“Of all the Books in the world the best stories are found between the pages of a PASSPORT”.
And after this incident of mine, I could literally verify that!!
When you arrive at the destination airport of your long-awaited vacation, you are bound to get excited and so was I. But, over excitement and ignorance towards few of the general terms can make you pay hefty. Almost same happened with me that day.
It was not my first arrival at any international destination. In fact, I always consider myself knowing a lot more about general immigration rules than many of my friends.
Our flight landed in Jakarta airport at 2:30 PM, and after bidding farewell to beautiful crew staff of our inbound flight of Mihin-Lanka airlines, we proceed to the immigration counter, which is the very first counter any traveler will come cross while arriving from any foreign destinations.
The Excitement Factor
I have been aware of the fact that Indonesia offers a 30 days’ VISA free entry to Indian passport holders. And this has been a very recent move taken by Indonesian government to promote tourism in their country. When I was about to enter in the immigration area, I saw a poster mentioning about the same. I simply clicked it and then unknowingly start grabbing few more shots of immigration counter.
I had no idea it was forbidden and then a shout come “You come here!!” It was an immigration officer possibly suspicious of our act and intentions. He immediately took us to a separate room (I was accompanied with one of my friend who joined me on this tour also) beside the immigration counters with no one inside, and started inquiring why we took these photographs, who we are , what’s our motivation and what we do. He took our passports as well.
Full Action Packed Drama
An officer kept on going out and come in with new questions each time. One amazing question he asked or rather told us was “You thought its Indonesia and you being from a bigger and stronger nation can do anything here”. Ahhh!! No I never can think like that.
I was amused as well as frightened with the situation. Whenever he was out, we were wondering what would happen now, whether he would ask for money or would deport us (the worst).
I was just cursing myself “for the excitement and foolishness I have shown 🙁 ”
He even checked all of our bookings, other Indian documents, how much currency we were carrying, our credit cards etc.
And the bomb fell on us – Deport!!
After 20-25 minutes of interrogation, he came with a seal and a blank paper, holding it on our passports. We were not sure what was going on, and then the word
“I’m canceling your arrival, and calling airline people”
We were like, how can he do it? And yes, the seal(red ink) was saying canceled.
I could never think of being deported by any means, after taking all the effort of planning my trip and taking time out of the regular schedule.
And, then after threatening us, the officer left saying that he is going to call airline company people to arrange our return ticket and we will have to leave for India that day itself.
We were not sure what to do next and were discussing possible options of saving ourselves from getting deported. Internet was available at the airport and we were even checking “If clicking images of immigration counter is forbidden!!”, but for the first time even Google didn’t return any relevant results 😉…
Then he came back again with same blank paper cancellation, but with some kind of alternate offer as well. “If you guys don’t want to leave, you have to deposit some amount with the security here”, and here we were relieved. Everything is going on to just get some money out of us – was that Fine or Bribe?? I’m not sure though till now..
We were amazed at this offer, and couldn’t think of what to do/say. I quoted sir, ‘I’m just a student’. And he went out again saying he is deporting us.
After another 2-3 minutes, another officer (seemed Junior to our interrogating officer) came and asked us to delete photographs in front of him that we took, I deleted them. He rechecked my mobile for photos and handed over our passports to us, with the seal showing our entry to Indonesia. We were both relieved and amazed at the same time. I don’t know how many times I thanked him. He asked us to remember this for all our next travels, and yes I have to admit I will remember this for all my subsequent travels.
It was indeed an adventure and a lesson learnt in hard way. Needless to say, please take this as advice from my part as well, and don’t do the mistake that I committed on that day :)…
I hope you like this post. You have anything to say or any interesting story to share, please comment and let us all know of it.
Thanks for reading and happy traveling.