Thursday, March 01, 2007

Greetings from Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Hi everyone! Kristin and I have finally made it to Banda Aceh, Indonesia! sure took a LONG time to get here.

Our flight from Singapore to Medan, Indonesia was only an hour. But then we had to wait almost 7 hours for the flight to Banda Aceh. I keep forgetting that I must be patient when I travel.

When we reached Medan, Kristin had to get her luggage and police officers in customs had to run her bags (and me) through an x-ray machine. I guess I must have looked OK on the x-ray because Kristin made it through customs without any problems.

As soon as we walked out of the customs area, tons of taxi drivers kept walking up to Kristin and asking her if she needed a taxi. Kristin kept telling them no, but the men would not stop asking. Kristin didn't seem to be bothered by all of the taxi drivers talking to her, but I decided to stay hidden in her purse (don't tell her but I was a bit afraid of all of the people surrounding us).

Kristin finally found the place where she had to pick up the ticket for the Banda Aceh flight. But she soon found out that we would have to wait several hours outside of the airport before she could get her ticket. It is REALLY hot here and I wasn't so sure I wanted to wait outside of the airport in the heat with all of the taxi drivers. Luckily, someone else on our flight to Medan was also waiting for his ticket to Banda Aceh. His name is Ernie and he works for an organization called Save-the-Children. Ernie is from Australia and is very nice. He has been to Indonesia lots of times and he told Kristin it would be best to wait at a local hotel until she could get her ticket.

So Kristin and Ernie took a cab to a local hotel. I wasn't so sure Kristin should leave the airport with a stranger. My Aunt Lynn tells me I shouldn't go anywhere with strangers. Kristin says my Aunt Lynn is right; I shouldn't go anywhere with strangers. But Kristin said I was with her and everything would be OK. I decided to trust her on this.

It turns out everything was fine. The hotel workers all knew Ernie when he got out of the cab. He helped Kristin change money and check her e-mail. He also took us to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. The food was very good.

The hotel workers then brought Kristin and Ernie back to the airport. Kristin had no problems getting her ticket and our flight left only a few minutes late.

LOTS of taxi drivers greeted Kristin at the airport in Banda Aceh. There sure are a lot of taxi drivers in Indonesia! I asked Kristin if we were taking a cab to the airport. She said no. Just outside the airport, Kristin found her friend Jocelyn. Jocelyn is a journalist working with Kristin and Keith on the radio program. She is very nice.

We are staying at the Swiss-Belhotel in Banda Aceh. It is very new. Kristin seems happy with the room, but this isn't as nice as the Hotel Kempinski in Djibouti! Kristin told me she expected the hotel here to be worse than it is. She also told me that we are lucky to have hot water and air conditioning. She says most hotels in Aceh do not have hot water or air conditioning. I had no idea!

I am very, very tired from that jet-lag stuff. Kristin says I am tired from the travel and because we are 13 time-zones AHEAD of Iowa time. I am still not sure I understand the time-zone thing. But I do know that when it is 7:00am Friday morning here in Banda Aceh, it is 6:00pm Thursday night in Iowa. How cool is that? It is Friday for me LONG before it is Friday for you in Iowa.

I think I need to head to bed to get rid of this jet-lag stuff.

Until next time....