What to do in an airport for 9 hours – Bali

27th October

So what do you do when you are dropped off at the airport with 9 hours to spare. That is the million dollar question that we now know the answer to.

Denpasar airport, like many airports, is not too shabby, but also not where you’d choose to spend the day. Well we decided to do precisely that. Laden with our luggage, hobbling from various coral injuries and scratching furiously at literally hundreds of mosquito bites, we refused a quick day trip to Kuta in favour of a day at the airport. Because, quite frankly, with what we’d heard about the ‘Ibiza of Asia’ a day at the airport would always be preferable.

We arrived at 4pm of course unable to check in for another 7 hours. So how does one entertain themselves with a WHSmith, a bookshop, two food stalls, a cafe and an outdoor/tent shop for options.

First things first, food. Used to the dirt cheap prices of Bali and Gili it came as quite a shock to pay 120,000 for a sandwich and a bottle of water. A price that had fed and watered all three of us in Ubud. But you console yourself by saying that it is the airport and therefore prices will be elevated. But why should they be? Because you have no choice and so they can put the prices up. But why? And this endless thought process will circle round and round in your mind as your stare gormlessly into the distance, no doubt at someone taking a selfie with the cafe sign, until a lukewarm, soggy pizza is dumped in front of you and you realise you have to eat and so hand over the small change you have left. Still, that wasted 15 minutes.

Now what? We had already looked through the book shop and eaten and only an hour or so had passed. So a game of cards? Numerous card games desperately getting less and less enthusiastic until Flo actually fell asleep. Significant time must have passed by now! Nope. Three hours down, six to go.

A game. Find the post box. We all had written postcards to send so finding a postbox was our next activity to pass the time. Too easy. Ten minutes. Although the sellotape Abi needed to seal her envelope was nowhere to be seen, so the lovely man at customer service improvised with superglue.

After 4 hours in an airport with very little mind stimulus you start to notice people. The surfers and their surfboards, sad goodbyes between family members, Australian teenagers still clinging onto their holiday by downing Smirnoff Ice after Smirnoff Ice.

And then you discover the strange ways of people. The tourists taking photos of the flight timetable, photos of the coffee club sign. You can’t help but wonder what these photos will add to the holiday photo album. Oh well who am I to judge, I have about 100 photos of monkeys 99% of which I will probably never look at again.

The clock hits 10.35. We can finally check in. Euphoria.

A couple of guys from our flight in joined the queue behind us smelling faintly of alcohol having clearly having had a wild time. They looked possibly as worse for wear as we did despite us having a relaxing beach break. A quick joke with the check in guy about an upgrade which did not go down as well as hoped.

Through security without a blip and we were finally on the other side! There is even less to do on this side unless you can afford designer everything. Even trying to buy water for the plane and apparently we can’t…all water was confiscated at the gate.

So a 7 hour flight followed with no food no water and the smallest seats I have ever encountered. Not cool Air Asia. Not cool.

The airport is full of those waiting. Waiting to fly, waiting to goodbye, waiting to pick excited arrivals up. It’s a strange limbo land, where time stops upon entering the doors. It could be seven in the morning and drinking a beer is accepted. It’s the gateway to the unexpected or a portal back to normality. Everyone has the same aim: to get beyond the big departures sign and the men in uniform and onto their flight. And all will go through the same security checks and then disperse into many directions as they venture to the lands beyond. Keep the adventure in mind, chuck in a few card games and this will while away the hours in no time.

Tori and Flo x

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