My airport scenario sort of went as screenwritten—well, minus the songs and dancing. I was fifth off the plane and had my visa in 5 minutes (a security guard asked me where the hell I thought I was going, trying to jump a barricade, and when I told him my next flight was in the process of boarding, he took my passport and visa fee, went to the head of the long, long queue, and got my visa for me. Dirty looks from people in line. But the Helpless Female archetype has its uses.)
There is no transit lounge at Denpasar airport, I found out. One must first “enter the country” by walking out one side of the building (Welcome to Bali!) and then go round to the departures side of the building (Thank you for coming!) I got to the check-in desk as they were making a last call for me…for a minute my spirit soared: the ground crew sprang into action, a lot of urgent radio conversations ensued…but I was far too late: security gates had shut down long before, and I had yet to go through Customs…not enough time. There would not have been enough time even if Denpasar did have a transit lounge.
As predicted, I ended up having to buy another ticket. Another 150 dollars didn’t kill me, but it left me with 300 bucks for my entire stay here. Inconvenient, but it’s possible to get by on that. When I finally e-mailed Kris and tell him what happened, he replied simply “I knew my cat would land on all fours, no matter which window she fell out of.” This is as close to a pat on the head as I’ll get from him, so I lap it up. It’s sort of like being told “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”
Made KL by 12:30 a.m.—the bus station had closed but there was a small group of taxi pimps on the street in front of the station, trying to attract passengers. All I had to do was ask “Pulau Pinang?”
A big guy nodded “You come with me.”
He led me down a side street, and put me on the very last seat of an air-conditioned bus bound for Penang, (it took off 5 minutes later)
“Here your change, here your ticket, enjoy Penang!” he said, then opened his arms and asked “Want hug? Ah, only joking, lah!” I like it here, already.
I slept most of the way, and arrived at the Sungai Nibong bus terminal on Pinang Island at 5:30 a.m.