The scope of our Indonesian adventure moves in a dynamic state of flux, and it never fails to surprise us. My last post alluded to the fact that we boarded the plane and arrived in Timika, but that didn’t happen. An hour after I posted it, we boarded the plane, took off, and, after two hours of flight time, we turned around and flew back to Makassar.
The adventure didn’t stop there. We waited in front of the airport for more than ninety-minutes before a shuttle arrived to transport us to a hotel. We were expecting a direct route to the hotel, but the driver made a quick stop at a dilapidated side-street shop and made some kind of clandestine transaction before continuing on to the hotel. Once we arrived at the hotel (with no luggage) we spent an hour checking in and another hour chasing down extra bedding and toothbrushes before crashing in our beds.
Early the next morning, we were shuttled back to the airport for a second attempt. We waited for five-hours just to see if the air quality conditions would improve, and once it looked like it was worth a shot, we boarded the plane and flew towards Timika. There was no guarantee that we would land. In fact, we were warned that there was a high likelihood that we would return to Makassar with a quick stop in Biak to refuel. Two-and-a-half hours later, we were on the ground…..in Timika!
The impact that the wildfires have had on travel in and out of jobsite is shocking. The Timika airport has been closed for more than two weeks, stranding up to 2,000 employees and more than one hundred wives and children. The day that we returned to Timika, three company airplanes, filled to capacity, landed from Makassar, delivering approximately 400 employees, 3 wives, and 4 children back to jobsite.
Much needed and wanted rain returned Saturday, settling the fires in the rainforest and clearing the smoke in the air. As a result, the Timika airport is now fully functional and operational, and the company’s difficult task and diligent effort of returning everyone back to jobsite will be completed by Friday.
Everyone has their own unique experience and story to tell. My friend, Robin, wrote about her and her son’s experience trying to leave jobsite on her blog. Click on this link, So You Think Leaving is Easy?, to read her story.