Day 106 - Trapped in the Airport

The Beginnings of a Shanty Town
July 22nd, 2015

As the title indicates, I'm literally trapped in the airport, counting the hours as we wait to see if we can actually leave at the now-delayed time of departure. Lee and Joy have arrived at the airport at 2:30pm in anticipation of their flight, which was scheduled for 4:50pm. Our flight was originally scheduled for 8:05pm, so we arrived around 6pm. All four of us sit here, playing cards, at 2:30am. The flights have both been delayed to the same time, which sits at 4am as of writing. The griping from people around us has died down as the room's people have reached entropy, sleeping spread out on the various seats and huddled together along the walls. We are all trapped here. But let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

Check out those scrolling numbers
Shimou and I woke up around noon, having to head in town for an appointment at 1. We changed money, and bought a few last minute products, including one for Shimou to fix her hair. She tried to get a perm. I say “tried’ because she describes her reaction like this: “When I first saw it, I wanted to punch [the hair dresser] in the face.” Gotta love when hair dressers don't do what you request of them.

As Shimou changes money, I watched people passing by. A woman selling newspapers starts shouting headlines, a girl with dyed grey hair brushes a leaf from her hair, and a young teen who is about as tall as me reveals his impossibly long legs with his shorts that are obviously too small. It's the height of winter, but it feels like fall, and I'll be flying three hours away to be in a tropical location. This scene isn't anything new for someone living in a big city. Catching snippets of Australian accent-tinged conversation is still a treat. I try to picture two people walking around in Canada similar to Shimou and I, replacing myself with a British or Australian for comparison. I don't know how common that would be to see. People in witch hats and various other costumes trickle by, mixed in with the rest of the crowd. Must be a convention.

Fabulous Japanese Beauty
After walking to and from Northbridge for her hair fixing product she could only find at a Japanese beauty store, we caught the train back home. I had a checklist: 
-Get bag under 7kg
-Eat steak

I'll have you know that all three were achieved with great success! I still have a beard, but I shaved the neck bits - no one can call me an unmotivated neck beard. For those of you who think in kilograms, your eyes might narrow at 7kg for luggage. That’s approximately 15lbs for you imperials. Shimou had paid the extra charge for a 20kg stored bag, and said I could put a few things in hers. Problem solved after being more realistic about what to bring by packing less redundancies, and throwing the rest in hers. All set!

Here's Trouble
Lee and Joy are at the airport when we had arrived back home, and gave word that their flight was delayed. Interesting. Let’s check the news, shall we? As feared, the dreaded ash cloud has returned.

A volcano has been erupting somewhere near where we're going in Bali, and had stranded people on the island for up to 10 days a couple weeks back. No flights in or out because the ash cloud can cause the engines to fail. Not fun. Luckily for me and Shimou, we haven’t checked in yet online, which means we still have the option for travellers insurance! $20 per person? Yes, please. Being stuck in paradise on insurance’s dime, you say? Count me in! Now it's just a matter of getting there.

Jump forward to 1am: we were waiting at the terminal, deciding what to do. By ‘we,’ I mean the three Chinese people were debating what to do, eventually turning to me and asking what I think. “I have no idea what you are saying. What are my options?” The options, however, were not very clear because they had just as little information as me. The questions to be asked at this time appear to be: 

-How much would it cost to reschedule? Cancel?
-Can we leave and get a warning message closer to the time?

Quite the Pose
I walked away from the group in search of answers. A shop clerk gave me directions on where to go, which led me to eventually being herded in with other, more ornery, travellers. Some people can get mad over the dumbest things sometimes. I understand, you've been here 11 hours, and there are no end to the delays in sight. I get it. That doesn't mean you should get mad at the airline or the airport staff. Do either of them control the winds or volcanos? No. Control yourself.

After asserting myself into some situations that helped me get to the front desk - the only location that allowed me to speak to an airline representative - I found that the answers to the questions were: free to reschedule, free to cancel with full reimbursement, and I didn't bother with the third question because rescheduling for free seemed like the most reasonable option if we decided to go home. I call Shimou. They bought food, want me to go back in, and decided to wait until 4 to see what the update will be. 

On my way back in, the desk tells me that I can’t get back in because we need to wait until 3am to see what happens: another delay or not. I say that I would still like to get back in, which they try to dissuade me from, but I talk my way in by insisting and acknowledging that I won't be able to come back out again. Like I said, literally trapped in the airport. Another tidbit picked up at the front desk was that the flight will likely be taking off as soon as possible, maybe as early as 3:30am.  The catch, however, is that the airport on the other side won’t know if they open or not until 6am. What happens if we're in the air, supposing they decide it’s not safe?

The Front Desk, all the way out of all the clearances.
They’d reroute us to the nearest airport and keep us there until it was safe to travel to Denpasar Airport, our original destination. Sounds alright by me. The other three continue to come and go, buying pillows, and other various things while speaking in Mandarin.

A friend, Lucas, asked where I am: “Not Australia” seems the most accurate response.

Listening at time of Editing: "Free" by Haley Reinhart

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