I visited Maumere’s Imigrasi office around 10am and was served immediately. After my documents (passport photocopies, passport, current visa, departure card, and receipt for current visa) were assessed, I was informed I would need a sponsor: an Indonesian person who would take responsibility for my time in Indonesia. They needed to come to the office in person and complete some paperwork. I explained that I don’t have a sponsor. I also explained that I was applying for the visa extension well ahead of the normal seven-days-before-expiry time because I am travelling by bicycle and I won’t reach Labuan Bajo in time to extend my visa there. The officer serving me took me to his boss’s office, where I explained my situation to the head honcho. He said they would process the visa early but I would still need a sponsor. I left Imigrasi and caught an ojek to Gardens Hotel. There were online reports of foreigners getting sponsorship help there, so I thought I would try my luck. I was informed that the hotel would only help paying guests.
I returned to my hotel and asked at the front desk if they could help me out. It wasn’t clear if the girl knew what I was saying, but she gave me a ‘proof of accommodation’ form to fill out and called over a hotel employee, indicating he would visit Imigrasi with me. He drove us back to the office on a scooter. On entering, he was taken down a corridor while I was told to wait. Sometime later he emerged. I asked, Everything ok? He said Ya and indicated that he had to return to the hotel. I continued to wait. Eventually, I was called to the boss’s office. I slowly discovered no sponsorship process took place and I was still without a sponsor. The boss told me to write a letter to the office explaining myself – why I want to extend my visa, when and how I will leave Indonesia, where I intend to stay etc. I hand wrote such a letter. The boss then handed me back to one of his officers and told him to process my visa application. The officer was bewildered for a minute and went back to check with the boss that it really was fine to process it without a sponsor. The boss told him to process it anyway.
After another wait I was called to the window and asked to fill in an application form. After another wait I was called to the window to pay (355,000r). I was told that it would be three days before the application will be processed. It’s Thursday, so this means a wait over the weekend. I tried to confirm the day it would be ready but the officer wouldn’t confirm a specific day. He just said come back in three days. He took my mobile number and said he would call me when it was ready. It was about 2pm by the time I was settled back in my hotel room. I proceeded to wash my tent in the bath and clean anything else that got sandy and salty yesterday.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||8,950km|