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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : The Timor Sea by Plane-Hitchhiking

At the end of my journey in Australia, I have for challenge to reach Indonesia, or Timor Leste, by hitchhiking. I have in front of me the last continent that I want to cross in this world tour by hitchhiking: Asia.

The obstacle is the Timor Sea. Normally, this will be the last space of water that I will cross (except the trips between the Indonesian islands).

The Timor Sea, between Australia and Asia

I know that Darwin is a city where there are a lot of sailing boat leaving in this direction. What I don't know is that I arrived too early in the season. I realize that most of the boats will cross the Timor Sea from mid-May and now is only mid-March. I am two months early, which is not a very good news.

However, I try to look for the one that would eventually go in the marinas. Cullen Bay, Dinah Beach, Duck Pond, the Waterfront, Bay view, the Sailing Club, the Fisherman's Wharf, I go in every places where I could meet some boat captains.

Cullen Bay Marina in Darwin

After almost two weeks of research, I don't really have any leads. Just some boats leaving for the race Darwin-Ambon in July would maybe be interested by taking me.

So I started to investigate on the web. Some cruising boats stop in Darwin on the way of Asia, but after some emails sent to the companies, I already have contacted everybody in this area. Just few answers and all negatives.

Then, with the mentality of “trying everything” and “why not, it could work”, I send some requests to the airlines companies that have flights on the way to Asia from Darwin.

Jet Star, Quantas, Vincent Aviation, Hardys, Airnorth and some more. Some answer, others don't, but still I am getting nowhere.

And finally, I am wondering why shouldn't I try the largest Asian low-cost company: Air Asia. And, why not also trying to reach directly his CEO Tony Fernandes.
Air Asia had near 30 millions passengers in 2011 (http://www.btimes.com.my/articles/airazea/Article/).

The person in charge of this group must surely have the time to read my email and to offer me a journey by plane-hitchhiking, no?

And Yes! Two hours after my request, I receive a personal answer from Tony Fernandes, who is informing me that he delegated my request to Mr Dharmadi, the CEO of Air Asia Indonesia. From this moment, everything goes fast. Dharmadi delegates my request to his assistant Audrey Petriny, who is telling me that my request has been accepted.

The next day, I receive a free ticket to Denpasar in Bali, Indonesia.

The gift: a ticket to plane-hitchhike to Bali

And the price to pay...

The next day of course, I am on time in the airport of Darwin. My flight is booked at 3.20pm. This is one of the rare time that I exactly know the time of my next vehicle.

Hitchhiking isn't generally an exact science, except this time maybe

Some minutes before to depart, I take the traditional picture of the hitchhiker, this time as a plane-hitchhiker

Here it is, on the way to Indonesia. Here is an original way to start this last continent. The views from the sky are incredible, especially when we got closer to the island of Bali, where I can recognize the volcanic origin of his creation.

The island of Bali and his volcano.

When I got off the plane, I am going towards the lobby of the airport where some smell of incense come to my nose. Or maybe this is the cigarets perfumed with clove? Then, I arrive in the street, where hundreds of motorbikes pass in front of me. The human activity is incredible, especially after the low density of population in Australia. I walk, see some shops stalls selling things that I have never seen before, other smells, temples, the musicality of a language that is completely foreign to me... Well, this is another story... I am in Bali and this is the most important.

Arrived in Bali...

Thank you to the group Air Asia that allowed me to go one step further by “plane-hitchhiking”.

See you soon,

Jérémy



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