Tuesday 15th to Wednesday 16th and possibly Thursday 17th November 2016
Slight panic sets in as Jersey airport becomes fog bound for most of the day ahead of setting off to Sumatra. Plan A, a straightforward flight to London or Plan B an overnight ferry* from Jersey to Portsmouth followed by a taxi journey sprint to Heathrow, not exactly enticing!
Thankfully Plan A was enacted, the fog cleared on cue around 17.30 and my 20.20 flight took off on schedule. A night spent at Gatwick airport was followed by a coach journey at 6 am to Heathrow to ensure I made the 10.00 o’clock flight to Kuala Lumpar (KL). Don’t let anyone kid you that travelling is glamourous!
The flight to KL takes around 12 hours and you gain around 8 hours as you travel. Maybe that should read you lose 8 hours of your life travelling this way round the planet because it’s certainly an endurance test. This was followed up by a 1 hour connecting flight to Medan on the Island of Sumatra. The word discombobulated comes to mind as we are collected by our hosts and driven to our hotel not sure exactly which day of the week we were now on. It’s a sign of the times out here that our vehicle is searched and all our luggage passed through detectors prior to us being searched going into the Hotel, a widely known American chain.
As with all the places our hosts are extraordinarily generous ensuring we’re fed and watered and given time to freshen up prior to our visit to the coffee processing factory of Sarimakmur in Medan.
The city of Medan has a population of around 2.5 million people but sadly the infrastructure seems capable of only handling half that number as the roads appear to be permanently gridlocked. It takes an inordinate amount of time to travel the short distance to the plant and many near misses with the “pedestrian” pavement seemingly not out of bounds for the myriad of moped users. It’s incredible that there aren’t bodies strewn everywhere.
Eventually we arrive at our destination the vast coffee processing plant of Sarimakmur. Security is tight and when you see how much coffee is here it comes as no surprise.
*P.S. Plan B would never have worked as it transpired. The ferry was cancelled due to an unidentified package being found