A bit of a worrisome situation we had to figure out…It all “goes with the territory!”

We’re thrilled to be able to see sunsets from the veranda. The long stick to the right is actually the vine of a plant.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

With few tourists on the beaches here many interesting shells and mollusks remain on the beach which is nice to see.

We can only control so much in our lives. We try hard not to make errors when the consequences in planning our lives could result in added costs, time and undesired stress and frustration.

When we get into a “pickle” we reflect on what we could have, should have, done to prevent it. The lame excuse, “Well, I didn’t know,” doesn’t serve us well. We should have known every step of the way, especially as we become more experienced in traveling the world.

As we review the circumstances of our most current dilemma, in a quandary as to how to get a visa to Vietnam for the July 8th Viking Mekong River cruise, we can’t seem to embrace what we could have done differently.

The facts to accomplish this remain a hard reality: In order to apply for a visa for Vietnam with multiple entries in a 30-day period, one must send their actual passport to a visa service in the US or their home country or directly to the Vietnam Embassy.

As the sunset progresses, we’re in awe of its beauty.

How in the world would we allow ourselves to be in Indonesia without our passports in our possession, especially when in two weeks we have to drive two hours to another village to the Immigration office to extend the 30 day visas we have now, repeating this same action when we return in over three months?

Also, if we didn’t need to extend our Indonesian visas, we’d never allow ourselves to be without a passport in our possession while in a foreign country. What if one of us became ill and had to be airlifted out of the country or any of dozens of other possibilities? We’re never going to allow ourselves to be in such a position.

For citizens living in their home country, they can easily prepare the necessary documents, including their passports, mail them to a visa service and wait for the return of the packet with the new visa and their passport. 

Not us. Not only will we never leave ourselves in a foreign country without a passport in our possession but, we’re in a remote area of Bali. Receiving the return packet would take weeks to arrive, most likely never in time for our departure. 

Almost gone.

Nor would we have been willing to be without a passport while in New Zealand had we started this process earlier. Thus, we don’t blame ourselves for not starting this process sooner, two months generally is plenty of time to get a visa. In most situations, we’re easily able to acquire “visas on arrival” (VOA) at any given airport or cruise terminal.

Over the past several days we’ve made many phone calls on Skype: to Viking Cruise Line; to the river cruise representative at Vacations to Go; to the Vietnam Embassy in Vietnam; to the online visa company we’ve been using of late, CIBT. 

There is a such a thing as a “visa on arrival” at the airport in Vietnam through any of the dozens of unknown vendors online that provide a visa letter but the problem with this is twofold:
1.  Do we want to give such personal information online to what may be an unscrupulous company of which there are many? Of course not.
2.  “Visa on arrival” only applies to single entry visas for arrival exclusively by air travel at the airport. Our second entry will occur while we’re on the ship and the first visa would be useless.

The US State Department has considerable warnings and information about the difficulty of getting a Vietnam visa. Click here for details.

Me in the pool waving at Tom when he insisted on a photo. We spend lots of time in the pool, especially on days like today, hot, humid and many flies after last night’s heavy rain.

After hours of research, we came to only two possibilities:
1.  Take the risk on the “visa on arrival” single entry airport only arrival using what may prove to be an unscrupulous company and figure it out once we’re in Vietnam. Not an option.
2.  Wait until we get to Singapore on June 28th (late in the day arrival) and head to the Vietnam Embassy (a 40 minute drive from our hotel) the following morning, documents in hand and apply in person. A rush order takes three business days. Luckily, we’ll be within this window. 

The Singapore option provides us with peace of mind. No doubt it will have a bearing on our one week stay when we’ll certainly have a degree of concern over getting this accomplished. But, yesterday we called the Vietnam Embassy in Singapore and its sounds doable. They’re only open for visa applications from 9:00 am to noon weekdays.

We’re well aware of the fact that should we run into any unforeseen obstacles along the way, we could lose the IDR 92,989,424 (wow), US $6598, (plus the airfare we’ve already purchased) we prepaid at time of booking the cruise to take advantage of the “two for one/paid in full” promo at the time.

Yesterday afternoon, after we finally reached the Vietnam Embassy in Singapore, we sighed in relief knowing we had a plan in place. Once we arrive in Singapore we’ll stop at an ATM to get the appropriate amount of cash US $369, SGD 540 for both visas. 

Tom at the edge of the infinity pool while I took the photo.

Adding the cost of two round trip taxi rides to complete the transactions (returning in three business days to pick up the visas) which we hope to double duty to visit a few sites of interest along the return, its a much more expensive and time consuming proposition than we’d expected. 

As it turns out, Vietnam is one of few countries that makes it difficult for US citizens (and others) to obtain a visa which includes such countries as China, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and others. Click this link for more detailed information if you’re planning to travel or simply curious. It’s rather interesting.

The difficulty of acquiring certain country’s visa is totally predicated by reciprocal agreements between the two countries.  As a result, Vietnam is on that “difficulty” list.

In the past few days, we also applied and received the renewal of our one year visas for Australia where we’ll be in and out of over the next year on many occasions (only can stay 90 days per visit). 

The back of Tom while in the infinity pool at high tide.

Today, we’ll apply for yet another required visa for Cambodia (easy online application) again for the Mekong River Cruise  and then we can put this out of our minds until we arrive in Singapore in 48 days, except of course, for the upcoming trip to the immigration office here in Bali within a few weeks.

Gede, our houseman and driver is out of town for a religious holiday returning late Friday. We’re scheduled to go sightseeing with him on Saturday morning at 10:00 am. We’ll prepare and upload the post before we depart and look forward to sharing new photos the following day.

We hope you aren’t faced with dilemmas today. But, if so, we hope you find solutions that put your mind at ease as well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 11, 2015:

Could this Yellow Candle flower we spotted in Kauai be more exquisite with its white blooms? For more photos, please click here.

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