So after leaving Des Moines we had a nice layover in Chicago before taking off on a15 hour-long flight to Hong Kong. The flight itself went actually a lot faster than I thought it would and I was actually able to get a lot of sleep in the air. Interestingly enough, the flight path took us over Canada, North of Alaska, Russia, and most of China before we actually landed in Hong Kong. When we got there it was right at sunset so the scenery as we were landing was awesome. Out of nowhere these very steep green mountains appear in the sea. It was pretty cool to see them as we are touching down literally right next to the South China Sea.
From the airport we took the shuttle to our hotel. Where we stayed was actually very nice and spacious, I even got a king size bed and had a great view of the sea from my room, unfortunately it was too dark to see anything so I did not get any good pictures. Once we got all checked in the group split up to go to our rooms to get freshened up before heading out to explore the city. Unfortunately Sasha was so exhausted from the flight that he crashed and William and I tried to go out but had a minor miscommunication and ended up waiting for each other in different parts of the hotel. By the time we final found each other everything was already closing so we went back to my room and ordered room service, a first for me. Both meals were very good and really hit the spot.
In the morning we all got up early and headed back to the airport to catch our first flight to Indonesia. Overall it was pretty helpful to have a longer layover in Hong Kong because the next morning we all felt pretty refreshed and really not very jet lagged at all. It was a good thing too because we were able to get to the airport pretty early thinking we would have a lot of time to eat and explore. However, we were able to find our terminal pretty quickly and the check in station, but I ended up delaying the whole group because I had two bags and one was very overweight. I did not realize that you were only allowed 23kg per person on the airline that was taking us to Indonesia because the first flight allowed for two 50lbs bags. I had just planned on paying for the second bag and was prepared for that, but when the attendant tried to figure out the price the connecting airport would not answer her call so she had me wait off to the side. It took almost an hour and a half for the airline to call her back so I could pay. The guys very patiently waited for me and it only left us 30 minutes to get through security and get to our gate. I felt horrible, but they just laughed it off. In the end we missed breakfast, but we still made our flight on time.
The first flight from Hong Kong to Jakarta was only five hours and the route took us over the South China Sea and a small piece of Vietnam. Once we got into Jakarta we were all pretty impressed by the weather as you could definitely tell that it was very hot and humid as soon as we stepped off the plane. Overall the airport was set up very nicely and had a lot of greenery which just added to the feel that this was definitely not Iowa. The airport itself was pretty quiet and getting through customs was very fast. We also did not have to wait too long for our connecting flight to Palembang. On the hour and a half trip Sasha was able to talk with a Palembang resident who played in a basketball club and offered to have Sasha join. He was very friendly and said that if we needed anything while we were in Palembang to call him and he would show us around.
Once we got our bags we headed outside and were able to meet up with the principal for the school I and Sasha will be working at. We were able to meet her when she came to visit Iowa last semester and so it was very nice to see at least one familiar face here as soon as we got to Palembang. We also met Rinaldo, as I understand it the owner and operator of the school that William will be working at, as well as his vice principal. We made arrangements for the next day and the first day school before heading out into Palembang.