Back home in Jakarta

We arrived last night in Jakarta after a wonderful three weeks at our small vineyard in the Victorian countryside. Our Qantas flight was like almost all economy class flights these days; a rather sobering affair. Airlines all over the world save on almost everything it seems, especially the quality of food and service on board are sacrificed for quarterly profits. That’s at least my impression from the flight- intensive life which I lead. In fact the meals on this Qantas flight were so awful that I suggested to my wife we bring our own food in the future.

The airline had also saved on TV/video screens. There were only one large screen and two small monitors in our large section of the plane. Whereas in other planes they would have done with at least some more small ones every five meters, we had to do with the three, one for each 15 metre aisle. It was hard to see what was going on and to follow the films. There seems to be not enough competition on flights between Indonesia and Australia so that the airline can get away with these low standards.

The movies shown were good though. Not for all the passengers I must admit. The mainly Asian crowd did not know what to do with these two movies and opted largely to ignore them. For some of the Caucasians on the other side, especially those from our own socialisation cohort (older folks born in the early fifties), they were a treat. First we watched “Across the universe”, a film set to music from the Beatles of the 1960s which is fabulously made, with great soundtracks and a good sense of the era. The film has some surreal parts which make it the more lovely. Many parts reminded us of our youth, which is always nice. Later we watched “September” a story about the friendship of a white and a black Australian boy on an outback farm. Beautiful empty landscapes were shown. One felt taken back to the 1970s in rural Australia were people were even more quiet than today, were they say only the necessary but are observant and show empathy with their fellow citizen.

The wine selection was also not so bad. At least we could drink a nice 2004 Cabernet blend from Sticks Vineyard in the Yarra Valley (www.sticks.com.au) which is located just across the road from our friend Steve Sadlier of Nenagh Park in Yarra Glen. It took some considerable persuasion to have the flight attendents part with their wine. But as experienced travelers we finally found a willing accomplice and were able to sample a couple of bottles. So after all we had somehow a homely feeling and the wine lifted our otherwise doused spirits. It’s no fun to fly economy these days.

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