THURSDAY the 7th March.
Morning Melbourne! This feels early (even by my getting-up standards). Wait a minute – IT IS! 😵
4.29am: That’s what I call an early start! 😯
5.15am: We checked out of the Hotel and headed for Gate 14a, but not before we’d tried out the Qantas Business Lounge.
Oh dear! The Lounge may have scored highly on size (it’s around the same size as Tasmania!) but the quantity and quality of food on offer was very disappointing! Even those pseudo-Sausages from the Crown Plaza in Canberra had followed us here and made a re-appearance! The Table/Chair arrangement seemed to be striving for maximum capacity too with (IMHO) the tables and chairs far too close together. 😕
7.30am: Our Garuda International flight (GA717) was called on time and we were soon languishing in Business Class being forced to choose between Champagne, Juice or a Cuppa! Oh, the stress of it all! At least I’ve outrun the sausages! 😊
10.00am: Whoosh! Here we are in Jakarta (with a -4 hour time difference), aiming to return to that lush Hotel that we spent just a few hours in on the way out here – the alphabetically-challenged: FM7 Hotel.
But after passing through Immigration, our first task was to seek out ‘the man in yellow’ from the Hotel, who was supposed to meet us (and who co-ordinated the mini-bus). It was oh-so-simple on the way out here but NOT this time round! 🙄
They dress brightly out here, so quite a few men in yellow, but no sign of the THE man-in-yellow! 😩. And making it more fun, was the extreme humidity and the lack of an obvious taxi-rank in order to exercise a possible ‘Plan B’. I hate this Airport and I’ve only been here twice! 😕
A quick call to the Hotel! – and between their (very) broken English and my non-existent Indonesian, they swung into action. Within 10 minutes, our banana-coloured local was seen in the distance looking very stressed. We made contact and were soon jostling for position with the rest of mankind, all looking for our respective mini-buses.
Traffic was manic outside the Terminal requiring truncheon-wielding-helmet-wearing local Police to take control of the situation. 15 minutes later we were on-board our mini-bus and heading for the Hotel – what a relief! 😎
Just like roads in Rome, here they also all seem to lead to lead to one place! That place, luckily, seemed to be our Hotel (as we experienced yet another route here compared with our previous visit). The good news this time was that we were there in no time. 👍
What our Hotel lacked in letters, it more than made up for in sheer ‘wow factor’ – and we’ve got a whole 10 hours here before we’re back on a plane heading for Schiphol (and the 13½ hour flight).
7.00pm: We headed back to the Airport in time for our flight at 10.45pm where we lose another 6 hours by the time we arrive.
10.45pm: We’re off! See you closer to home! 😊