourist visa, I had to hurry. Tried to get some corruption in my passport, but dude at immigration was furious I had an airtight visa he couldn’t fix with a bribe. Coulda gotten a doctor’s not saying I was unfit to travel (that’s what former South American dictators do when they want to avoid extradition), but that seemed like too much effort. A plane ride would hurt the budget a bit, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I had an idea what I wanted to pay and an agency in town offered me the price for one of the shadier airlines. Wasn’t sure I’d make it to the airport in time for the departure though, so I passed. Got to the airport at 12:45 and started shopping. One of the first places had a 3:45 flight for a little more than I wanted to pay. If I have to haggle with people and navigate a new city in a language I don’t understand I prefer it not to be dark outside. As this plane wouldn’t arrive in time for me to see, I asked a few other places. Some were already sold out, some were too expensive, and some had too high of a death rate. Having satisfied my bargain hunting instincts, I went back ready to drop several days food and lodging expenses on a plane ticket.

“Padang, Pool”
No, no, no, no, how can it be full? I was in here only 15-20 minutes ago. This sucks. I did another lap, but there was nothing that afternoon or the next day for less than a ridiculous amount of money. Oh well, suppose a 38 hour bus/ferry/bus ride will be more interesting anyways.

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