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…


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 AMQ-UPG

Flight 7/12: Ambon to Makassar

On my way home! Thankfully. The diving on this trip has been fun, but the food situation has been less than ideal. I will likely write up a short trip report to comment on that separately at some point.

The flight leaving Ambon was on time, but the airport was insanely busy, so it was still a mad rush, even getting there 2 hours early. My bag was checked through to Sydney, but I intended to make sure it didn’t come out at Denpasar just in case. I’ve had issues with bags not making the international-domestic transfer there in the past. And I had 6 hours layover there, so I wouldn’t be in any great hurry.

The airport in Ambon has a number of shops, but little did we know that they were all pre-security screening. We’d gone through security by the time we realised this. However I will note that there are a number of cafe’s, convenience stores, and a couple of gift shops. Post-security, there’s a small snack bar – and I do mean small – that sold bottles of water, chocolate, and coffee. Not the end of the world, I’d had a quick breakfast at the resort before leaving for the airport, and knew Garuda was going to feed me on the plane.

Boarding was on time, and straight forward. Flight left early for a change! Not long after take-off we got served our breakfast. I did in fact get my VGML. I did not actually eat my VGML. I took one mouthful and discovered that it was so salty as to be pretty much inedible. I left the pudding, because I couldn’t be 100% certain it was gluten free, although it potentially was.


The breakfast VGML

We landed on time in Makassar, and as my next flight was on the exact same plane, I had the option as to whether we wanted to stay on board, or quickly get off the plane and go to the terminal. I got off the plane, did an insane mad dash to Starbucks for coffee, and then got back on the plane. Never let it be said I don’t like my caffeine!

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class UPG-SOQ

Flight 5/12: Makassar to Sorong

OMG. Just get me to Raja Ampat already! Seriously.

This entry comes a week late due to lack of sufficiently stable internet access at my resort which would allow me to upload this post.

I spent the entire transit in Makassar holed up in the Starbucks drinking coffee (again), abusing their wifi (again), and charging my phone (thank Cthulu for a cafe with power outlets). To be honest, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep – despite the copious amounts of coffee consumed in the previous 12 hours. It would eventually hit me.

Eventually the flight boarded. I was tired, and cared so little about food on offer at that point, as it was past 3.30am by the time we were in the air. The hot meal was served, and I did in fact get my vgml – which consisted of yellow rice, vegetables, and some mushroom and tofu thing, with some fresh sliced fruit, and water. No, I did not drink any more coffee. Unsurprisingly, the inevitable stomach ache hit a few hours later from the obscene amounts of caffeine previously consumed.


Supper that I didn’t really eat…

I attempted to nap, but the flight wasn’t really that long. We landed uneventfully at 6.15am, where I was met at the airport in Sorong for my transfer to Raja Ampat. Yes, my bag did in fact make it from Sydney all the way to Sorong – will wonders never cease? Thanks Garuda!

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.


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 UPG-DPS

After a very long 5.5 hour layover in Makassar, it was time to make my way to Bali for my international connection back to Perth. I say “long 5.5 hour layover” because even with a Starbucks selling me all the caffeine, it’s still boring. Also, they had music playing over the loudspeakers. And it was like the same song on repeat for 5.5 hours. Belly dancing type music at that. After about half an hour I was well and truly over it and getting a headache. After much caffeine, I went looking for a powerpoint to plug in my laptop…Nada. Want to know how to frustrate a business traveller in an airport? No powerpoints. Just saying. Also, I discovered after listening to 11ty billion flight announcements, that there’s a flight to Jakarta seemingly leaving Makassar every 10 minutes. Next time, I will suck it up and fly via Jakarta. Domestic-International transfers (and vice versa) in Jakarta are excruciatingly painful. But I hate long layovers even more – unless it’s in Singapore. Plus, Jakarta means Garuda flights the whole way through, none of these Virgin and Jetstar shenanigans.

I had this lovely blog entry typed up, and my computer died, and it hadn’t been saved. Now I have to try and remember the awesomeness that was what I originally wrote…

Anyway, I spent most of the layover either in Starbucks or wandering around trying to find a decent wi-fi signal. Starbucks, predictably, doesn’t have anything in the way of vegan or gluten free food. They make pastries and cakes. They also make coffee. All the coffee! That being said, there’s a couple of small mini-marts inside the terminal, and they have a few vegan and gluten free options. I went for the fruit chips, which by all accounts basically seemed to be freeze dried tropical fruit. They weren’t bad.

IMG_0593Fruit chips to go with my caffeine!

This flight kind of stuffed me around a bit. More on that in the next post about the flight from Denpasar to Perth. Suffice to say, this flight was late, and chaos ensued.

So yes, this flight was late to depart. Got on board and everything was pretty uneventful. The snack cart came around and they had my requested VGML. There was a bread roll with tomato and cucumber, a banana (a little overripe), and a bottle of water. I also got a coffee. All the caffeine! I ate the banana, left the bread roll and fillings.

imageThe VGML snack box on the flight from Makassar to Bali.

Honestly, this flight was really uneventful. The chaos that came upon landing is another matter…