Is it possible to chase the setting sun? I wonder what the numbers would say…can a plane flying at 38,000 feet westward stall a sunset? The wild fire that I observed out of my window was definitely extended.
Our Asia experience started upon entering the LAX International terminal. The sea of black hair engulfed us and Miss I’s blonde locks attracted looks like a magnet. They were as different as night and day.
We escaped going through the big scanners at airport security again. TSA doesn’t force families with small children to go through them. Those machines creep me out. Standing in the middle of a radiation field with hands up like you’re being arrested is just an example of the ever increasing social conditioning of fear and control. I was happy to be ushered to the standby normal metal detector.
“Please come with me”
The flight from LA to Hong Kong was booked solid and our boarding passes had all three seats separated. We requested seats together (since I’m sure noone wants to sit next to a sole 3 yr old for a 14 hour flight) and through a lot of work, they staff at Cathay Pacific was able to oblige. We boarded and were busy making ourselves comfortable, playing with our personal TV controls and unwrapping pillows and blankets when the front gate manager came up to us and asked to see our outbound ticket from Bali. We were 15 minutes from take off and the airline decided to check our outbound flight. The requirements for a visa to Bali state we must have a pre-booked way out of Bali. Otherwise, if the airline doesn’t check and we do not get past immigration in Bali, it is the airline’s responsibility to ship us back. It was the same way for Costa Rica, but a simple ‘fake reservation” was all that was needed to satisfy the requirement. My mistake was not being prepared for it, despite being told – and telling the truth.
At 1:30 am, I should have just lied, but I’m terrible at lying anyway and said we are very familiar with the visa requirements and plan on making a visa run to Singapore or Malaysia. My heart was pounding out of my chest thinking “She’s going to kick us off of this plane 10 minutes before departing”. She requested that I come with her to buy refundable tickets from Bali to Hong Kong for $1000 each. I said “No, I really don’t want to leave my seat. I’ll sign a waiver saying you are not responsible”, but it didn’t work. However, she left and came back with other options. In the end, she let us stay on the plane but took on boarding passes for our Hong Kong to Bali flight. She stated that if Hong Kong let us on then we’d be fine – but we were already in the ‘system’.
Chased down in Hong Kong Security
Our 14 1/2 hour flight was great. We slept little, watched three movies, played video games and ate. It was the best we could have asked for a 14 1/2 hour plane ride.
When we arrived in HK, we went to re-check in and got our boarding passes without a hitch. Off we went passed security and headed towards the gate when the ticket agent chased us down and asked to give back our boarding passes and come with her. Aw shucks! They needed proof of a flight with a real ticket #. I was not willing to pay $1000 per ticket and we had 2 hours before our connecting flight, so I hopped on the free wireless and booked us tickets to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the end of July for less than $450 for all four of us. “Now, are we done?” We got our boarding passes reprinted and bolted past security to our gate desperately wanting to get on a plane and be in the air.
A Third Time
We were enjoying the HK airport, finally! It is beautiful, clean, expansive and full of light and free, fast wireless. Miss I got her picture taken with lots of Asian people and we waited at our gate…until another Cathay Pacific agent wanted to see our boarding passes. Mr. King and I looked at each other in shocked and defeated disbelief- “What now?” This was the third time they were going to take our boarding passes away. We were happy to find that they exchanged our seats so that we could have the full middle row together. “Whew”
Arriving in Bali
Landing with a sigh of relief in Bali we had one more control check to get through and we’d be home. We got our $25 visas that enable us to stay for 30 days (they can be extended for another 30 days) and we got through immigration without one question of an outward ticket. Twenty four hours of anxiety for no reason at all.
Even though we arrived at 3 pm, the setting sun was only a few hours away and I was happy that it was setting on the horizon in Bali. This day, 34 hours of traveling, was over.
I might have learned some lessons like:
-Be a better liar
-Just follow all the rules
But I was more disappointed with myself for allowing my anxious mind to control my thoughts during our journey. I thought I was better than that. I’ll work on this in Bali.
I should have also found a printer and printed a fake ticket.
But…we made it and are recovering from the time difference and soaking it all in.