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- Step 4: Where the crowd takes its full sense

- Previously on the Mystery destination -

Have found Where surrounding mountains are beautiful:
1st Pierre G
2nd Emmanuel G
3rd Bruno B

 

Step 3.5 - How not to leave a country

 

Leaving a country can have a cost if you are not aware of the rules. Then, when a mistake bring another mistake and another mistake, it become quite expensive.

I explain below how can happens things you are sure would never happened to you. It s a shame how I have spend my money. It will maybe make my travel shorter than expected.

 

The black day:

Host address, 5h30 am.
The taxi is here, I get in, direction the airport. I m 2h in advance and have to wait 1h before check in. I check in and the girl ask me, when she put my backpack on the lift, "you are going to this destination?" I explain her that it s just a stop and I have another flight after. Then she explain me that I ll have to take my luggage after the first flight and go to check in again.
I m now at the police and I feel that something is wrong on my passport. The guy tells me that foreigner have to go to the immigration police in town if they stay longer than 5 days in the country. I answer that I didn't know so he show me the little immigration paper I have signed in the train. It s written in English what he s telling me. The fact is that the controller in the train was filling in this paper for me in order to write in Cyrillic and I didn't payed attention to that. A second policeman come and tells me the same thing, he says that I cant take the plane. The 3rd one arrive and tells me that I have to go in town for that special paper and I ll have to pay 200 euro penalty for not doing it in time. Then he tells me that it s possible to make it unofficially if I have the money. Fortunately I have dollars so I ask him for a discount to 200 dollars. He tells me to put the money on the passport and then to follow him. Everything goes fine and I go to international zone like that.
The mistake of not reading the documents, 200 dollars.

 

The airport is pretty small. In the international zone I see people that were at the same check in as me, I follow them near the gate. That time I start to worry, thinking on what the girl told me at the check in. How I will take my bag after the first flight cause at the airport usually you pass the border before picking up your luggage and I don't have a transit visa for that country. When it's the time for the flight many people are queuing, the plane should be late because the queue doesn't move. I m still very deep into my mind: after the flight, should I try to cross the border for my luggage? Unfortunately I don't have money for another fancy border crossing there, the police here took all my cash already. So should I take the second flight without my back pack? The people start to go out of the queue, the plane is really late but when my flight disappear from the lighting board I ask the people for knowing what happened. A man tells me "but in this place isn't the flight for your destination". I was waiting at the wrong gate and now my flight is gone. This airport is very strange, you have a main place, waiting room for the gates 2, 3, 4 and 5 but for the first gate you have to take a little lift that have a "gate 1" sign on it. I was so much worrying about what to do next that I didn't verify the place where I was waiting.
The mistake of not paying attention, 517 euro.

 

I feel very stupid. Now I m stuck here and I have no idea of how will be the next 10 minutes. Finally it's quite easy to get my luggage and I don't know why it was not on the plane actually. For the 3rd time I enter the country with my single entry visa.
I take a taxi, tell him the normal price for the ride and we go to the address of my host, I m welcome to his place again. When we arrive the taxi driver ask me for money, 10 times the normal price. I don't understand because I told him the price in his language and we agreed. My host is coming and we have little argument all together. During the discussion I say again in their language the price I wanted. Then my host turn to me and tells me that with my great pronunciation I say 10 000 when I want to say 1 000. He manage to have some money back anyway.
The mistake of not having good pronunciation, 20 euro instead of 7.

 

It's 10 am, I m still in the country without immigration documents and I have to book a new flight. This day will be long. My host and his friend managed to find an alternative solution for the special paper. Normally it would take a week or more of queuing at the immigration police for the document but you can do it through an "agency". The fees are very low for the service but I still have to pay 90 euro of penalty for not doing this registration on time. The woman of the agency tells us that we can make it today if she has all the documents by mail right now and if she have my passport before 12h. At noon we are in front of the immigration building and give my passport to the woman. She goes inside for about 30 seconds and go out. We walk out of the area and give her the money. She says that I have to come back at 6 pm at the same place to meet her and pick up my passport. With my host we go to join some friends of him to the restaurant but I m not really in the mood. The afternoon I walk around in the city and at 5h 45 pm I m at the meeting point. I m waiting, it s 6 pm and I don't see the woman. It's 10 past 6 and still nothing, my heart beats very strong and I worry about how to manage it if the woman can't have this paper for me. Then my phone ring and I see the woman in front of the building. Without saying anything she gives me the passport with all documents. Is ask her "is it ok?", she answer me "yes" with a great smile. I m about to kiss her but finally I don't, she's not my kind of woman and she’s quite old. I give her a pat on the shoulder and say "thank you very much!"

 

Friday, August the 12th

Host address, 4 am. I pack my bag, fold the sheets of the bed. I have an impression of "deja vu". For the second time I say goodbye to my host.

The taxi is here, I get in, direction the airport. I m 2h in advance and have to wait 1h before check in. I check in and the girl tells me that I won't have to pick up my luggage after the 1st flight, neither check in again. At the border the police tels me that I don't have the visa for the 1st flight arrival. I show him the ticket of the second flight. He let me go. 30 min before the flight I'm at the right gate and then enter the plane.

 

 

Step 4 - Where the crowd takes its full sense

 

Since the first minutes in town I love the place. People are friendly, the streets, narrow, full of people and with high buildings on each sides looks like an amazing bazaar. I did not manage to couch surf here so I booked a room in a hotel. More than 30 euro per night for a room just large enough for 3 single person beds. As I had a king size bed, and a shower/toilet cabin included in this little space, I had only 1 meter square to stand up. In the bathroom cabin you have the toilet under the shower so the toilet is always wet and the toilet paper has to be outside the cabin but this is a standard here. The only windows to outside I had was a TV screen. The next day I managed to find a cheaper place in a hostel dormitory, but still with the same kind of bathroom.

street at night

 

I m amazed just by walking the streets at night where most of the light is provided by advertisement signs and big screens. I feel tall in the streets cause I can see over the crowd, it s very convenient. The weather is very hot with a lot of humidity in the air. The air conditioning is everywhere, shops, metro, buses and when you are outside each time you pass a shop entrance in the street you feel the fresh air, then you feel hot again. When it rains, the rain is warm and the pavement is dry with in 30 min after the rain stops. People walk in the building's shadow and many of them carry umbrella to be protected from the sun.

Buddha statue

 

The public transport should be an example for every town. Many signs to explain where you are and where to go. In the city you can use buses, tram, metro, boats or even cable car like in ski resorts if you want to go to the Big Buddha area in the mountains. The trees have a sign on them to explain their botanic name, race and where they are from. I m a big fan of those old trees with roots that hang from their branches.

fisherman village

 

I have been surprised to see many outside non smoking places like parks, pedestrian avenue, on the beach or even on barbecue area. You can find almost everywhere clean toilets, fully stoked with toilet paper and for free. Many signs in town tell the people where to find them. Scaffoldings are build up with bamboos and it seems very strong.

a statue on Stars Avenue

 

So far I visited the Buddha statue and the temple in the mountains, a fisherman village on stilts, one of the touristic bay with its market, a national park and an isolated island where I was cycling. That last one was fantastic, very nice views and very exciting to do bicycle on the sharped and narrow cycling ways. I have been walking the star avenue in town and done night sightseeing for picture shooting. For alternative sightseeing I have been passing through very narrow streets where only locals know where they goes. One of my favorite is just down of my hostel building and if you go through at night be sure that at least 2 person will stop you and ask if you want hashish or cocaine.

the city at night

 

a temple

 

Local food:
Through CS I have met a local girl. She took me to an Asian tapas restaurant to try some local food. Most of the meals were good but wen it comes to chicken feet I was a bit scared as there is nothing to eat on that out of bones or skin. I was brave so I bit on it to show how happy I was to taste it. when I started to chew the bones my CS mate told me that I just have to eat the skin, local people don't eat the bones when they order chicken feet. Anyway, it was disgusting and I was about to puke but the tea helped me to keep the pain inside.

island view

 

strange signs on an inaccessible beach

 

 

 

Another day, another feeling: freedom

The last day I was touching the real freedom when I was cycling around the island in the nature. Going up, going down with a 2 euro rented bicycle until...

a thought crossed my mind. Let's go more east.