Singapore round trip in 44 hours…

I have been living off a Social Budaya Visa which basically means I have a sponsor who takes legal responsibility for me whilst I live in Indonesia. We always knew it would be complicated, but we were completely unaware of just how obnoxious it would be to sort out. I have to check in every month at the Immigration office in my area which is a minimum 3 – 4hour drive from the village… last week I went, and left in a fit of frustration that pretty much sums up my experience of dealing with any government office in Indonesia thus far… So, I am currently voiding my social visa by leaving the country to come back in on a normal tourist visa, but I really hate to leave the village, so I’m doing the trip in less than 48 hours. Leave the village at 6pm on Tuesday and return at 1.30pm on Thursday after travelling overland and sky from one country to another and back again.

Travelling alone on a visa run is something most expats have to do at some stage or another, and something all long term travelers have to do. It’s not fun, but it is a necessity if you want to stay in a country that does not consider you a resident – no matter how much you would like to be.

I was able to hitch a lift with a friend of mine from BK to Bandung, and on that boring leg of the journey that I have done so many times now, it really is nice to have the company. I’d rather go with friends than go alone in most instances and long car trips are certainly one of those. Having a friend who offers his lap, a soft pillow and a gentle head and shoulder brace with his hands as we fly around corners and into potholes, makes a couple hours sleep on that long winding mountain road actually possible.

After arriving in Bundung breaking some sort of travel record at only five hours, I was able to sleep for a couple of hours before hopping in a taxi and heading to the bus station. A three hour bus ride later, I arrived in Jakarta at 6am, in time to wait in line, check in, wait in line, clear immigration, wait in line, use the bathroom… and the list goes on. Airports are depressing places I find. The waiting seems endless and there is never anywhere to catch a bit of sleep… Jakarta airport is no different… sterile, cold and lifeless even the rows of clean cream tiles look bored with their very existence.

I am a perpetual clutz and I am pretty accident prone because I can’t ever seem to stay grounded for very long. Which means that things get ruined in my presence, not because of lack of care, its just lack of awareness. I have a favourite new t-shirt, which was given to me by someone special and I planned to wear it to lunch with my friend in Singapore. But, on the bus between Bandung and Jakarta, in my half asleep state I didn’t close my water bottle properly. You can all see where this is going right? My water bottle leaked in my overnight bag, and of course my new WHITE t-shirt was folded carefully against my RED summer dress both of which got slowly soaked over the hour or two it took me to even notice that anything was leaking. I pulled my PINK t-shirt out in the immigration line and stomped my foot just a little in a mini-tantrum. Sometimes I frustrate myself beyond belief. I had a chat to one of the security gaurds in my broken Indonesian and he lead me to a bathroom where I could attempt to scrub the baby pink ink out of my shirt. He laughed and joked with me, a spotty, bruised and tired traveler and I attempted to laugh back. I scrubbed and washed my shirt in the basin and wrung it out to dry. It’s a lot less pink but I won’t be able to tell if its salvageable until it dries, which might be sometime around Friday in this vacuous place…

Barefoot PINKED in transit… waiting for another flight.


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