The green light

So you think I am basking in the warm glow of tropical sun on the island of Bali? I am not. Instead I am still decked out in sweaters and scarves on the East Coast in Washington, DC.

What happened to my January 8th departure? Oh, the woe of visas.

The new year begins and I’m hustling to prepare for my adventure abroad. (Really, how does one pack for an open-ended trip spanning hemispheres and seasons?) Four days before my flight, Chef Will from Room4Dessert emails and says he needs to get me a business visa, instead of the tourist visa-on-arrival (VOA) I was planning to get stamped in my passport when I arrived. The standard practice for previous stages was a VOA, but Chef said the Indonesian government was cracking down on the misuse of visas and obtaining a business visa would be safer for me and the restaurant. And since I support not being thrown in jail or out of the country, I said it was no problem.

But that meant all my meticulous planning months beforehand was thrown out the window in an instant. Oy, my airfare. With all the fees charged against my pre-booked flights in and out of Indonesia, I have been hemorrhaging money—a lot of it. A $250 change fee here, a $550 cancellation fee there, $640 for a new flight in, $197 for a new flight out. Painful. Then there were the stops and starts of the visa processing. From the wait for the telex visa to be processed in Indonesia to the wait for the visa application to be approved in DC, my delay stretched from three weeks to two months. What a headache.

Well, c’est la vie. I’m at least thankful for getting to spend more time with family and embracing a sloth-like existence I never knew I was capable of. And at long last, I picked up my visa this week and my new departure date is February 26th. I’m back on track and ready to get things started! Perhaps I’ve gotten all the hurdles out of the way from the start and everything else will be smooth sailing from here on out. Wishful thinking…

Until next time from Bali!

– C

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