Final Destination

Ever had a déjà Vu moment? Where you think or feel like you’ve done this before?

Today marks the 4th and last time I have to extend my visa in order to stay on this beautiful island…

Sure, that’s repetitive, but not the kind of déjà Vu I’m talking about. I actually mean, the Final Destination type of déjà Vu. The kind where you notice a string of seemingly unrelated incidents that cause a path of destruction that kills everyone before any of it actually happens!

That’s the kind of déjà Vu moment I had in the traffic this morning. Now don’t send in the Coast Guard or call 911, nothing actually happened and just to be clear…NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED! (Was that déjà Vu?)

I had the moment where I’m riding along and suddenly become aware of the guy weaving on the scooter in front of me on his mobile phone, then looked next to me at the uncovered ute with a pile of sharp aluminium table legs shifting in the back. All coming to a stop at the traffic lights behind the Elpigi tanker and the other guy on another scooter who lights up a cigarette!

But thanks to my black ops training from watching 5 Final Destination movies…I did what any hero would do…

I got my ass outta there!!

Unlike the Final Destination movies and fortunately for me, nothing happened and nobody died, which means “Death” won’t be looking me up in the Karmic phone book anytime soon.

And such is the start to yet, another crazy day in this beautiful crazy paradise 🙂

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Your Visa, Mr. Bond

Thunderbirds are GO! We get the green light to pick up our visa extensions. We scoot on down to immigration, thankfully, no traffic violations required this time & it’s all smooth sailing (installing that 20 foot spinnaker on my scooter, finally paid off).

Gusti meets us there this time, now all we have to do is pickup our passports and…have our picture taken and out fingerprints electronically scanned! What??…yessiree Bob 🙂 That’s how they do things here.

Still, could have been worse. Thank god we didn’t end up like the guy next to us, who endured a full body cavity search, DNA swab AND bone marrow extraction! And he wasn’t even applying for a visa extension, he was just delivering the mail!

So, now that the espionage is over…we’re official, long-termers. What a crazy little island, but you know what, with all it’s quirks and perks, we like it 🙂

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Cloak’n’Dagger

We organised our visa extensions yesterday, in what has to be, the most dodgiest experience we’ve had on this island. Real Cloak’n’Dagger type stuff.

I’m surprised we didn’t have to wear sunglasses, hats, trench coats and use password phrases like, “a wet duck, flies at night”…well, maybe we did, but it was all in Indonesian. Here’s the run-down…

Our friends give us the number of a lady to call in immigration that can help process our visa extensions, quickly, without having to queue up for hours and without getting ripped off. Some people use agents to help them and are charged Rp. 1,000,000 (about a hundred bucks), when it should only cost about Rp. 400,000 (around $40). The idea being that they still take all your stuff to be processed, and they pay immigration Rp. 400,000 and pocket the rest themselves.

So, to avoid that, we go straight to the source. Unfortunately, she only speaks Indonesian, so we need our Balinese friend (and quasi-Aussie family member), Gusti, to call her up for us and find out all the info we need. Gusti makes the call, sets up an appointment for a couple days away.

TWO DAYS LATER:

The streets to Kuta, where we need to meet up with Gusti, are blocked off for a re-enactment of the Bali Bombing at the Memorial site. The only way we could get to Gusti, is to scoot down the wrong way on a one way street along the beach, then cut back in down a side alley. We’re swerving around people, riding on the footpath, people yelling at us for going the wrong way, very Bourne Identity.

We get to immigration, and we wait out the front while Gusti calls her again, but instead of going inside…we have to meet her round the side of the building at the staff entrance. She asks how we got her name, we reveal our contacts, she takes our passports and Gusti’s I.D. and disappears into another building to make photocopies. Then, we give our money to Gusti, he goes in and pays her the money (Rp. 450,000 each), then tells us he’ll pick up our extensions next week and bring them to our house. All done in under 5 mins. No queuing up and no need to even go inside the freakin’ building!

So whether she processes our extensions for Rp. 400,000 and keeps a meagre Rp. 50,000 for herself, or processes them without a fee and pockets it all herself, is strictly a…needs to know basis. And it’s probably best for us, that we needs NOT to know.

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