Finally, some time to write about our trip.
We flew AirAsia out of Melbourne. Seriously cheap. The cost of the taxi from our home to the airport was more expensive than the cost of one ticket from Melbourne – KL.
I was worried that low cost would mean low quality, but we had no problems at check in, no problems with late flights or lost bags and the service on the plane was fine. There was also no problem with S’s walker and wheelchair, although we know next time to inform check in staff in Melbourne that we need to borrow a wheelchair to meet us off the plane in KL as it’s quite a walk to where you collect the baggage.
Having 3 restless children on an 8 hour flight was quite a challenge, but we can’t blame AirAsia for that ;-).
We arrived in Medan, Sumatra where my in-laws live at 9pm at night. It wasn’t the heat that reminded me most that we were back in Indonesia, it was the smell and haze of clove ‘kretek’ cigarettes in the arrival hall and the lack of haste on the part of the immigration staff.
We spent our first 2 nights at the Aryaduta hotel in Medan. A seriously gorgeous hotel that takes up the top 3 floors of one of the many shopping mall complexes in downtown Medan. I so wish this hotel had existed when I lived in Medan 10 years ago. A beautiful pool, a fabulous restaurant and being up so high, there was no sound of the traffic or chaos of the streets below. The view over the city was great. S, who is always particularly curious about how many levels a building has, was excited to be staying on the 11th floor. M loved the lifts. They both loved the all you can eat buffet breakfast :-).
And again, it was cheap. The cost of our 2 nights there including incredible buffet breakfasts and one amazing buffet lunch was also less than the price of our taxi to the airport in Melbourne.
I liked the free wireless Internet and the fact that sitting by the pool, we could almost imagine were were in a hotel near the beach in Bali.
I’ll be honest and say that 2 nights of luxury hotel life were not enough for me. It’s been a big year, an exhausting year and I was tired, am STILL tired. I could have happily stayed in the hotel for a week and fully recharged my batteries.
But alas, the trip was all about visiting family, so on the third day we left the hotel and traveled about an hour out of the city to the village where my husband grew up.
It’s a beautiful village alongside a river, with limited vehicle access, beautiful tropical fruit trees galore (rambutan, papaya, bananas and more) and an incredibly friendly community.
We arrived after dark and it was pouring rain. But still, we received a great welcome with everyone smiling and laughing, carrying large umbrellas and helping us carry our bags through the puddles and into our little Indonesian home.
And so the second part of our adventure began.