19-21 June 2012 1 of 2


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TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE VII: THE LONG FLIGHTS TO TIMOR-LESTE

I caught my Lufthansa flight from Birmingham to Frankfurt with a short transfer time before the next flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Unfortunately the first flight left 40 minutes late which resulted in it landing at Frankfurt at about the same time my onward flight was boarding. I ran to catch the next flight but was concerned my baggage would not make the connection. It was impossible for Lufthansa to confirm whether my bags were on board but the fact that this flight too was delayed gave me hope.

When we had refueled at Bangkok the aircrew were finally able to confirm my bags were on board and at Kuala Lumpur I watched them unloaded, a great relief, but my problems were not over. I went through Immigration at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and met Hinrich Kaiser and Caitlin Sanchez, arrived from the US. We then took a taxi to the LCCT (KL's low-cost airline terminal) to catch our onward Air Asia flight to Denpasar, Bali. It was at the Air Asia check-in counter that I discovered that I had lost my passport. This would normally be a disaster as you cannot travel without one and which would have meant I stayed in Kuala Lumpur and reported to the British Embassy the next day.

Fortunately I carry two valid British passports, in order to travel using one while obtaining visas using the other, and so I was able to use the second one to check-in for the flight. The next problem was that I had to exit Malaysia without an entry stamp, but explaining the situation to Malaysia Immigration achieved the necessary exit stamp. Since the Bali flight was also delayed I was able to report the loss of the passport to the Police. There was nothing more I could do and we eventually flew to Bali, arriving at 03:30 in the morning to meet with Andrew Kathriner (a gecko specialist from Phase IV) and Sven Mecke (a skink specialist from Phase VI) who had flown in from the US and Germany, respectively.

We got four hours sleep and then went back to the airport to catch our final flight, a Merpati flight to Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, Dili, Timor-Leste, arriving in the early afternoon.

Journey's End: Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, Dili
(click any image to enlarge & note mouse-over symbol)
Arriving at Timor Lodge Hotel Our chalets 35 & 36

Personally after the various problems I had experienced on the long flight I was just pleased to check into the Timor Lodge Hotel, our usual base in Timor-Leste and where we got two of our regular chalets (35 & 36) to get some rest, but....