The main reason for stopping at Puteri Marina was to visit the Indonesian Embassy to apply for our social/cultural visas. This type of visa allows you to stay in Indonesia for an initial 60 days and then can be renewed for further thirty day periods for up to six months.
Applying for a visa is always a little nerve wracking – have we submitted all the right forms and papers? Are the photos acceptable? Will we get our passports back in time?
On this occasion we were confident that we had every detail taken care off – passports in date, tick; application forms filled out correctly and in the correct colour pen, tick; photos the right size and reasonably current, tick; sponsor letter obtained and printed out with supporting information, tick; smartly dressed, washed behind our ears and teeth cleaned, tick.
Our Uber driver arrived quickly and we had a pleasant drive to the Indonesian consulate, arriving soon after opening time. We strolled up to the gatekeepers office where we had to give in our ID to receive a plastic visitor card to wear round our neck. Fortunately we both had our drivers licence with us. However, disaster! When we stepped up to the window we were told “No”!
Where had we gone wrong? Well despite the Skipper wearing very smart dress shorts and a long sleeved, buttoned up shirt, we were refused entry! The rules are long trousers/pants only.
Remembering that we had seen a shopping centre nearby on the other side of the road during our drive in, we set off at at a quick smart pace (the skipper being on a mission). Taking our lives in our hands we made a dash over two or three stretches of highway, jumping over barriers (well in my case clambering) and squeezing through narrow spaces between walls.
Arriving at the shopping centre slightly frazzled, we found that the whole centre was closed! Fortunately there a taxi came along quickly which took us to another shopping centre closer into the centre of Johor Bahru.
After several false starts in stores that sold designer clothing we were directed to a warehouse- style out let where a pair of pants and a collared dress shirt were quickly selected.
When we took them to the counter the cashier insisted that we had to choose another pair of long pants and another shirt as there was a “two for one offer”. We didn’t really want the first outfit, let alone a second one! However, it was quicker to grab the second set of clothes than try and explain we didn’t want them.
Into another taxi and we drove back to the consulate and this time we were allowed in. All went smoothly after that and we were able to return the next day to pick up our passports newly stamped with our visas.