Return to the Great White North

Greetings from the dole clan,

We what to thank all those that prayed for us during our recent travels from Indonesia back to Canada.  The trip had some strange events but went smoothly non the less, which we are very thankful for.

Departure from Merauke to Makassar on the 21st of April went smoothly.  Second leg was Makassar to Bali where we were nicely seated in the last row of the airplane (personally not a favorite) and shortly after we sat down a tropical rain started to fall.  We boarded using a ladder in both front and back of the airplane neither of which had a canopy.  A bit of panic ensued as people are trying to jam their way into the plane as the plane is the only shelter from the rain.  With the log jam that seems always to occur during boarding there were several passenger that were very wet by the time they got inside the airplane.  Not only were there a lot of wet passengers but due to the direction of the rain (rain doesn’t always fall straight in Indonesia, we have horizontal rain at times), the rear part and probably the front cabin door area flooded quite badly and the poor cabin crew were tasked with trying to clean up the mess with public restroom TP quality like tissue.  It was a mess.

Our time in Bali went well and we managed to keep most of us from burning too badly.  My mother and niece enjoyed the sun a bit more than recommended early on during the week and suffered some bad sun burns particularly my niece.  During our one of our day excursions we enjoyed some physical activity navigating some fun challenging high ropes courses.  After which we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the botanic gardens there, during which we got caught in a heavy rain again.  Jaclynn and Julie stayed behind as Jaclynn had powered out so the rest of us carried on to retrieve the vehicle and return to pick them up.  However, in the mean time the light rain turned into a tropical down pour about the same time as we found ourselves on a logging type road lost trying to get back to pick up Jaclynn and Julie.  It was quite the experience for everyone including me as I navigated a very steep and narrow road trying to relocate ourselves so we could continue the search for were we had left the two girls.  Fortunately for the girls they had moved on a bit to a better shelter before the heavy rains fell.  We did finally relocate the girls even with their slight change of position after we had parted.  The rain continued to fall very hard, and made for an interesting ride down the remainder of the mountain even on the more improved road (wide enough for 2 way traffic and fewer hairpin blind corners).  Thankfully the Lord’s protection brought us home safely and the vehicle externally in the same condition (not sure about the clutch and brakes though).

Our departure from Bali seemed to be going as planned.  As a couple of months prior I had planned out our trip to coincided with my mom and niece’s travel itinerary.  Early on it was apparent that we would be in Bali one more day than them.  But sometime after that as I was checking things again and I some how got a bit confused and mixed the dates.  So we arrived at the airport Friday afternoon checked our bags and got our boarding passes.  We arrived at our gate and enjoyed some supper.  While sitting at the gate I pulled out our boarding pass and the date all of a sudden stuck out to me.  “Today is the 28th and the boarding pass says the 29th. I looked at my watch a couple times to confirm that it was the 28th not the 29th.  I got out our ticket booking information and yet it says the 29th like the boarding passes.  Our luggage claim tags have the 29th on them as well.  Oh no we are here a day early!!!  I quickly asked the agent at the boarding desk and yep there was a problem.  The airplane was already full which meant that we were not going to be able to board.  I asked about our baggage, at which time we were sent back to the check-in counter to get our bags.  But due to the short notice,  our bags had already been loaded and there wasn’t time to retrieve them.  So thankfully the airline (which had a computer issue and had not pick up the different dates) had seats available for us on a later flight so we could be reunited with our baggage.  I was also able to locate a couple of hotel rooms for the night in Jakarta last minute.  So an unplanned extra day in Jakarta gave us some family time to wander aimlessly around a mall and take in a movie.

Departure from Jakarta on the correct day this time went okay although it felt a bit strange having to go through 4 levels of security non of which were doing a very thorough job.  In my opinion one level of security doing a better thorough job would be much better.  And what’s with not being able to carry factory sealed water bottles to the gate?  I understand non-sealed water bottles, but bottles still with there factory tamper seals I mean come on?

Departure from Hong Kong went smoothly until Isaac and I sat down in our seats in the plane.  With in moments of us taking our seats the overhead luggage compartment started to rain on us.  Apparently someone had a non leak proof water bottle laying on it’s side still attached to their backpack (no it was not ours).  The first flight attendant help out by wiping up as much of the water as he could.  However there was a lot of residual water in the latching mechanism which continued to want to drip.  So he left me with a rag after asking me to hold it for awhile which I happily agreed to do.  However, shortly afterwards a different flight attendant noticed what I was doing and here we go again.  Trying to explain what had happen to them and then listening to their explanation as to what was happening was a bit funny.  They finally were able to tape a cloth on to the door handle which stayed in place the remainder of the flight with no more dripping.

Arriving in Toronto we ended up sitting on the airplane at the gate for about 30 mins before we were allowed to get off the plane.  Apparently there was a long line up at customs.  Not sure what the delay for the baggage claim as one would have thought that the extra 30 minutes at the gate would have given the baggage guys a huge head start but nope about 45-60 mins after we had disembarked the airplane our bags finally showed up on the carousel.  It was also interesting to see a huge pile of baggage from our flight already stacked neatly next to the carousel waiting to be claimed and a large group of people (us included) still waiting for our bags.

Our first night of sleep was sweat and hopefully in the next couple days our bodies will finish adjusting to the new time zone.

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