Posted by: patriciamar | September 4, 2009

Out to Sea

We have decided that, rather than flying, we will take a ship (Pelni) from Kalabahi, Alor, to Bali, on our way home.  From Bali, we will then fly to Jakarta, stay for one night, and then fly back to Belanda.  Belanda is Indonesian for Netherlands, or Holland, in case you didn’t guess.

Around here, you spend an awful lot of time explaining … Kami tenggal di Belanda (We live in Holland), tapi kami orang Amerika (but we are Americans).  Usually, this is quite confusing.  The Holland part is normal, virtually all foreign visitors to Indonesia are from Holland.  But the fact that we are American tends to throw people off. 

Ahh! Ca-li-fornia!  New York? 

No. Minnesota (and it’s okay that you have no idea where that is.) We usually just go with California for Matt and I umbrella under it. 

California!  Los Angeles!? 

No, Sacramento.

But they like this as well. 

Ahhh!  Sacramento! Ya, Ya!

And then of course, a short discussion on Barack Obama.

Ahhh!  Obama!  Obama!

Yes, Obama!

Obama tenggal di Indonesia!  Di Jakarta! (Obama lived in Indonesia! In Jakarta!)

Ya! Di Jakarta.  This is always a nice bonding point for us.  It is wonderful to have a likeable president…

Now back to our upcoming trip on the high seas…

Pelni ships are basically old-school cruise ships, and you can choose between first, second, third, fourth, and economy class.  Now, if you choose to be adventurous and google this on the internet, do not be alarmed at what you will find. There will be a number of terrifying accounts of taking a Pelni ship, and all of them, you guessed it, in economy class.  I apologize if one of these innocent bloggers ever comes across this blog, but if you have ever travelled in a country that is deemed a true third world, no offense Indonesia or Mexico (my countries of choice), you should not travel in economy.  The lowest class in these countries cannot be compared to travelling in economy in an airplane, it is simply another world.  Expecting no space, no air, no sunlight, bad food (if any), an abundance of cockroaches, and likely other friendly farm animals… this is just the start.

Matt and I, mostly because we will now be heading into our vacation section of the trip, have decided to take first class.  Fourth class is a little too close to Economy for me, third class is just rows of bed-like benches in a long hallway, and second class is separated by genders- so it is pretty much the only option left. 

To put this in perspective, the three days on the ship in first class, including food, will still cost less than flying from Kalabahi to Kupang to Bali.  So, we are looking forward to a new experience, hopefully some time to look out at the hundreds of islands that we will pass (we are supposed to have a window), and some time to sleep and relax as well. 

And I am still prepared for cockroaches.

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