Garuda Indonesia Economy Class CGK-DPS

Flight 9/12: Jakarta to Denpasar

Because apparently the Garuda flight from Jakarta to Sydney only goes 3 days a week, and I was not flying home on one of those days…I had to fly from Jakarta to Bali to get the flight home from Bali instead. After this many flights, I’m sure you can understand my lack of enthusiasm for yet another flight. More security, more sitting around. Transiting in Bali…*headdesk*

I spent most of the layover in Jakarta drinking coffee. The flight boarded early, and we took off early. I was tired, despite the copious amounts of caffeine already consumed since leaving Ambon. I think my tolerance levels are obscene some days.

The meal was served shortly after take-off. I again got my VGML, but I wasn’t especially hungry. The meal consisted off steamed vegetables, rice, and vegetables in a steamed cabbage leaf with a tomato sauce. Dessert was the green jello thing that I refuse to eat, so I still don’t know what it is after several flights where it’s been served to me.

IMG_20160103_143807The VGML lunch…

We landed slightly early, and I made my way over to the international terminal for a mindnumbingly boring 7 hour layover. Time will tell if my bag makes it to Sydney…

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Garuda Indonesia Economy Class UPG-CGK

Flight 8/12: Makassar to Jakarta

Why couldn’t I fly Makassar straight to Bali for the flight back to Australia? I don’t even know. I’ve done it before (on Garuda even), but for some reason I literally could not book the connection on this trip. Anyway…

After my mad dash for coffee in Makassar I got back on the same plane for the flight to Jakarta. We departed on time.

Shortly after take-off we were served brunch. Again, success! I got my VGML. It was partially edible. There was some marinated tofu and vegetables, rice, steamed vegetables, and a tub of fresh sliced fruit. I ate everything except for the tofu bit, because I could smell soy sauce, and I couldn’t be entirely certain it was gluten free. What I ate was fine though, if not especially appetizing. I knew there was yet another Starbucks in Jakarta airport…

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The brunch VGML…

We landed on time in Jakarta, and I plonked myself down at Starbucks for 2 hours for more caffeine and free wi-fi!

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class CGK-UPG

Flight 4/12: Jakarta to Makassar (or Ujung Pandang depending on how politically correct you want to be)

We’re getting there…Slowly. Very slowly.

First and foremost: I hate Jakarta. Ok, not in and of itself (sort of – the airport is ok, I just hate the city). I simply hate that people smoke everywhere, even inside the airport, and in the airport cafe’s…And have no qualms at all about blowing the smoke straight in your face. I reek of it right now. It’s gross, and I can’t wait to get to Sorong so that I can get changed out of these smokey clothes.

Anyway, I had a ~7 hour layover in Jakarta before my flight to Makassar. I pretty much sat in the Starbucks drinking coffee and stealing wifi from one of the airline lounges (seriously, could they have less imaginitive passwords? I guessed it on my first attempt). Nothing eventful happened, I got bored pretty quickly. There were a few shops around, but nothing particularly interesting to see. A small department store sold chocolates and cookies etc. as well as some dried fruit. I was tempted to buy some dried mango (shocker, I know), but it was the processed stuff that’s full of sugar, not plain dried mango. Not much else that I could have eaten really. I stuck to my coffee.

Do you know how stupid it is that Raja Ampat is only 1 hour time difference to Queensland? But that it will have taken me 47 hours to get there? Why can’t there be an easier way? Yes, you can tell how tired I probably am at the point of typing up this blog entry.

Anyway, we boarded about half an hour late, but we made up time along the way and actually landed on time in Makassar. The flight itself was totally uneventful.

I got my VGML shortly after takeoff. It was some spinach ravioli like thing (I could tell it wasn’t gluten free, but I cut it open to see what the filling was anyway), with some vegetables and chickpeas. It also came with a sachet of chili sauce and a green jello dessert with some sliced peach (I think). It was late by the time the meal was served, and I wasn’t even remotely hungry. I ate a few mouthfuls of the chickpeas and left the rest.

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This was the VGML that I barely touched. Simply wasn’t hungry. The ravioli probably wasn’t gluten free anyway.

I napped for an hour or so after that before we started to descend into Makassar. A quick transit through to the departures area, and I could hole up in yet another Starbucks!

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class SYD-CGK

Flight 3/12: Sydney to Jakarta

And, we outta here! Seriously, it never feels like I’m on holiday until I’ve left the country. Some weird psychological thing.

Was up early this morning and went to the hotel cafe and restaurant to see about doing breakfast (after spending an hour on the treadmill in the on-site fitness centre)…No luck. It was all muffins and bacon and eggs, etc. Didn’t see any fresh fruit – and I wasn’t going to pay $20 just for an apple. I had a small bag of dried fruit that I’d intended to keep as a snack to eat on the flight to Jakarta (just in case), but ended up eating that for breakfast instead so that I could take my meds.

Checking in at the Garuda counters at the airport was a mess. There was a flight to Bali and my flight to Jakarta both trying to check in. You’d think they could deal with having multiple flights checking in at the same time, but apparently not. Eventually got my boarding passes through to Sorong. Immigration went relatively quickly, as they now have those Smartgate things for departures as well. Security was a mess. It’s always a mess.

You want to know something funny? And I do know it makes me sound like a total wanker…But this is literally the first time I’ve been in Sydney airport and not had lounge access. Seriously. OMG, I don’t know how people put up with it! It is a horrible, horrible airport if you can’t hide in the lounge! On the upside, these flights will be enough to push me up to a high enough status with Garuda so that I will have Skyteam lounge access in the future. No more slumming it!

Anyway, we boarded about 40 minutes late and took off about an hour late. Pretty much as soon as we boarded, a baby started crying. Apparently the flight was full of babies, because as soon as one started, that set the others off. It was a 7.5 hour flight of nothing but screaming babies. That is not an exaggeration. I tried to sleep, but it wasn’t to be.

Not long after taking off, we got a snack and a drink. The snack was a small packet of nuts, and I had to read the packet carefully, because on the picture on the front of the packet, there was wasabi peas, and wasabi normally contains gluten. The ingredients said no gluten, and there were no wasabi peas in there anyway, it was just salted nuts. They were safe, and as I still don’t feel ill, it’s safe to say they were ok.

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The picture on the front of the packet was misleading, there were no wasabi peas.

The main meal came out about an hour or so later, which turned out to be some kind of eggplant parma, rice, vegetables, and a tomato sauce. The parma had breadcrumbs, and was definitely not gluten free. I ate the rice and vegetables. The meal also came with a dolomade and capsicum dip, neither of which I ate. And some kind of berry compote and museli bar bites for dessert. The compote was ok. The museli bars contained honey – I checked the ingredients list.

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The VGML that wasn’t entirely vegan, and definitely wasn’t gluten free…

So close, Garuda, so close! I could forgive the gluten, as there’s never any guarantee that a VGML will be gluten free…But honey? Meh. Not the end of the world, but disappointing regardless as I hadn’t been able to eat the eggplant thing or the entree.

I watched a couple of episodes of The Flash on the inflight entertainment system, for lack of anything else that interested me. Not a particularly inspiring range of movies on offer to be honest.

Anyway, we landed a bit late in Jakarta, and then I had a panic attack when my luggage didn’t come off the belt. I was about to cry, when I got myself together and went and spoke to the Garuda staff – who told me that it’d been sent straight to Sorong. This is unusual, because you’re normally required to clear it through customs at your first port of call in Indonesia (like you do in Australia). Here’s to hoping it makes it!