Article Archive for October 2016
It was a Saturday night. This hotel never gets very busy, but Saturday night is probably the busiest night. That’s the one night I might hear some noise and commotion and some rather odd characters (usually half-dressed men) might be spotted prowling the dark balcony. So I didn’t pay much attention when I heard some banging and crashing and loud voices.
I needed to buy a couple of things, and I took my camera with me as I walked around the city of Siantar, Sumatra. It’s a very long video, I suppose, but I wanted it to show what it feels like to just the walk the streets amidst all the activity.
Lacking a GoPro, I used a GorillaPod to attach my tiny Canon point-and-shoot camera to my bike’s handlebars. The Canon doesn’t really focus anymore (and little else works on it), but it does capture video of a sort.
With the Canon point-and-shoot on my handlebars, I rode my bike to the …
I’m no expert in the process of getting Indonesian tourist visas and visa extensions, but I thought I’d share my most recent experience in case it might help someone else go through the process.( I don’t know anything about the 30-day visa on arrival. The following applies only to the …
Today is the big day. I was told I can pick up my passport, and it should contain my 30-day extension. Technically, it will be a 28-day extension because my last visa expired two days ago. This extension should date from my previous visa’s expiry date, so it will be two days old by the time I receive it.
My trip to immigration for the interviews ended up being successful but predictably weird. I got there on my bike, of course. My sponsor, Stephani, was going to get there on her own. I assumed she would be on a scooter. I showed up a few minutes before my scheduled interview time of 10 a.m. The usual woman was sitting behind the main counter, and I went up to her just to let her know that I had arrived but my sponsor wasn’t there yet. Then I sat to wait.
Sleep is such a funny thing. When I was in the middle of the stress and horror of trying to find a sponsor and complete the paperwork for immigration, I slept absolutely fine. Today, all I have to do is ride my bike down to immigration for an interview – which is something of a formality – and yet I was so focused on this that I couldn’t sleep at all. I also experienced a series of stress dreams.
I’ve gotten in the habit lately of getting up with the 5 a.m. call to prayer. It’s just easier that way since, especially here in Siantar, there is no possibility of sleep once the traffic starts to move and the horns start to honk. It’s best to go to sleep early and wake up early. But I was extremely tired this morning after the exertions of the last few days, and I stayed in bed a bit later.
For a few minutes yesterday afternoon, I stood on this hotel’s balcony and watched the beehive of manic activity at the intersection nearby. I reflected that all of this behavior represents a type of economic activity. In a very real way, that flow of giant trucks, buses, motorcycles, vans, and bicycles can be viewed as money flowing along the streets.