On the nearby island of Lombok, just east of Bali, Mt. Rinjani has erupted, spewing volcanic ash and smoke over the region. Because the ash presents a serious risk to jet engines, three airports have been closed since yesterday, including here in Bali. And almost 700 flights have been cancelled, stranding thousands of visitors. This traveling blogger included.
It’s a major setback to my journey and has effectively taken Perth off the table. I’m hoping to preserve Melbourne and Sydney on my itinerary…if I can get out of here tomorrow morning.
If you’re keeping score at home, I’m now booked on Air Asia Flt. QZ548, scheduled to leave Bali at 8:55 AM.
Now, assuming you’re reading this from somewhere in the United States, keep in mind that I’m 13 hours ahead of EST. This little fact was lost on the Chicago-based customer service person from Orbitz.com. When I contacted her this morning about cancelling my hotel in Perth, she asked me, “Why? Your reservation is for the 5th, it’s only the 4th.”
This just in…“AirAsia would like to inform that Ngurah Rai International Airport reopened today at 14:30 HRS LT (GMT +8), earlier than scheduled as clouds of ash from Mount Rinjani’s eruption begin to drift away from Bali’s airspace.”
Whether that holds up through tomorrow morning, remains to be seen. So for now, I’m working hard to make the best of a bad situation.