Guest writer: Luc Neville
28-29 Juli 2014
After two and a half years we finally set foot up on indonesian ground. The flight this time was without drama caused by the kids. No t-shirts smelling of throw up. No evil eyes from other passengers because of our kids crying all the way. This time the kids enjoyed the i.c.e. entertainment system onboard our a380 plane provided by emirates. This was on the flight from Amsterdam to Dubai. I even had the time to watch 2 entire movies. The second flight from Dubai to Jakarta the kids were so tired they slept all the way through. Yayang and me were very tired ourselves but could not sleep comfortably in a sitting position.
At checkin in Schiphol we had some drama though. We wanted to have as much baggage taken from us so we would not have to carry it around. Emirates allowed us to take 30 kg per person. When we gave our passports there was a problem. The passports of our kids would expire within 6 months somewhere in january. We would not be allowed to go on the plane. My heart sunk with the idea of the vacation being cancelled at departure. We were taken out of the line and sent to a special counter to check whether emergency passports would be allowed by indonesian government. Then we remembered Yayang took the indonesian passports with us which luckily would not expire within six months. So straight after the period of big worries came the happiness we could leave with the plane as planned.
We were hoping Indonesia would have changed their system of filling in the forms needed to enter the country. There are always people who have not filled it in which makes for a long line at immigration. Unlucky enough in front of me was a group of people who could not read the language creating a hold up. After more than an hour waiting my visa was approved and I was let through. Next hurdle was customs. On another trip to Indonesia I needed to go through customs, I was carrying a golden ring I would use for proposing Yayang for marriage, I thought I should fill in the form telling them I carried this ring. At customs they read the form and took me to another room. There I needed to explain to them I already paid taxes for the ring and should not have to pay again on entering Indonesia. I told them if everything was succesful I would have to bring the ring again into the country and by their logic should pay triple tax which is not a fair thing to do. At that moment the customs officer finally decided I should just go without the additional fine/tax. Now we made sure we would not let them be triggered by forms filled in with things to declare and we always ‘hire’ somebody to carry our luggage through customs. All these times entering Indonesia customs have not created any problems anymore for us.
Through customs we meet with our immediate family. Everybody is happy and Ghaly, Cinta and Cahaya are instantly friends. Tradition states we should go to Pizza Hut before going home for a well deserved sleep. This time though we could not go because of macet (traffic jam) instead we go to Bandar Jakarta which is a seafood restaurant. Here we could pick out our own, still living, food. An employee of this place walks around with you and takes out the aquarium whatever you wish. I picked a lobster which was made in cheese sauce. The place had a rumah makan feel to it. There was a little surprise for Cinta and Cahaya since they turned 5 a couple of days ago. People brought in a coconut full with sparklers stuck into it. They we set alight by a clown who looked more scary than funny. After that we drove back to bandung. Finally I assumed the sleeping position and made sure our neighbours the mosque would not wake me up in the middle of the night stuffing my ears with special wax buds.