Sunday, October 07, 2007

Never go transcontinental in a cheap bra

So Chad and I have been in Bangkok for a few days, which I'll tell you about soon. But first, a cautionary tale about stinginess and being a flake.

The scene of the crime, as swiped from

I hate bra-shopping. I mean, I'm not much of a shopper for anything, but buying bras is especially annoying. So when my old ones were all disintegrating, I went to Hypermart, Indonesia's version of Walmart, and bought a cheap one without even trying it on. It fits OK, but the company that made it apparently isn't familiar with modern elastic technology, so it has no stretch at all and thus comes unhooked several times a day. Then I have to find a hidden place and go through a series of contortions to hook it back together.

I had to come back from Bangkok early, so I booked a flight through Singapore. At the Singapore airport, I lounged around, had some Indian food, checked my email, etc. Suddenly I remembered I had to check in for the flight. I stood in line for twenty minutes while the guy ahead of me had a nice long chat with the woman at the counter. Finally I presented her with the printout of my reservation.

"Oh, you have to go through Immigration," she said.

"What?!" I said in a panic. "My flight leaves in twenty minutes!"

"Oh, well, then just go to the gate," she replied. So I started running for the gate. Except, of course, my bra came unhooked, so I had to sort of hunch over and cross my arms in front of me. At that instant, I got a weird, incredibly painful cramp in the arch of my left foot, so I was limping along doubled over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame under my heavy backpack.

I got to the gate and, in accordance with Adam Air policy, the woman behind the counter was as mean as TWO snakes. She turned me away without so much as a grunt of sympathy. The flight was leaving, and I was toast.

I have to admit, dear reader, at that point I stomped out of the gate area, sat down in the corridor, and bawled my head off. It was absurd, because missing a cheap flight is hardly the worst thing that can happen; I'd spent all week writing about REALLY bad things that happen to people. But I was tired, all my clothes were dirty, the trip was already financially dicey, and now I was going to have to spend a lot of money for a night in Singapore I didn't remotely desire.

Finally I dried myself out and took the train into town, where I sit writing this at an internet cafe. The Indian woman who runs the place and her small child have just spontaneously broken into song, and I'm starting to feel better.

So, the moral of my story is: check in for your flight early, and for heaven's sake buy a bra with elastic next time.


michele said...

ah yes, the missed flight - under stressful and physically uncomfortable circumstances no less. despite it's relative unimportance in the scheme of things, it does create an apex of distress, doesn't it?

my sister and I "enjoyed" such an experience a few yrs ago when we had to cut short our Hawaiian vacation to fly home for our grandmother's funeral. some combination of our sadness at the loss and our usual disorganization led to circumstances at the airport like: misunderstanding inspection protocols and being delayed by a special luggage search; being met with a security line of literally hundreds of people; and finding ourselves running/tripping through long corridors to the gate while wearing flip flops that somehow seemed like a good footwear choice a few hrs before.

we made the flight, but to this day I have no idea how.

big fun!

Mary said...

bras and shoes - two things that make me irrationally insecure when they don't fit and/or fall off regularly. For some reason I don't feel right about being in a strange place without a good pair of shoes that I could spontaneously sprint in and a bra that will support that movement. I've even gone so far as to wear a sports bra while traveling. So, I guess I can understand that feeling of coming unraveled - literally and figuratively - in the airport!

Indonesia Anonymus said...

Oh boy. What a day you had. You have our sympathy.

One thing caught our attention, though:
You wrote:

"Oh, you have to go through Immigration," she said.
"What?!" I said in a panic. "My flight leaves in twenty minutes!"
"Oh, well, then just go to the gate," she replied.

This is bizarre. Does it mean you can 'skip' immigration?
Now this is good news.
Not that we want to do anything illegal, but we can do without the immigration officer with attitude problem, their cold stare and their slow motion passport-stamping action...

kopisusu2 said...

Well I was transferring flights, having come in from Bangkok, so I just went to the transfer counter instead of exiting immigration and coming back in. Apparently this usually works, but not for Adam Air.

I'm with you on the cold stare, for sure.

Peyo said...

I had a horrible travel story that I hope will be a good schadenfreude for you.

I used to be a consultant, and had to travel every week. I was on my last week working at my company in US before I went back to Indonesia for good. However, they still insisted on me working at my client site on my last week. This implies that I have to travel with 2 gigantic suitcases (and 1 slightly less gigantic one) containing all my personal belongings.

So imagine how I felt when I arrived at my client's city only to find that the airline has lost one of my suitcases, which of course happened to be the one with all of my CD collection, my camera equipment, my hard drive and about everything that signify who I am (at least that's how I felt at that time).

I spent the whole night before my flight cleaning my apartment and hardly had any sleep. So, I was at my lowest emotional point. I was almost crying when I talked to the baggage claim agent, and they were not being helpful at all.

I just sat and didn't say anything but curse words to the airline company, my company, my stupidity, and the world in general.

Of course, they retrieved it and gave it to me after a few days. But the agony that they've put me through!

You'll feel better, especially after a bra shopping trip :)