Gosh it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. Sorry! Life got a little bit crazy over the past year – in both bad and some very good ways! And now I find myself back in Indonesia, and heading back to the monkeys once more! It’s 2am and I’m about to check out of my hotel and head to the airport to start my journey from Jakarta to Buton.
I’ve spent the past week, as usual, sorting out my research permits and various letters required to work on the island. It seems things haven’t improved and in fact if anything the system is getting slower! It is the fasting month which doesn’t help matters but even so!
It’s a complicated process which, after years of doing it, am only just starting to get to grips with. Here’s a helpful diagram from the ministery of research and technology which should clear things up though…. (!?!)
I’ve spent most of my time waiting in offices while a multitude of staff seem to spend a long time doing absolutely nothing, oh apart from watching tv…
I’m sure removal of the tv’s would speed up the process! Or maybe not… There’s always a reason why a simple, standard letter needs to take several days to produce; the man that
needs to sign it (and of course there is only one person in the whole of that government office that can sign the thing) is at a meeting, or there’s a tiny typo in another letter so they have to ‘confirm’ things first, or they just seem to like to make you wait. I’ve been very grateful for my kindle this week!
The offices are dark, dank and cluttered and frankly it’s no wonder things take a while! They start work at 9, break from 12 – 1, and then finish at 3! Nice!
They seem to favour the retro form of interior design with an abundance of fabric flowers too…
They’re also full of incomprehensible notices in bad English (if they’re going to bother to translate them why not do it properly?!)
So you can see while several hours a day spent sitting and waiting in these places might start to wear a little!
The traffic has been even worse than usual this year too, and because it’s the fasting month traffic jams start earlier than usual. So I’ve taken to using ojek’s (motorbike taxis) to get around rather than normal taxis. It’s infinitely quicker, cheaper and just a weeney bit scarier!
My final port of call here was immigration, and I was actually pleasantly surprised. They’ve updated things a bit, have a proper queueing system and fewer tv’s!
So after having my fingerprints taken (the fingerprint scanner did work – after a few tries!) and another photo taken I’m done for now.
The visa and home affairs letter won’t be ready until next week (again, why it should take so long I don’t know – I actually saw the completed home affairs letter in the guys hand! But apparent I can’t collect it until Tuesday!) so I’m not waiting any longer! I’m going to start my journey and get the letters sent on before I lose my mind here!
So I leave clutching my police and research permits and hoping I get away without the others until they arrive!
So it’s goodbye Jakarta – for now!