04 August 2009


It's my third full day in Yogyakarta, and I'm finally getting my blog set up!  Since really only the members of my immediate family have been getting the play-by-play emails, I'll do a quick recap for the rest of you.  I departed from San Francisco around 1:30AM on the morning of Saturday, August 1st (effectively Friday night) which was well-timed, in my opinion, as I could make all my last-round phone calls on my US phone and then proceed to get on a plane and fall asleep -- good for not thinking too hard about what was about to happen.  My 13.5 hour Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong was uneventful: mostly I napped, ordered movies off the menu of my personal seatback television (got "Duplicity" in right there at the last minute, yes!) and dutifully ate my airplane food.  I had a couple hour layover in Hong Kong, during which I gratefully soaked up the bandwidth of the airport's free wireless -- composing the first of said play-by-play emails to my family, Facebook chatting with Elias, and video chatting with my Dad.  After that I got on my 4.5 hour flight to Jakarta, which commenced the most complicated part of my trip: in Jakarta I had to go through customs, collect my baggage, and transfer to the domestic terminal for my flight to Yogya, which somehow involved being led into the airport parking lot by a dude who seemed like he probably worked at the airport and being ushered in to a van which seemed like it could probably be a legit taxi for the 5km drive to the AirAsia terminal.  Somehow in the shuffle I lost my white Sigg water bottle with the Obama sticker on it -- sad -- but I did get to the right terminal in one piece with all my stuff and only 150,000 rupiah short (about $15), which, if it was rip-off and it probably was because how could it not have been, wasn't too bad for my first rip-off.

After going through another round of security, checking in for my domestic flight, and ANOTHER round of security, I finally made it to my final gate -- the last leg of my journey.  The flight from Jakarta to Yogya was short -- about one hour -- and on the other end I was met at the airport by Mas Sapto (one of the guys who works at the language school I'll be teaching at, and who helped coordinate the processing of my visa) along with the guy who will be taking over his job, Pak Mouwlaka.  By this time I'd been traveling for about 25 hours, not counting the 12 hours between leaving home in Tucson and departing SFO.  It had been almost 48 hours since I had changed my clothes, showered, brushed my teeth, or been able to lie down.  Under these conditions I did my best to make conversation and answer questions, but I have no doubt I seemed a mess.  Mas Sapto and Pak Mouwlaka ("Mas" and "Pak," by the way, are terms of respectful address for a younger man, literally meaning "big brother," and an older man, shortened from "bapak," respectively) took me to "lunch" (though it was almost 5PM) which was extremely nice of them although I wasn't really hungry and all I wanted to do was go to sleep in a bed.  The meal was good, though the most exciting part was that the restaurant was situated around a square fish pond with spigots coming off the fence at various intervals, which, I soon learned, were meant to serve as sinks -- as there were no utensils, we ate with our hands, and proceeded to wash them afterwards under the spigots which emptied into the fish pond.  I guess that way you feed the fish and the people.  Two birds with one stone?

And then, finally finally, I made it my final destination -- the house where the PiA fellows have been living for the past few years, which I now share with three other young women who are language teachers like myself.  Queenie is from Taiwan and teaches Chinese, Mabel is from Colombia and teaches Spanish, and Emma is from the States, originally from western Mass and a friend of a friend (small world, like always) and teaches English.  My first night here I basically dragged my stuff up to my room and crashed, and in the few days since then I've begun getting settled.  I'm mostly unpacked into my cozy, white-tiled upstairs room, my map of the world, rainbow flag, and pictures of my family are up on my wall, and I'm getting the hang of cold bucket showers.  There's more to tell, but I'll save that for a separate post, since this one is getting kind of epic.  It's definitely been a roller coaster -- I won't pretend that I haven't already had my dark moments of panicked culture shock and acute homesickness, and one or two good cries -- but I know this is just the beginning of a long, huge, spectacular adventure, which is exactly what I came here for.  Indo the wild I go!

1 comment:

  1. My recollections of Cathay Pacific had the airline as being pretty much my favorite out of all the ones I went on, back in the day.

    Hong-Kong wireless is the bomb, as is Calary, and a few other places. I should keep a list of which airports are internet happy.

    Your itinerary for getting there seems... extreme. Almost simpler to buy a flight that goes over the target area, and use a parachute...

    The fish thing seems cool.

    I'd kinda like it if you sent your play-by-play email to me as well. Dad (your grampa) and my nephew (your brother) keep mentioning them, but I don't know what's happening first-hand. Uh, you can probably guess who I am, if it isn't obvious.