Finally! My passport is stamped for extended stay, so I will be able to get my KITAS card. The KITAS is similar to a U.S. green card. Like the green card, you have to renew annually twice. Then it can become good for ten years. Now that I have the KITAS, I am free to roam the country. To get the passport stamped, I had to leave Indonesia and return. So, it was a three day process but we got to see Singapore…tickets were only $150 for two RTs. Next up is Borneo to visit some of Christina’s relatives and pay respect to her parents burial place. The village is Balaikarangan which is in West Kalimantan (Borneo), just across the border from Kuching Malaysia.
Singapore is unique in SE Asia. It is extremely clean and safe. It’s an island nation that imports almost everything and has become a financial hub of Asia. It’s the most expensive city to live in in the world. The population is 5.5 million, most of which are English and Chinese. English is a second language, so that’s good for me.
Noteworthy things to me: The bus and subway system are super efficient, there are no outside wires or cables…everything is underground in a tunnel that runs the length of the island. The laws are strict and they still have corporal punishment. There are relatively few cars, and for good reason…you must bid on a permit to own and drive a car. The permit can cost three times the price of the car. And what’s more, the taxes and registration fees are quite high.
The Laws here are strict and few dare break the them because the punishments are harsh. At 2:00 am, you will see pedestrians waiting for the traffic light to turn green before crossing the street—even when there are no cars in sight. In America you look around, if it’s safe, you cross. In Indonesia you don’t bother to look.
I like transportation system here, especially the double decker bus. Because most can’t afford the exorbitant driving fees, the streets are not clogged and the public system is the best in the world.