The Primus song continues:
"Now life’s a bowl of bagel dogs, but there are unpleasantries:
Cold toilet seats, dentist chairs, and trips to Kantor Imigrasi."
Let us give you an update on our travails since Monday.
1. Monday. Went to Indonesian Academy of Sciences (LIPI) that requests permission for a visa extension. Told that the person who makes these letters was on vacation, come back tomorrow.
2. Tuesday (10:00 AM). Went back to LIPI. They tell me (TP) that the letter cannot be done because the guy is still on vacation. After a small outburst, they change their mind. Oh wait, here it is. I guess they were just kidding before.
3. Tuesday (10:30 AM). Arrive at the South Jakarta Immigration Office. Process begins as usual. First go buy our paperwork at a counter (Rp 8000), and fill it out.
4. Back to the counter for photocopies of what we need. (Rp 1,300).
5. Upstairs to our favorite bureaucrat, Ms. Smiley. She takes our paperwork and does something to it. Gives it back to us, motions for us to go across the hall.
6. Go down the hall, another woman does something else to the paperwork, and then gives it to some guy who takes it somewhere. We are told to sit down.
7. After 20 minutes, we get the signal to go back inside. Oops, just kidding, get shooed out of the office like we have some sort of disease.
8. Five minutes later we actually get the folders back. Take them back to Ms. Smiley. She scowls at them and says "Go downstairs." Where downstairs? "Downstairs!"
9. We go downstairs and find the only person we’ve ever dealt with down there so far. She takes our folders and does something to them. Tells us to go "over there." Where? "Over there!" Where over there? "To the man over there!"
10. We ask a security guard, and he directs us to a window with Mr. Diligent and Ms. Hard Work. They take our folder and tell us to sit down with the collection of Indonesian men who appear to have been sitting there for the past week.
11. After twenty minutes, we get up to ask if there’s a problem. "No problem." Mr. Diligent is annoyed at having been interrupted from staring at the wall. Ms. Hard Work is walking around.
12. All of the other Indonesian guys in the waiting room get up and go somewhere. We sit for twenty more minutes, then they give us our folders back. "Go back upstairs."
13. We go back upstairs. It is now 12:30, and all of the staff (including Ms. Smiley) are taking a lunch break. Come back at 1:00.
14. We take a break for deep fried tempe from a stand outside. Delicious.
15. Back to Ms. Smiley. She gets mad and says "Go over there!" Where? She makes a typing motion with her fingers. Well, OK. We manage to find a man at another window who looks at our folders and tells us that we need more photocopies.
16. Try the upstairs photocopier. Broken.
17. Try the downstairs photcopier–we used it this morning. Now this one is broken as well.
18. Across the street to a store with a photocopier (we discovered this last time we were there, after much confusion, when the copiers were also broken). Get photocopies (Rp 2000).
19. Return photocopies upstairs. Man takes them, gives us our passports (won’t he need these?), tells us to wait.
20. After 20 minutes, he calls us back. "Take this letter here across town to the Area Office." What? "Across town. They will give you a letter to bring back here tomorrow." Address he gives us is 24 Haryono Street, Jakarta.
21. Across town in a cab (Rp. 15000). The address is actually 24A Haryono Street in East Jakarta. This is a big difference: not next door, but a mile down the road, on the other side of the street, across a six-lane toll road. Saying "Jakarta" instead of "East Jakarta" is like saying "Manhattan" instead of "The Bronx."
22. Go inside and buy a new piece of paperwork (Rp. 5000). Hand it to the guy there. Tells us to come back tomorrow at 10:00 AM. (It is now 2:25 PM.)
23. (Wednesday, 10:00 AM). Back to the Area Office. Pick up our paperwork with a new letter to take back to immigration.
24. Across town again (Rp 15,000). We bring the letter back to our friend at the window. He tells us to go back to Ms. Smiley, who cannot be bothered because she’s reading a magazine. She throws our paperwork to her colleague, Mr. Friendly. Mr. Friendly fills out our bills and tells us to pay.
25. Across the hall again to a new window, the cashier (Rp. 400,000).
26. Back again with the receipts for payment. Mr. Friendly tells us to come back tomorrow after 11:00 AM.
So that’s where we are now. We’ve given them two hours of grace time. We don’t know exactly what to expect, but we have paid, so it looks like things will go through. We REALLY HOPE that there will be no problems. We’ll keep you posted tomorrow.