Saturday, October 2, 2010


At 10AM Friday, September 17th I awake. I must be on a plane in 5 hours and 45 minutes. I have not packed for my trip. I have not planned for my trip. I know nothing about Indonesia. I do not know where I am staying tonight. I have a guide book, a round trip ticket in and out of Jakarta, and a deadline to meet friends in Bali on Tuesday.

Some months ago I read an article about Komodo dragons that cemented Indonesia as my first choice amongst potential Korea-based travel destinations. In July, when I floated the idea of traveling there during Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving) to a couple of friends, it was met with interest but not commitment.

Early August, I checked into the logistics and found it would be prohibitively expensive to charter a boat to the island by myself (in retrospect, this is probably not true. By just winging it in Labuan Bajo you could probably do everything pretty cheap, but if you want to plan ahead, things are pricier). Still lacking firm commitments from potential travel companions, I began investigating alternative Chuseok destinations.

Mid-August, I sent a final inquiry to my friends figuring if we were going it needed to happen. A wedding in California and general lack of flights from Korea during Chuseok made things look dicey. Finally, late August, it is decided. We are going. Tickets must be bought. Dragon tours must be arranged. The window of opportunity is narrow. The earliest we can all arrive in Indonesia is 9.21 the latest we can all stay is 9.26.

Unfortunately, the late date and fact that everyone in Korea was planning on traveling that week meant flights were expensive and hard to come by. Even more aggravating was the fact that many of the overpriced flights that showed up in searches were phantom tickets that disappeared when you actually tried to purchase them. Suddenly, it wasn't a matter of trying to juggle departure times, flight duration and costs; it was a matter of even getting a ticket. To make matters even worse, the day my friends sent me their flight confirmations, Korean Airlines' website went down and it appeared entirely possible that after championing the trip, I would not be able to make it.

The next day, as soon as Korean Airlines was back online, I bought the first tickets that would guarantee me a seat. Nevermind that it was twice the price of most weekends or that it took me to Jakarta when I needed to meet my friends in Bali (since that's where the Komodo trip arrangements were).

Heading there, this shouldn't be a problem. Since I'm flying today (Friday 9/17), I've got until Tuesday to figure out how to get to Bali. Coming back might be trickier. The arrangements in Komodo will return us to Bali around noon on Saturday the 25th. I have to catch a plane in Jakarta Sunday night. It seems there are many Indonesian airlines that are not on the major flight search engines, so hopefully this won't be a problem.

Truth be told, I kinda like the haphazard nature of this trip. I'll get to see more of Indonesia. It'll be more fun than just booking a Bali resort package, anyway. Worst case I suppose I miss my flight home and just have to waste more time and eat some more money. Not ideal, but not exactly the end of the world. Can't get to worked up about things. It's a vacation- gotta enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment