Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jakarta Diaries : 1 : Packing And Preparations

Thanks to my current employer, Amdocs, I got an opportunity for my first international trip. For some project activities, I was asked on a short notice to go to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia for less than or up to one month. I said yes, without a blink, and the process started.

Like my previous history with the on site opportunities, this trip was almost cancelled, but then confirmed on last minute. Earlier in my previous company, I was set to go to China for one year, my work permit also arrived, but the client dropped the requirement, and trip got cancelled. And there were few instances in both companies I worked with, where there was an opportunity, but it did not work out, because of some visa eligibility requirements, company policies, too many reasons to name a few.

The china thing seemed to be so certain, the news was spread in all my family, close and distant relatives and friends. When the trip was cancelled, it was quite an embarrassment. So when I was likely to go this time, I used the term "most likely", till the day I was scheduled to go. Even on that day, I was mentally prepared to receive a call from my manager informing me that the trip is cancelled, and I am supposed to come to office as usual.

A colleague who was already on site, helped me a lot with the preparations. I did a lot of shopping for food items and stuff required for one month stay. The luggage weight allowed per peson is 30 kg, and beyond that they charge for each block of 5kg, varying with airlines. So the challenge was to try to adjust the stuff between the limit. I packed only the items I bought in one bag and weighed it on our bathroom scale. It weighed 25kg when kept horizontally, and around 22kg when kept vertical. Obviously it was not reliable.

I hadn't pack my clothes yet, camera, and a lot of things. In addition to this, both my mom, and my mother in law, sent their love. In India, love means food. :D Both of them prepared some durable snacks, and sent it from Aurangabad to Pune for me to take along. It reached my wife first, and she called me to tell that its easily around 8kgs. I told her I am only taking food to Indonesia, no clothes or any other thing. :D

We had to do something about increasing luggage and we did. We unpacked everything, and packed again. We left some of the stuff we packed earlier to make space for the love delivered from Aurangabad. :D We reduced the quantities of many things by considerable amount. Initially we had packed my clothes in a different bag, but when we realized that the bag itself weighs 3Kg, we merged everything into the bigger one tightly. 

Apart from that big aristocrat bag, and my laptop bag, we were still left with few miscellaneous things. We packed it into my office sack, and we were done. We bought one spring balance weighing scale, with maximum capacity of 50 kg, for weighing these, and in a hope that we'll get to go on such trips again in future. :)

Although the scale was capable of measuring weights upto 50kg, it's really difficult to lift a bag and hold it with that small and metallic grip of the scale. I lifted it and held it as long as possible, and the scale measured around 28 kg. The other office sack which I intended to check in was around 2-3 kg. 

I was in no mood to repack now, and so I made up my mind to pay baggage charge if necessary. My cab arrived on time, and I left for Mumbai. Generally, Pune-Mumbai travel takes 3-3.5 hours, but you never know, if some large container meets tragic accident on express highway, and blocks the road for hours, or you reach Panvel fast enough, but later it may take more time to reach airport. So to be on safe side, I left pretty early from Pune, and reached well before the check in time.

I would've got bored till boarding the flight, if my friend had not come to see me on airport. We spent a lot of time chatting and then she left. The recently started terminal 2 on Mumbai Airport, is really mind blowing. Everything is grand, luminous, and wonderful. For a moment, you might forget you are standing in Mumbai. :D

After waiting for more than half an hour in check in queue, I finally boarded my first international flight, and took off for Jakarta. :)