Up at 0515 hours; finally in cockpit at 0900 hours, after usual delays clearing flight plans, completing documentation etc. Sweating like a pig in the cockpit, sweat literally running down face and body, sitting in cockpit with fleece etc under thermal flying suit, waiting for Richard to kit up and get in; SCB bank people seeing us off- wonderful hospitality as always!
Always need to say my goodbye's before I put my headphones on, as, due to the need for them to cut out most of the engine noise in flight, can't hear anything once on, and can't see any signalling/waving from them either!
Very hot flight, with ATC keeping us at just 2,500 feet for some reason, and not the 5,000 feet requested throughout four hour flight, mostly over sea, with island of Java about 10 miles on our right- had flying suit and fleece undone most of flight due to heat at lower altitude.
My computer navigation system packed in half-way through flight- overheating I think; had to rely on Richard flying remainder of leg.
Landed at Semarang- big military base with lots of army helicopters (Huey's I think, judging by thumping sound).
Great welcome by airport ground staff and airport management- apparently TV coverage proceeded us, so all aware of our mission.
Soon sorted out with Av-gas and hangarage; alerted some media people around, but didn't see when leaving airport.
Semarang big city- six million population!
In hotel room by only 1500 hours- wonderful, wonderful treat, being able to lie down and rest for a bit before catching up with Blog- feeling absolutely exhausted, realising basically no time/day off for last 42 days, apart from day in bed when ill.
4pm, with me fallen into almost drugged sleep on bed, woken up by gentle but very persistent knocking on door; turns out to be very polite journalist, alerted to our presence and whereabouts by thoughtful airport management. Journalist/photographer comes in, apologising not able to speak much english; I offer him Coke from mini-bar; more asleep than awake, wishing I could curl up and go to sleep in secret broom cupboard somewhere!
Man sits on bed, staring at me; myself staring back reclining on bed, encouraging questions to begin; he doesn't understand; we stare at each other, with him starting to take flash pictures of me, looking, I presume, like drugged lizard, and not blind aviator!Finally saved by another knock on door, this time by two more enthusiastic reporters and cameramen, with one woman speaking excellent english, with sense of humour to match. I call Richard from his room (waking him up as well!) and he joins me, also sitting on bed, with room now full of flashing photographers and lady translating questions for everybody. I tell her Richard much more famous than me, as several times world microlighting champion, flown over Everest, etc, etc, and that he started trip with huge, huge bushy beard, trimmed just before flight.
Beard so huge that several birds flew out in barbers shop when started hacking into it, two un-hatched eggs found in abandoned nest, and, most strange of all, Owl flew out from very dense bushy area near right ear, leaving behind big mound of mouse bones. Richard told by chiropractor, when visiting for back problem that weight of rat and mouse bones found in nest near right ear cause of twisted back, and all OK now.
Richard quietly guffawing good-naturedly, whilst lady journalist laughing uncontrollably whilst translating for avid, seriously-minded eager reporters, scribbling away madly into shorthand books …
Finally we asked to stand together in room for more photos; giving them, I am sure, at least a few photos that may be useable…
(To Richard's amazement, by the way, the big photo on front page of newspaper outside our room showing me reclining on bed, with part of his face and forehead right up close in the photo, with rest of face/head missing- he went around people in the dining room who recognised us apologising, shaking his head, and saying to the bemused audience "bad photo, bad photo", whilst shaking his head and laughing apologetically…) Despite our humorous activity during interview, I felt like my life had been invaded, being woken up from deep, exhausted sleep. Realised it was not their fault at all, but an indication I seriously needed to get some sleep.
Really, what I am craving is not only sleep, but time for myself; feeling like suffering from "time deprivation"- probably a common-enough problem in the busy world today, but I realise I have acute case right now!
Originally planning to catch up with Blogs later this afternoon, but feeling so absolutely drained and exhausted, that I gave in to little voice inside me saying "Don't write it now- go have some food with Richard, and do it later!".
Felt very guilty, like I was failing everybody by not keeping up to date with my daily reports. Remembered that I had fallen asleep at least once on all recent flights, and battled to stay alert when awake; told myself I need to be kind to myself, and give my body some rest; seems rational and right, but still leaves me feeling guilty, with so many people checking our websites daily. Had great meal with Richard; steak with green peppercorn sauce, along with tossed salad; staying away from all national food dishes now, after being ill in India; need to stick to food my body recognises!Back in room; downloaded my e mails and replied to urgent ones; plugged in phone, computer, camera, MP3 digital recorder, camera, then downloaded photos taken by me for the day, saving each day's images in separate folder.
Yes, I do take digital photos each day, with Richard suggesting content and where to point whilst flying! Also take video clips with camera at times; landings for example, using my camera; wing-mounted camera working only intermittently- usually just when I am not flying, due to kit problems etc!
Once everything downloaded and on charge fell into bed, feeling drugged with exhaustion, after setting alarm for 0515 hours, to do it all over again tomorrow!
Thought for the Day:“The most important thing I have learned over theyears is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.” Margaret Fontey