Tuesday, January 7, 2014

easing Indonesian policies

After a weekend of deliberation, an East Timor visa run was no more. I would renew my visa at the local consulate and we'd head to Java for a few days before separating ways.

But Esther had horror stories of her renewal in Bali. And after searching online, I realized she wasn't the only one. Passports had to be brought in 5-7 days before visa expiry, she explained. Then, the renewed visa could take nearly as long before it could be picked up. Hers took ten days in the end to renew.

"You need xerox copies of your passport and a printout itinerary of your flight out," she went on. "I just made a fake flight itinerary with an old one."

Following her lead, I did the same. But I was nervous. Unlike her, I was entering the consulate the day before my visa was to expire... a consulate that took multiple attempts to find.

"Can I help you?" a lady asked behind one of the counters scattered across the room as I spun around trying to figure out which one to approach.

I was the only tourist in the entire building, and wondered if I were in the right spot.

Explaining that I need to renew my visa, I started making excuses as to why I hadn't done so sooner. I was spewing out apologies so quickly I barely heard her say it was okay.

"Fill out these forms, then go to that counter over there," she pointed to the other side of the room, "to pay and come back at three o'clock to pick up your passport."

That was that. No hassle, no days of waiting, no headaches. I left in disbelief, with my fingers crossed from the moment I left until the moment I picked my passport back up in the afternoon, that it was as simple as that.

And then we took the earliest flight out the next day.

1 comment:

Patti said...

Wow. I love it when things work out like that, especially when problems are expected.