For those that know me well this little tale will not come as much of a surprise…I missed my first flight to Australia. Well, I should add, to my defense, quite a few things had not gone in my favor that week and I happened to be missing the folder with my flight information in it. Having spent the past few weeks staring at my tickets due to pure excitement for my journey to Australia I was 90% sure I knew when I flight took off, and thus concluded there was no need to dig up my flight info again… “I got this”. Unfortunately, remembering flight info is not particularly one of my strong points; actually remembering in general is not really an asset of mine. I like to agree with my mother in the thought that it is because my head is so full of science-y stuff, there is no more room for menial details like when the flight headed to the country I have always dreamed of going to takes off! I misjudged my flight by a little over an hour, which is much better than the last time I made up my flight info. Back to the beginning of the story, seeing as it was only 7 and my flight was leaving at midnight (or so I thought) I deemed it a wonderful idea to go out to a fancy dinner with all my new friends. Towards the end of dinner I began to panic a bit, I still needed to do some shopping at Hardys (the best grocery store ever!) and I wanted to be done with that at 9:30. Immediately after paying the bill, I rushed across the street bought what I needed and hopped in a taxi with my friends. It was 9:30 PERFECT! I was so satisfied, if only my mother could see me now I thought to myself (she despises my last minute packing habits). My bags were sitting in my villa all packed I just need to throw in my Hardys haul and head out the door. I would then have 2 hours before my flight, SUPER ON TIME! When I got home some of my Balinese friends had stopped by to give me some lovely departing gifts. By the time we had finished with all the hugs, long faces, and declarations of sadness it was about 10:20pm. Now I was slightly behind schedule but it was not yet an unforgivable offence. I decide while walking out the door I might as well have a quick look at my ticket, so my friend starts up her computer and I log into my email retrieving the flight info. OH SNAP! That was not my exact phrase but since I have a 10-year-old sister, most likely reading this, that is my attempt at PG. My flight departs at 10:50. Seeing the horrified look on my face, my friends ask me what could be so terribly wrong. “I might be back tonight” I tell them. Disregarding their attempts to reassure me I am not that late and everything will be just fine, (I know by now I am royally screwed) I run to the car. “KETUT KETUT” I am screaming the program driver’s name who I had become very close with (such a nice man, anyway…) “I need to go NOW”. We take off. As soon as we pull out of the hotel he turns to me with a very serious look on his face and he says “Olie (my Indonesian nickname) you need hurry hurry to airport?” All I can do is break out into uncontrollable laughter at the situation I have landed in once again. When I regain my composure, I reply, “Yes, Ketut, I need very hurry hurry to the airport.” Then as a second thought I decide to add a “but please Hati Hati” Which is basically caution or careful…seeing as our course driver Ketut is one of the most insane drivers I have ever met and a few days before had been in a motorbike accident due to his reckless driving habits. When we got to the airport, I asked him to wait for me because at this point I was sure I had missed my flight. I raced through security skipping quite a few Australians that I proceeded to put in a very foul mood. Then ran to the desk and after about 10 minutes of being directed to countless people who only continued to direct me elsewhere, I called Ketut on the verge of tears and all I could manage to say was, “I don’t know BAHASA!”(Bahasa Indonesia is the main language for Indonesia even though each island speaks their own language also). He said he would be there in a second. After taking a few minutes to feel sorry for myself, I decided to put on my big girl panties (figuratively of course) and woman-up! I called Ketut and told him he could just wait outside and I would be there in a few minutes. I then marched over to the desk that had directed me elsewhere several times now, and demanded a solution to my predicament. Soon they got the picture that this little rasta, (In Bali, rasta seems to be the equivalent of person with dreadlocks and so it was yelled out to me where ever I went, by everyone), was not planning on going to any other desk until they called in some help. Luckily, I was able to book a flight for tomorrow and still get to Townsville before classes started without too much financial damage ($50). However, the drama did not end there for me. Feeling mighty pleased with my recovery I was strutting out the door when someone approaches me and asks if I would like a locker. Clearly, they had been watching my frantic attempt at trying to catch my flight and noted my epic fail. I considered it but on hearing the price decided no… but as I was standing there a terrible realization bubbled up inside me. I did not have my backpack on. I had it when I came in the airport, and I did not leave it at the desk, which I could see from where I was standing. I left it at security. For you to understand how this is possible you must know a thing or two about Bali airport security. To get to the ticket booths you must go through an initial security check point, unlike any I had ever seen. You must throw your luggage on this belt that goes to an ex-ray. When I say throw I really do mean throw and it is not in an orderly fashion either, its more like a free-for all shot put session. After chucking your bags on the belt, you shuffle through a metal detector (I should note they usually attempt single file) and pick your bags up on the other side. That last step is the one I seemed to have missed. Standing there realizing the only place my pack could be is at the security belt I am terrified, and like clock-work the airport message about not leaving your bags alone and reporting sketchy luggage plays over the intercom. For those of you that do not know the most common punishment for having any drugs (and I mean any amount of any drug) is life in jail, the other punishment is death by firing squad. If they are that strict on potheads imagine what they will do to the girl they expect of leaving a bomb containing bag at the security checkpoint!
I am totally going to jail.
Mortified I make my way over to the man with the metal detecting wand waving people through the detectors, put on my most innocent smile, and explain that I didn’t pick up my bag from the belt. He points to the tallest Indonesian man I had seen yet who is sitting behind a computer watching the ex-ray screen. I can see my bag. “Is this your bag?” …”yes” (I am going to die) He points to the bag making a gesture that clearly means ‘lets have a look then shall we’ …(Oh crap they think I have a bomb). Then he proceeds to say with a smile, “In case anything is missing”. It takes me a minute to realize that he is asking me to check that the security did not steal from my back pack while it sat sketchily unattended at the bottom of an ex-ray belt!!!! I tell him I trust him and, laughing off the panic, I race to Ketut as fast as I can race with 85lbs of luggage and my rather heavy unattended backpack.