Day 155, Year 3: Saying Goodbye to Justin and Jo
Date: Hari Sabtu (Saturday), Bulan Oktober 11, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: More Hot and Humid Equatorial Weather
Location: Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia

It’s a mother’s dream to have her children come visit her in far-away exotic places, and it is the same mother’s nightmare when they leave. And today was a bit of a nightmare. We went to shore at 7 am and Harry’s Yacht Service had a car there for us in about two minutes. The airport is about thirty minutes from here and Justin and Jo’s flight was at 8:30 am, so we thought we had plenty of time. Here you just show up right before the flight-no two hours early for local Indonesian flights. But as we were leaving Kumai, we actually found ourselves in a traffic jam! I couldn’t believe it. There were huge cargo trucks heading in our direction and coming into Kumai and there were hundreds of people on the side of the road. We were near a mosque and Justin thinks the people had just finished a twenty-four hour reading of the Koran. Ten days after the end of Ramadan, Muslims are required to read through the whole Koran something like thirteen times. And we think the little community we
were traveling through was celebrating the successful completion of that task. Whatever was happening, it was certainly keeping us from getting to the airport. But finally we got there, got Justin and Jo checked in, and then we sat and talked. Indonesians airlines are notorious for their delays, cancellations, and problem aircraft, so we were all a little nervous about this. But we finally pried ourselves away and asked Justin to call us if there were any problems. Mark and I headed on to Pangkalan
Bun to go to the fresh food market and to see the riverfront and old palace. We have been in the town two other times, but never had a chance to see the sights. The riverfront was really interesting. From the main road we walked down a boardwalk to the river’s edge. People live in the mudflats and in houses on stilts all along the river. We walked along the boardwalk which took us past people’s homes and headed back to the riverfront market.

Mark and had decided to keep the driver that took us to the airport instead of riding the very crowded and dangerous bemos back to Kumai. After our ride back to Kumai yesterday where all four of us weren’t sure we were going to make it, we decided that paying a little more for a safe car was a good idea. I also wanted to have a car in case something went wrong at the airport. And it did. While we were shopping in the market, we got a call from Justin telling us that as he and Jo were stepping
aboard the plane, Jo noticed that fuel was pouring from the side. She was about to say something when someone more official noticed the problem. Some people had already boarded and they were evacuated quickly. No one was going to Java on this plane today. They returned to the terminal and found that the only other flight going to Central Java today was already booked solid, so they started investigating other options. When they called us, we called Harry who had booked the tickets and had him
start investigating options as well. We went back to our car and had the driver take us to the airport to see if we could be of any assistance there. When we arrived, Justin and Jo had figured out that there only hope of getting out of Kalimantan today was to fly to Jakarta in Java on a late afternoon flight and then fly to Bali from there late in the evening. This would mean not getting to see the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Central Java which was a huge disappointment, but at this point, just finding a safe way to Bali to connect with their flight back to the US seemed the prudent thing to do. It was even harder to say goodbye the second time, but we needed to get back to Kumai to check-out with the harbormaster in case things work out for Justin and Jo and we can leave in the morning. Before we left the airport, they had tickets for the flight to Java and we had called Harry to see if he could book tickets on the evening flight from Java to Bali. We got a call from Justin and Jo letting us know that they did arrive safely in Jakarta and saying that they will call later tonight when they arrive in Bali. They will then have two full days in Bali before flying out at midnight on our Monday. We’re just hoping that the plane from Jakarta to Bali is in good shape. There are lots of things for a mother to worry about, so Justin promised to call when they arrive in Bali late tonight. I’m sure things will be fine, but I will certainly be glad to get that phone call.

We think we are ready to leave Kumai at 5 am in the morning headed for Belitung. The interesting thing is that we have absolutely no information about this place. It is not in the Lonely Planet and none of our information from former Indonesia cruisers mentions it, but it is the place that Sail Indonesia has asked us to go to check-out of Indonesia. So we will sail two days and nights to get there, and from there we will head to Singapore. Of course, if something happens and Justin and Jo don’t make it to Bali tonight we might change our plans. We will be out of cell phone range once we leave here and I’m not sure I can continue on until I know they are safe in Bali.

I’m looking forward to arriving in Singapore where I think we will have good, fast internet. I have been missing our webcam connections with Sam and hope that we will be able to do this Singapore. We are having a wonderful time out here, but we do miss family so much. The past month with Justin and Jo was wonderful and now we look forward to seeing Heather, Jed, and Sam in Thailand in January.

Note: Just as I finished writing this log, Justin called to say that he and Jo are in Bali. They got an early flight from Java, so all is well. What a relief!

081011 Day 155 Kalimantan, Indonesia–Pankalan Bun