BAD EXPERIENCES IN NASSAU
The journey should a time to relax after the crazy work stress.
Nevertheless, I created my own nightmares during the trip.
My US visa expired in 2010 and must be renewed immediately. The nearest US Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas. I sent an email to the Bahamas Immigration if I needed to apply for a visa to enter their country. Their answer was clear, I had to apply for a visa.
I doubted because some of my friends went there without a visa. So I dug more. I got a convincing confirmation that they did not have a visa when visited only for a few days stay.
Confidently I made appointment at the US embassy in Nassau. I booked tickets and accommodation. I excited to leave even for a few days. Until the departure, everything went smoothly.
My boss offered his cousin to guide me while in Nassau. Of course, I was happy to accept it. Relax and enjoy a short visit.
Finally, the day of departure arrived.
I boarded the morning boat to Provo. Not long I queued in front of the check-in counter.
NO Visa = No Boarding Pass
After getting a signal to approach the check-in counter, I gave my ticket and passport to the check-in staff.
“Do you have a visa?” she asked as she entered my information on the computer.
“No. I only stayed for a few days and came back”.
She did not say anything and kept typing, “No, you must have a visa to enter Nassau, here it states that Indonesians must hold a visa.”
Suddenly I felt a stomach cramp and my head spinning.
“I did not know that I needed a visa to get into the Bahamas, my friends said I did not need a visa”
“You do not need a visa if you transit for the next flight, that’s only 3 days, meanwhile you’ll stay 5 days’.
“Huh … I do not know that”. I was stupid. She knew that.
“Yes, you need a visa,” she said firmly.
I could not say anything. She kept typing on her computer. She talked to one of her friends and they both look at the computer screen. I felt like crying and could not calm myself.
The trip to Nassau was a nightmare because of my indifference.
I still wondered what I would do next when a mother and daughter (about 10 years old) came to the desk.
“Hi girl,” she smiled and greeted the woman at the check-in desk.
“How are you?”. They chatted endlessly.
The woman kept typing on her computer (maybe she was trying to help me) when the mother looked at and smiled at me “And where are you going?”
“Nassau”. I tried to smile back at her though not sure if I could go or not.
“Oh good, I need someone to go with my daughter to meet her father in Nassau. Do you mind keeping her company?”
“Oh, sure why not”. Like I was going to leave.
“Clarice (aka) do you mind sit them together.”
I did not follow their conversation after this because my mind was blank. I was looking for ways to explain to my bosses after working very hard to get their approval. Of course, they would not understand why I was ignoring the important matter (when I went to Nassau to renew my visa).
Everything else has been fully paid. I could not refund tickets, accommodation, visa fees and other fees.
Clarice suddenly gave boarding pass, ticket, and passport. I shocked and still staring at the boarding pass in hand as she explained the gate and boarding hour.
The little girl’s mother said goodbye to us both and we entered the waiting room. My heart was pounding and could not concentrate on anything that was going on around me. The officer at the X-ray table had to repeat his request several times.
Long story short, we finally landed in Nassau, Bahamas and queued at the immigration counter. When I approached the immigration desk, Janelle (aka) followed me. She did not wait for her turn.
The officer asked for my visa and I shook my head and said no. Without saying anything he took us to the immigration office.
I was terrified.
Nevertheless, I had to think of Janelle. I felt responsible. Even in this difficult situation, I had to do the right thing by not taking Janelle to the office. I did not want her to hear all the confrontations. Also, her father might have waited outside. He could be worried when Janelle did not come out.
“Is your father waiting for you outside ?. You can go if you want.” She shook her head and followed me to the office.
The officer took my passport to his boss and asked me to wait outside. Before he entered his boss’ office, a woman sitting at the center table with angry eyes stared at me.
“What is the problem?” she asked the officer who escorted me.
“No visa.” without looking at the woman.
She shook her head and went back to work. Not long after the officers approached me and told to wait.
Then an old officer came out “What do we have here?”.
“Hello Officer” I try hard not to look pathetic and scared.
“I don’t have a visa. Previously I did not know that I must have a visa to enter Nassau. I am so sorry”.
“You know you must have a visa?”
“I just found out today”.
“What is your purpose to visit?”
“I will apply for an US visa”.
“Give me your papers,” while he pulled out a chair.
I gave him all the paper works. While he checked it out, I told Janelle to call her father. She did not have a cell phone so I l gave mine. The officer saw it and he asked her.
Where is Your Father?
“What are you doing here little girl?”
“I came to visit my daddy.” She looked at him with puppy eyes.
“Do you know her?” The officer pointed at me and Janelle shook her head.
“No sir, I met her with her mother at the airport and she asked me to go with her daughter.” I explained as I stammered.
He looked at me with an investigating look and asked Janelle “So where is your father now?”
“I do not know.”
“Her mother told me that he would wait outside,” I explained again to the officer. He looked at me for a moment.
Woopss…suddenly I felt cold and dizzy. I did not think beforehand that I could have a problem with the authorities for bringing a minor with no supporting documents.
The incidence was getting worse and worse.
The officer did not say anything when flipping my documents. He got up and went back to his office. He came back and gave me my passport and signed it.
“Welcome to the Bahamas”.
I looked at him and mumbled thank you with teary eyes. I did not know what just happened. One minute he (probably) will deport me back home, suddenly he gave my passport stamp. For no reason, he turned to the angry woman and said that I had a previous US visa. The woman slammed the pile of papers on the table and did not say anything.
Truly a miracle. It will never happen without divine intervention. Thank you, God.
Suddenly my body felt light. Felt like to fly.
We hurriedly picked up our bags in the luggage belt. While waiting for Janelle’s father outside, I tried to calm my erratic heartbeat. I relieved by the end of the nightmare.
I could not understand why I ignored all the IMPORTANT things. So annoying.
In the hindsight, if they decided to deport me, they would not deport me back to Providenciales. But they will send me back to Indonesia. It happened to some of my friends who returned from the annual vacation when they just needed to fly from Nassau to Providenciales. The authorities sent them back to Indonesia. Same with some friends denied flying to Nassau for their connecting flight to London.
It turned out that the unpleasant events did not end here.
I was sick on the third day. To make matters worse, my hotel room was really pitiful. The air conditioner made a loud noise. Another thing I lost most of my photos. Somehow. I only had a few photos and some taken by friend when I was busy buying postcards.
Contrary to my horrible experiences, Nassau is a beautiful place. More modern compare to The Turks and Caicos Islands. Modern infrastructure and superb views. Polite and warm residents. Even the officers at the airport were professional and accommodating.
New friends took me around Nassau on the first day. The second day I went with my other friend. She was the first Rasta friend I knew. Warm and humble. She gave me a gift at our second meeting. I was very touched.
The rest of the days (2 days) I stayed in the room because of illness. Soo Irritating.
The message for this story:
Always pay attention and obey the official rules, not the hearsay. If you do not know, ask a question. Still, do not understand, keep asking. Find information from authorized persons. I had a wonderful time when I had a chance to go to Taipeh.
Never underestimate anything, especially someone who gives you something at the airport. Moreover, a mother you do not know to leave her child with you. Dangerous.
This post is also available in: Indonesian