Indonesian Immigration

“Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho” was being shown on GMA PinoyTV (a Filipino Television station) while I was busy fiddling my phone. I was barely looking on the screen and half listening when one of their segment caught my attention.

It’s about a Filipina who was suspected as a drug mule and was held by the Indonesian immigration for several hours. That brought back a somewhat similar (but not quite) incident that happened to me when I went to Batam, Indonesia to accompany my brother’s family for a day tour.

The Indonesian immigration official thought that I was using the trip as a form of exit in order to get my passport stamped with another month to stay in Singapore. He led me to an office for an “interrogation” in which I calmly explained that legally, I’m allowed to stay in Singapore for a maximum of one-month after the cancellation of my work pass.

I further mentioned that I’m going back to the Philippines in three weeks time, showed my flight itinerary, and the cancellation of my work pass. Unfortunately, I don’t have the letter that states that I can stay in Singapore for one-month.

As a result, the immigration officer was eyeing me like I’ve done something horrible and I felt like he’s silently telling me that I’m a threat to the national security. Ok, I was paranoid… but that’s how I felt when he was looking at me. The little tigress in me wanted to scratch his face and scamper away. However, my Philippine passport reminded me not to act like a neanderthal… hence, I controlled my boiling temper and met his eyes with a cool and composed aura.

passport

I informed the officer that I need to hustle because my relatives were waiting for me and I don’t want to be the cause of delay of our one-day package tour. To speed up the process, I seek permission to use their internet connection so that I can show the information (found in the Ministry of Manpower website)  needed to clear the air. Sadly, the internet connection sucks to the highest level! 😦

The immigration officer can’t seem to stand my incessant query as to why they don’t have internet connection so he referred me to another immigration officer. The second immigration officer led me outside and apologized for the poor “nonexistent” Internet connection. I looked at him with “it’s absolutely bizarre!” plastered on my face.

We went outside to check if the signal is better. Using his blackberry, we were able to find a hotspot but the speed was terribly sloooooow. After half an hour, I was still stuck in the Immigration area and by then, the tour guide appeared. I explained the situation and expressed my exasperation about the Internet connection in that port. The immigration officer seemed to take it as a cue and went to look for a computer with a “stable” connection. After 15 minutes, he led me to a different office and told me to use the laptop that he borrowed.

In less than two minutes, I showed the Ministry of Manpower website and the section which states that I can stay in Singapore for 30-days. The first officer had a serious look on his face while stamping and returning my passport. I was grinning mischievously and triumphantly while I took back my passport. Thank goodness the issue was handled in a mature fashion otherwise I could have been deported if I allowed the barbaric side of me to control the situation. Ha!

Eiffel tower

From Netherlands we travelled for five (5) hours via coach to Paris. We all wanted to experience taking the subway and “getting lost” so we just opted to book for the coach and the hotel. No tourist guide! 🙂

As soon as we reached Paris at around 2p.m., we bought a 3-day train ticket and travelled for half an hour via subway from the drop off point to Hotel Eden (nice name huh? 😉 ). The place was very cozy and not that expensive. The bathroom came as a surprise because it was so tiny! Good thing, I’m petite.

We rested for 15 minutes, freshen up and then with the map on hand, we went straight to the ever famous Eiffel Tower! Although we did not book for a guided tour, we were able to find the Eiffel Tower. While walking towards the Eiffel Tower, we were totally mesmerized with its magnificent beauty from afar.

We took photos, bought souvenirs and then we immediately fell in line to go to the top. The queue was very long and we were all starving and exhausted. Also, we were a bit apprehensive because we might not be able to get to the top of the tower in time to see the sunset. The sunset was at 10p.m..

Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Our hardships paid off because we were able to make it. Whew! Watching the sunset from the top of the Eiffel tower was absolutely magical and breathtaking! I had an unexplainable goose bumps just by looking at the scenery and the whole view of Paris.

While pinching myself to check if I was dreaming, at the back of my mind, I was making a solemn promise to return to the same spot together with my future husband (I wonder who will he be and when will it be… hmmm). :p

After we have satisfied our Eiffel tower “craving”, one of our friends (Sonam) suggested that we go down using the stairs from the third level (topmost). It should be fine if it’s like the stairs in a building wherein you cannot see how far you are from the ground. I vehemently objected because I have a height phobia. I was scared to death! I convinced my other friends to take the lift. Thank goodness, the one who suggested was outvoted. :p

We walked around the area of Eiffel tower for a moment and then agreed to eat in an Asian restaurant before calling it a night.

That ends our first day in Paris.