Day 3 – Medan
This was the day to take our flight back to Singapore in the afternoon. Nothing was planned for the morning. We simply had the whole morning to enjoy our hotel room.
It was a little hazy this morning. To prevent having to jostle with many guests during breakfast in the morning, we went for breakfast early. This was the right move. The restaurant wasn’t crowded yet when we arrived.
We were given a table and the waitress asked if we wanted some special coffee. We didn’t know we could asked for non-regular coffee, so we ordered mocha. Had we known this the previous day, we would have requested for a cup of latte or cappuccino.
Next, we went to order omelets and proceeded to collect food from different stations. On the way back, we collected our omelets and returned to our table to enjoy our breakfast. Our mocha came and it was good.
After that, we went for a second round. This time, we took some dim sum items. Of course we took fruits and fruit juice as well. My dear wife also made a small bowl of noodle soup. Panca who was in charged of the juice corner had been very friendly and helpful. He made us special fruit juice combination. It was really good too.
Our breakfast was very filling and fulfilling. It was even more filling than the previous morning. The staff in the hotel had been very good. Their service had been excellent in every aspect. With breakfast over, we returned to our room to rest and wait for check out to catch our flight home.
So it was packing time and at the same time we watched some hilarious comedy from the Hong Kong channel on TV. Finally near noon, we took our bags and went to the lobby. Check out was trouble free. Having settled our bills, we made our way to concierge to request for a bluebird taxi to the airport.
The taxi arrived within minutes and we boarded the taxi and soon on our way to the airport. Unfortunately, the traffic jams around city centre during school dismissal time set back our travel time. Along the way, there were buskers playing guitars on the road in between cars caught in the traffic jams hoping to earn some money.
After about 25 minutes, we made it through the city traffic and headed up a toll road. After about another 20 minutes on the toll road, we paid 3,000 IDR toll fee and travelled the rest of the journey through suburban area to the airport. Eventually, we arrived at the airport and total travel time was just slightly over an hour. Taxi fare was close to 195,000 IDR so we paid the driver 200,000 IDR. Had we taken the Airport Railink train to the airport, it would cost both of us 200,000 IDR as well not to mention taxi fare from Marriott Hotel to the train station.
Our flight to Singapore was on display according to schedule. As we were still early and Jetstar counter wasn’t opened, we went shopping instead. This modern airport was very comfortable to roam about like a shopping mall.
Our first stop was Sports Station. There wasn’t much on offer as this store was rather small. There were a few other fashion shops at the airport to keep visitors and passengers happily occupied.
There were a number of cafes and restaurants for those who need to catch a bite or grab a meal before flight or waiting for arriving passengers. After inspecting all the different shops, cafes and restaurants, we decided to head to A&W to grab a meal before flight.
A&W was located on the arrival hall level below. So we went there to grab a quick meal. The meal was indeed quick but didn’t taste too bad.
Next, we went to the snack store to buy some cakes before our flight. We heard the honeycomb cakes were pretty good. So we bought two boxes which cost 80,000 IDR each box. With our purchase done, we went to Jetstar counters and realized that the flight was cancelled.
Quite a number of disgruntled passengers were seen arguing with the ground staff. We waited for our turn to speak with the ground staff to enquire about alternative arrangements. There weren’t anymore Jetstar flights back to Singapore that day and the earliest flight would be the 10.35 am flight the next day. We were told there were 51 seats left and we had to decide whether to move our flight to the next day or Jetstar would simply refund our airfare. Of course, we decided to shift our flight to the next day. Unless we were willing to fork our nearly $200 each to fly Silkair back to Singapore the same night at 10.20 pm.
We didn’t see the point of spending a few hundreds dollars to rush home. So we contacted our children back home for back up arrangements. Our elder daughter helped us book Grand Aston City Hall Hotel at the last minute at a cost of $82. We then approached counter staff for a letter of declaration for our flight cancellation to enable us to claim travel insurance when we reached home.
It was then we were told it was due to volcanic activities that our flight was cancelled. There was no mention of cancellation from other airlines. This was not new to us anyway. We encountered the same treatment a few years ago due to eruption of Mount Merapi where our flights to Bali and Jakarta were affected.
I checked with Changi Airport and found the flight flying into Medan had been cancelled. Since no Jetstar flight was flying from Singapore into Medan, obviously, flight from Medan back to Singapore would be impossible. Nevertheless, Jetstar could have informed us much earlier so we didn’t have to rush all the way from the city to the airport wasting time and incurring taxi fare.
So because there was no Jetstar flight from Singapore flying into Medan, there was no point going after the ground handling staff there. Those poor staff had to deal with such unpleasant situation with irate passengers at times assertive and even hostile. It was no easy task.
There was a group of young German backpackers getting caught with this unfortunate incident. They decided to spend the night at the airport. As we had bought quite a lot of bread from Marriott Hotel the night before hoping to share them with our children, we decided to give most of them away to these young people. They were very thankful and after chatting with them for a while, we took our leave and returned to the city.
We went out to the entrance at the departure level to wait for a bluebird taxi bringing passengers to the airport instead of having to deal with the taxi staff at departure hall. When we reached the entrance, a bluebird taxi was just coming in. Passengers were getting out of the taxi after it had stopped near us. We approached the taxi and was allowed to board and soon we were leaving the airport.
We were required to pay 3,000 IDR at a booth before exiting the airport which we didn’t mind. So it was the same journey back to Medan City. In an hour, we arrived at Grand Aston City Hall Hotel. Taxi fare was 196,000 IDR so we paid the driver 200,000 IDR on top of another 3,000 IDR toll fee on the toll road.
We wasted no time to approach front desk to check in. We requested for wifi password so I could download the hotel booking voucher from Agoda my elder daughter sent to my email account. Having shown front desk staff the voucher on my phone, we could proceed with our check in processing. Since we had stayed at this hotel twice last year, we requested for a high floor non-smoking room facing Merdeka Walk and were promptly given a room on the tenth floor.
It was nearly 4 pm when we got into our room. It was still the same standard we experienced last year. The room was nice, clean and pleasant. The bed looked clean and comfortable and the four pillows were of better size and not so flat which we liked.
Toilet was nice and clean with complete toiletries. No bathtub in the toilet but a separate shower stall with rain shower facility was installed.
Wifi worked and TV with many international channels so we won’t be bored. Having checked the room and everything was in order, we left and went to the spa centre on level three to enquire about the packages. Having decided on our treatment package, we went back to our room to change and then returned to the spa centre.
We were ushered into a couple’s room. It was still the same except there was no aroma scent set up in the room. Anyway, the room was conducive with soothing music. So we got started and relaxed for the next two hours to get back into shape after stressing over loss of credit cards on the first day and now extending our weekend break due to flight cancellation. The treatment was good but towards the end, the room became quite cold and we were shivering a bit. However, the hot ginger tea after the treatment was very good.
When we left the spa centre, it was already very dark outside. The two hours seemed to pass so quickly. We returned to our room to wash up and then changed to prepare to go for dinner.
Centre Point Mall was just nearby but we had already been there twice, so we just went to the Spoon Restaurant in the hotel for dinner. The restaurant was empty with only one other guest having dinner there.
The waitress serving us was very helpful and friendly. I ordered Wagyu beef burger that was on offer by the restaurant at only 98,000 IDR net that came with a cola. My wife ordered nasi goreng again as she liked this local dish. We also had an asparagus soup. Our dinner was very good and we spent an enjoyable time at the restaurant.
After dinner, we walked down to ground floor and approached the lounge to look at some cakes. There was a 50% discount on cakes at night so we bought four slices of cakes that fit nicely into a box.
We then went into Heritage Café for a look and took some pictures in those nice rooms. We bought another sausage puff that was given a 50% discount as well.
So after roaming ground floor for a while, we returned to our room. This was time we finally could rest on bed and watch TV. This was an unexpected extended holiday. It would be a lot better had we been notified earlier about the flight cancellation without having to waste time and money going to the airport and coming back to the city.
Anyway, our flight in the morning would be 10.35 am. So we would have to leave the hotel very early to head over to the Airport Railink Station to take the 8 am train to the airport. As such, we didn’t watch TV till very late at night. We also enjoyed watching the street scene at Merdeka Walk below and the fascinating lights from Centre Point Mall ahead. Not long after, our comfortable bed with great pillows kept us through the night in peace and sweet rest.
Continue to Day 4 …