Oct 282014

Woke up super early the next morning due to the whole time zone thing, and managed to catch a bit of the sunrise over the hotel pool. Few cups of coffee and it was time to head to the airport where I hoped to avail myself of some Starbucks. No such luck, the Starbucks was located in the domestic terminal, and my flight was in the international terminal. Sad panda.


Check-in was nice and smooth, and soon it was time to pay the airport tax of 200,000 Rupiah (around $18) and wait in line for immigration. They had 6 desks open, but still took nearly 30 minutes to clear immigration. Sriwijaya had invited us to the “Premier Lounge” which was an adequate place to wait. There was caffeine and little raisin rolls, so life could be a whole lot worse!


The lounge was nice and spacious, however, it was rather warm inside:


Soon they called boarding, and I rushed over to the gate…which was right next to the lounge. Boarding was just starting, and I got some dirty looks for walking to the front of the queue, but that’s part of what you pay for with business class.

Sriwijaya Airlines flight 270
Bali, Indonesia (DPS) to Dili, Timor-Leste (DIL)
Depart 9:55, Arrive 12:50, Flight Time 1:55
Boeing 737-500, Registration PK-CMC, Manufactured 1995, Seat 2F


These seats look awfully familiar….wait…this used to be a United Airlines plane, and they’re the exact same seats! A quick check of the registration number, and check against my spreadsheet, and I’ve been on this plane before back in 2006! Matter of fact, I was in the exact same seat…as I doubt they’d changed them since then!

Oh, look what’s in the loo! Now THAT is just terrifying. They got this plane from United over a year ago, but still haven’t changed the soap dispenser?!


My seatmate was a very cranky Timorese guy, who kept complaining about everything. He was trying to seem worldly and important by speaking English with the flight attendants, but they were having none of it and kept speaking back to him in Bahasa, lol. He was a little Napoleon who just liked complaining and feeling important.

Pre-departure beverage choice was apple juice…so there was no choice. Take it or leave it. Not many drink choices once we were underway either…no diet coke, so I settled for water. The “chicken rice” was pretty decent at least. The desert was some super gelatinous thing that tasted better than it looked, but was still rather scary.


About 90 minutes later, we were on approach to Dili:





No jetbridges at Dili, and this is the walkway to the terminal:


View of our plane parked at Dili:


Overall, Sriwijaya Air was a perfectly pleasant experience. Decent small meal, relatively clean plane. It was clearly showing its age, but that’s not necessarily the most important thing as long as it’s well-maintained. I survived it, so I’ll just leave it at that. Overall, I’d fly them again if they were convenient on a route I needed to go on.

Visa on arrival counter was quick and efficient – pay your $30, stamp in your passport, receipt, and you’re on your way in 5 seconds. Immigration was also quick and it was time to get exploring my 160th country visited…Timor-Leste!

Oct 272014

Ah Asia. I got to the gate area about 10 minutes before boarding, and there was nary a gate louse in site. I politely sat in the first row of seats near the boarding door, and nobody was anywhere near. There was going to be no fight for overhead bin space on this flight. There was a guy sitting a few seats down who had his own Singapore Airlines personal assistant, and she was filling up his Indonesia immigration card. I caught something about “you must be having people to do this for you as next in line to the throne” but couldn’t figure things out. Based on looks, I’m going to guess somewhere in Northern Europe, but once we boarded he was in economy, so who knows!

Singapore Airlines flight 942
Singapore (SIN) to Bali, Indonesia (DPS)
Depart 9:35, Arrive 12:05, Flight Time 2:30
Boeing 777-200, Registration 9V-SRH, Manufactured 2001, Seat 12A (bulkhead window)

First on the plane, and this is what regional business looks like on a Singapore 777-200:


…bubbles are delivered, and I’m happy.


Brunch looks tasty, and it was a tough call between nasi lemak and dim sum, before I remembered that I’d pre-ordered via book the cook:


Flight was looking about 75% full in business, despite showing completely sold out online. Was looking like I was going to get lucky with an empty seat next to me. Until. Heavyset 30-something guy boarded, holding two small infants, maybe 2 months old, which looked like twins. Yes, I’d booked the bassinet row and know it’s a possibility, but ugh. I have nothing at all against children in business, especially if you’re going to pay to get them there, but be considerate. Seemed he’d upgraded last minute, and his wife was in coach, so he was holding both of them until departure.

Cabin filled up about five minutes later when a delayed connection arrived, and the agents came on board and upgraded his wife as well. Few last minute seat swaps, and the heavens opened up and I was spared. Nice Indonesian woman ended up to me, and I was relieved to have no small children. Until…

She asked me if I had peace in my heart? Did I have the true inner peace which could come from meditation? I couldn’t pull the “no speak english” card because I’d already thanked her for saving me from the children, so I had to cowboy up. Told her I was happy with my spiritual situation, and prefered not to discuss it with strangers…thanks.

Despite waiting for the connecting flight we were off on time, and the crew was quick with the meals. They seemed confused when I told them I’d pre-ordered with book the cook, but found it quickly enough. Mmmm lobster thermidor:


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