Bangka Island

We weren’t the only ones heading to Jakarta from Australia. Lia’s father flew out from Sydney as well and he wanted us to go to the island where Lia was born to visit the cemetery where her mother lies.

He insisted on paying for our journey but due to the short amount of time we had, we only could spend a few hours there. In fact we spent most of that day in the airports.

As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch and we soon discovered that the trip over was paid for but not the return trip. Still, it was nice to visit even though it was for such a short time.

We visited the cemetery, had lunch and did some shopping for foodstuffs at a local market and got some local powdered fish and fresh ground pepper which we bought back to Australia with us. We then went back to Lia’s uncle’s house.

We were there for a little while and I was keeping an eye on the time because I was under the impression that our flight left at 1pm and as it got closer to 12, I started to panic.

OK, so I am normally pretty good at just letting things happen and not planning too much into it but there are some things you just shouldn’t leave to chance, and when you have a really tight itinerary, travel is not something to mess with.

So it’s getting even closer to 12 and I’m starting to mention to Lia that we’re supposed to be at the airport an hour before the flight and she’s not seeming that worried but I’m starting to really get panicked. I’m thinking that if we don’t get on this flight we won’t be able to get back to Jakarta until tomorrow, thus missing our flight to Bali. We also had to get to the Mall near Tomang to pick up our wedding rings and Lia’s wedding dress was also being delivered to her auntie’s house that evening.

So midday comes along and I’m starting to find it difficult to breath but finally we start say good bye to Lia’s family and head back to the airport.

It’s there that I discover that there was actually NO booking to return to Jakarta and there was talk about the flights for the rest of the day being booked out.

Luckily we did get a flight, one that was supposed to be boarding in half an hour so I started to feel a lot better.

Of course, being a domestic flight in Indonesia, it was delayed meaning we sat in the airport for another two hours.

Arriving back in Jakarta we got picked up by a dodgy taxi which turned out not to be a taxi at all. As we were leaving (after being stung about rp6,000 more than if we’d waited at the ranks for a real one) I noticed that the meter was not connected and in fact the usual identification tags were not there.

The suave smooth talking young man who originally picked us up was replaced by an older guy who clearly had a death wish as he flew down the Jakarta expressways at 130km an hour weaving in and out of the traffic.

Possibly the most annoying thing was that, as we got close to Lia’s aunties house he pulled off the expressway and cut through the impossibly heavy Jakarta peak traffic, basically to avoid paying the toll and effectively adding 40 minutes to our journey.

In the end rp 6,000 is nothing for us. It’s pocket change, less than a dollar, but that really isn’t the point and while I really didn’t worry too much after we got back to Tomang, Lia was still really pissed for a couple of days after.

And thus ended our free trip to Bangka, the free trip that wasn’t!


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