Bali, August 26–27, 2012
So the question you’re probably asking if you’ve read part 1 is exactly what could make your eyes water? Well, with cavities unprobed, but also with a distinct lack of bonhomie on the part of the immigration officials, Becky Beech and I were left in the care of capable but clearly bewildered AirAsia security guards; bewildered as they couldn’t quite figure out what I was as they escorted me around: criminal? Hapless idiot? Unfortunate victim of circumstance?
I say the latter pretty much covers it (but I would, of course). But all that aside, the very stark reality was that Becky and I were dropped unceremoniously in the early evening in the Garuda Airlines executive lounge, waiting for the only flight we were allowed to take: the one next morning, back to Bangkok. This, apparently, is what is called deportation, technically speaking.
We weren’t harshly treated, I have to say, but the St. Regis it certainly wasn’t. Limp cheese sandwich, the endless monotony of departure times announced by a man with clear ideas above his station (airline lounge attendant wasn’t this queen’s dream), and a procession of pale, pallid smokers on their way to the puffing place made this night a surprisingly long one.
And this was only part 1 of the night. During this time, Becky Beech and I were also subjected to unrelenting air-conditioning that always, always seemed focused on our heads, and which led to the suspected onset of the flu, pneumonia, chilblains and other ancient ailments. And worst of all? Loud, shouty people: the bane of our lives every single place we go to.
Lucky for us, then, that when the airline lounge closed we had a change of scenery—this time, to the AirAsia security guards’ “office” (read: closet). I have to say that without my dearest Becky by my side, this would have been only barely tolerable. With her, it was at least a shared experience.
So it was with a distinct level of humility and acceptance that we accepted the hospitality of the guards (they apologized profusely at the state of the office and Lord knows, they had no reason to). By this time, we were both truly exhausted; literally drained of human emotion and response. The guards kindly laid down a sheet on the floor for us, and we fashioned makeshift pillows out of our bags. My sweetheart laid my jacket on my face, and with a fistful of sleeping pills, I blissfully passed out.
It was only next morning that I realized that Becky hadn’t slept but had spent the night flicking roaches away from my sleeping body. And if that’s not a reflection of true love, I don’t know what is. Then in a flurry, and with a constant security escort, it was suddenly sunlight and airplane again; the next phase of our adventure: returning to exactly where we came from…
Coming in part 3: Back to Bangkok and beyond!
*The Fugees were a band in the 90s who had a brief but shining time in the spotlight with a cover of “Killing Me Softly,” originally by Roberta Flack. The band name is a contraction of “refugees.”