Back in Medan, Indonesia

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Medan, Indonesia - Another night at the airport

Back again in Medan, but not particularly thrilled considering our not-so-great situation!!

We ended up leaving Banda Aceh earlier than we’d wished, because we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get back to Medan for our flight.  And being that it had taken us so long to reach Banda Aceh, itself, we weren’t sure what to expect after that.

So, we packed up our backpacks once again and took off for the road.

Lucky for us, we managed to guarantee ourselves a lift, thanks to Arnaud, of course!!  He sweet-talked the owner of this delivery business in the city, and ensured us a ride all the way to Medan.  Perfect!

The only inconvenience was that we would be traveling through the night, thus unable to get a good night’s sleep!!  On top of that, we would be separated during the journey, since each driver had to be accompanied by his co-pilot.

Obviously, I was a bit hesitant, considering my previous experience with that creep of a driver, when we were heading to Banda Aceh.  But, Arnaud quickly resolved any potential misunderstandings, by clearly stating with a smile, "She's my wife, if you touch her, I’ll kill you!"  The message was crystal clear, and the guys were perfect gentlemen throughout the trip. 

Once the trucks were loaded and ready to go, off we went for Medan!

We had a LONG night ahead of us, and we had one thing in mind . . . making it there by morning! 

So, we made our routine stops, here and there, grabbing dinner, having our coffee-breaks, and even making a random stop to pick up some smelly durian fruit!!  Definitely not for us, of course!!

We eventually made it to Medan, actually earlier than we’d expected, but too late to make the daily ferry that sails to Malaysia.  You see, again, we made the huge mistake of only getting a 7-day visa, and unfortunately we found ourselves on our 7th day, at present!!

And although we’d already purchased our plane tickets to Penang, it wasn’t for the necessary day of travel; so even taking the ferry would have been great, if it meant avoiding a penalty for overstaying our visa!!  We were one day early, so we had to do everything to get out on time.

So we figured, if the plane isn’t full, and if we explain our inopportune situation, maybe they would have sympathy on us and let us on the flight.  Nope!!  Didn’t happen!

Turns out that it would have cost us even more money to try and fly out on the correct day.  So, even though we were at the airport ready to leave Indonesia, it looked like we’d be having to overstay our visa by one day, and thus have to pay the penalty for doing so . . . and that’s $20 each, mind you!!  No luck this time!  :(

There had to be a solution . . . what could we do??  Hmm?!!  So, Arnaud decided to resort to using the corruption card, since he’d had loads of experience with it in Africa.  :(  Bright idea?!  Hmm?!  Not too sure, personally, because it just results in further disarray in the country. 

Anyway, his attempt at resolving our little problem ended up helping us out a bit, in the long-run.  We got out of Indonesia, without a record of overstaying our visa, and paying slightly less than what we were supposed to.  

Still, the whole situation wasn’t as simple as it sounds.  Because we had to stay an additional day, it resulted in us having to stay the night at the airport . . . again!!!  Well, that’s what we’d planned, in any case!

We’d figured if we were able to sleep at the airports in Chile and New Zealand, why not here?!!  Problem was, since it was a small airport, it was to be closed completely, and everyone had to be out, excluding the security officials, of course.  So, now what?!!

Always a solution to a problem!!  :)  Eventually, after having spoken to almost every person in charge, literally, Arnaud managed to get the "Ok" for us to stay at the airport for the night.  And there you have your happy ending!! 

Well, not exactly, it wasn’t the most comfortable of nights, for me, especially considering all the mosquitoes in that place!!!  They had a feast with me!!  I think if they could have, they would have bitten me almost everywhere!!  I got up the next morning, miserable, with mosquito bites, all over, including my face!!  They had a good ol’ time!!  :(  Oh well!!  

Alas, Indonesia was an experience, for sure.  And despite some inconveniences, I definitely see myself coming back here in the future.  Next time, though, I think the destination will be Bali or the Island of Java!!! 

Ciao for now all!!

Que dire, on passa toute la nuit dans un camion. On arriva à l’aéroport un jour trop tôt et on essaya de négocier notre pénalité de visa.

On arriva jeudi à l’aéroport sachant que notre vol était pour le lendemain. On tenta le coup car notre visa expirer le jeudi. On essaya de prendre un vol dans la journée mais cela revenait plus cher que de payer les pénalités, et surtout utiliser un peu la corruption dans le pays s’est toujours un peu moins d’argent à dépenser, vu que pour chaque jour sans visa c’est 20 dollars, cela faisait 40 pour tout les 2.

Donc j’essayais de faire descendre l’amende en discutant directement avec le chef de l’immigration et on obtint une petite remise, c’était mieux que rien, donc il fallait attendre le lendemain pour prendre notre avion.

Et dormir à l’hôtel était comme toujours hors budget, j’essayais donc de trouver un emplacement pour y mettre la tente mais je ne parvins pas mes fins. Il était donc important de trouver un endroit pour dormir car bien sûr dormir dans l’aéroport était la solution la plus simple et déjà vécu par nous autres mais dans des petits aéroports il y a comme qui dirait des heures de fermetures comme tout bons magasins.

Après 9h du soir extinction des feux, il était donc de mon devoir de parler avec le chef de la sécurité et de lui expliquer mon problème. Après avoir parlé avec le chef, le sous chef, l’ami du sous chef et le fils du cousin de l’oncle du sergent commandant chef, on nous laissa dormir seul dans l’aéroport.

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Medan, Indonesia - Another night …
photo by: inikeke