terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Jet Setting

If today's any indication of what NAB goes through in his life now, then I don't envy him at all. Perhaps. His destinations may be a little more exotic than mine was but it wasn't the scenery that was killing me, was it?

Since 0715 hours today, meaning having to be at the airport by 0615 hours, I've been on 4 flights, totalling about 7 hours being in the air. Then there's the waiting in the transit lounges for the transfers, which added up to another 5 hours (make that 6, we just learnt that our flight has been delayed). That's 15 hours (16) that had nothing to do with what I had to do today.

That, incidentally, took, oh, about 2 hours.

And today would be the first time I've been asked to cough up 'kopi money'. Not from the usual tout/ labourer-type in the street, but from the immigration officer. At the airport!

At first I wasn't sure if I heard him right. He'd said it in Hokkien ("吃咖啡") and very softly. When I wasn't getting it, his partner in crime (literally) said it a little louder and the first dude passed me back my folded customs declaration form and said, "Can put it in here..."

Uh, right.

Fortunately I went to the bank before I left for the airport. Unfortunately it meant that 'kopi money' was going to be S$10. Apparently that's a lot. Enough kopi for the entire row of immigration officers I guess. Note to self: always good to change the local currency even though you don't envision yourself spending any money at all the whole day.

Someone got 50,000 rupiah richer today.

On the other hand, Surabaya was beautiful. Almost worth the 50k to come back and stay a little longer.

Could be worse. I could have been 5 days to a week away in Nias.

Perhaps not.

***

Other things I learnt today:

1. At 0551 hours in the morning, the MRT station is open, but trains go only one direction - towards Boon Lay. And the first train for the Airport doesn't come until 0612 hours. Not good.

2. At 0551 hours in the morning, cabs need to be waved at so that they'd stop. Even when you're in visible clothing and at a cab stand. 3 empty cabs (though 2 of them had the 'Busy' sign up; the other made a poor attempt at pretending not to see me waving frantically, swerving out of the leftmost lane to coast by in the next... doo-dee-doo) go by before someone takes pity on me.

3. There's someone who speaks Mandarin worse than some people I know.

4. Even though someone spoke really bad Mandarin, a Shanghainese woman understood her enough to know that the stopover in Singapore was only for 20 minutes.

5. That Bintang beer on the plane, though advertised to be 5% alcohol, tastes like the kind you get from the NCO's mess during NS days.

***

And now, to hit the sack.

And for those who were unsure: yes, there will be fraggin' this Saturday.

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