Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Me: We pay you money so I fly.
Him: No reservation.
Me: Understand. We pay you money so I fly. We no pay you money so I sit in airport. No standby. Standby no good.
Him: You name no on list.
Me: I understand. Why we pay you money?
Him: You buy ticket?
Me: No, I no buy ticket. Administrator buy ticket.
Him: Name no on list.
Me: You fix.
Him: Wait 30 minutes before flight.
Me: We call that standby.
Him: Yes. Standby.
At which point - and the real point of this story: a guy walks up and tries to get onto our flight with—I’m not making this up—an AK47 and handgun that he sets on the counter when he hands his ticket over to the clerk. I dared to hope that this might pose a security problem but then remembered where I was. I don’t know the exact definition of “lax” but the security in Medan’s airport comes pretty close. Sure, they don’t check ID, sure you can carry knives on board, but we’re talking guns here. I mean, c’mon, we’re not in Iraq or Afghanistan, surely you can't just get on to flights with automatic weapons here - oh wait, yes apparently you can. The compromise that seemed to have been agreed upon was that he could carry the weapons but not the ammunition. (Yes, there were actually bullets IN the guns) and I watched the security guys take the bullets out of the gun and—wait for it—hand them back to him. Apparently, security here are of the “guns don’t kill people, bullets kill people” school of thought. More later—if I’m not gunned down mid-flight.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Good morning boys and girls. I’m writing in to say that I’ve already lived the day you’re just beginning and it’s not a good one so take my advice, and go back to bed.
Woke up this morning under my mosquito net with only the prospect of a dirty well shower. There was nothing edible for breakfast. USAID has pulled PACTEC’s funding which means we’re losing high-speed internet in Meulaboh (WAY TO GO US GOVT!!). Wrote a touching piece about a woman having a baby on a rooftop in the midst of the tsunami. Had some water buffalo for lunch. Had a brief walk between the house and office where I got yelled at by every passing vehicle “HEY MISTA!! WHAT YOUR NAME?” It’s worse than Italy here. Found out a crucial flight out of here tomorrow was canceled and spent the better half of the afternoon at the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, misc. airline offices, trying to chase down/schmooze my way on to a flight. Chartered a plane in the end. Canceled the charter. Will spend all of tomorrow at the airport trying to get on a flight and am now sitting in about 110 degree heat being eaten by malaria-carrying mosquitos at 9 at night imploring you to just skip today and head straight into Wednesday.