Family Vacation

Greetings,

We just returned home from a wonderful time in Bali.  Our family vacation experience started out with seeing some cool blessings some of which happen in the travaling to and from Bali.  We booked our tickets weeks in advance, not knowing that one of the airlines competitor’s was about to add a competing run from Makassar directly to Merauke.  Our original tickets gave us a 2 hour layover.  We’ve learned in the past anything less than 1.5 hours can create some stress catching the next flight.  Still a few weeks before our vacation while I was departing Merauke, listening to the other traffic on the radio I caught on that the plane we were going to be taking to Bali in a couple weeks was no longer going to Makassar (transit airport) like it was originally scheduled.  After getting back I asked one of our staff to investigate if our tickets were still good.  Turns out what they had done was their Makassar – Merauke – Makassar flight became Makassar – Merauke – Sentani and there Sentani – Merauke – Sentani had become Sentani – Merauke – Makassar.  The only problem with this is now we are departing 2 hours later than originally scheduled.  And this flight from Sentani is notoriously late.  On a side note Merauke is about as close as you can get for the end of the line.  There are or were no connecting flights here prior to this switch in scheduling all the planes would return to their point of departure.  And by 12:00 all the jet traffic (3-4) had come and gone and left the Merauke airport for us (MAF) and another small operator to enjoy, outside of the occasional military flight.  Back to getting to Bali, as we prepared to depart they continued to assure us that we would make the connecting flight in Makassar as they had moved it back 45mins.  But as for normal our departing flight was more than 45 mins late which gave us no layover time.  Also knowing that our connecting flight was the only Makassar – Bali flight for the day I was preparing myself and family for the high likely hood that we would be trying to find a place in Makassar for the night.  Upon arriving the flight attendant assured me all was good, but knowing a bit of the culture here they will tell you what you want to hear rather than to truth a lot of times.  So I didn’t get my hopes up until exiting the aircraft and was met at the bottom of the stairs by airline personal.  They whisked us into a van which then raced across the tarmac to our connecting flight.  During this whisking across the tarmac I inquired about out luggage which I was assured would make it.  But again knowing that I’m likely going to hear what I want to hear rather than reality, and the fact we hadn’t finished stowing our carry on luggage and seated before the plane was being pushed back for start.  I was thinking there was no way our bags made the connection.  After departure I dug out the address of our villa so I would have it ready to give to the baggage claim counter in Bali.  The flight went smoothing and we were looking forward to enjoying our first night in Bali as planned, even if it was going to be with our carry on luggage only (which Julie had packed a few extra sets of clothes just in case).  Once we arrived in Bali I almost didn’t bother but we stopped at the luggage belt just in case and low and behold it made.  Wow, we were stunned and very thankful!  So we started our vacation with what started out looking like a lot of inconveniences ahead of us to everything falling into place.  Backing up a bit as were waiting for our first flight (late one) Pak Hammi met us in the waiting room telling us that the flight home at the end of our vacation had been cancelled and we needed to find something else.  One bright side for the late departure was I had time to go with Pak Hammi to sort out tickets for our trip home.  So we ended up on the competitor’s airline for Makassar – Merauke, but choose to stay with our original tickets from Bali – Makassar (portion of the flight not yet cancelled).  And yes the day before we are to come home I get a text message that this flight was also cancelled, thankfully Pak Hammi was able to arrange a different flight from Bali – Makassar.  And yes we arrived home safely with all our stuff in toe after a great vacation.  Being that this post is already getting long I will close with saying there will be more to come on what we did, along with lots of pictures over the next couple days.

Blessings
The Dole Clan