Which CTers Just Hopped On A Sneaky Boat Trip To The Ments?
Empty. Pumping. Uncrowded like it’s 1975.
In early July the Indonesian government announced a three-step reopening plan that culminated with Bali welcoming foreigners on September 11. The timing wasn’t a nod to USA’s most deadly terror attack, but rather a priest-approved day on the Hindu calendar.
But when COVID didn’t magically disappear, they postponed the September 11 opening, and surfers around the world wept quietly into their domestic pillows. Then, on August 25 Indonesia released a confusing press release that seemed to reinforce the original September 11 plan. Surfers cheered. Blogs rushed to share the good news. But anyone that read all the way to the bottom saw this line:
“However, regarding the third stage of New Life Order protocol, Bali still has not been able to open up to foreign tourists as previously planned on September 11. Following the central government / RI, Indonesia will still extend the travel ban until at least the end of 2020.”
And the surfers wept once more.
Well, except for a handful of tenacious Southern Californians who refused to wait for their invitation, and started probing for a way to get into surfing’s greatest pleasure playground.
Because while Indonesia is closed to “all travelers who are not Indonesian nationals” according to Kayak’s travel restrictions page, it goes on to list a bunch of exceptions, including, “Temporary Stay Permit (ITAS) and Permanent Stay Permit (ITAP) holders, travelers with a visa issued after March 31, 2020, airline crew, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers, and foreigners working on strategic national projects.”
And there, in the 50 shades of gray area, is where one can find an opening.
The San Clemente crew — Kolohe Andino, Griffin Colapinto, Luke Davis, Ian Crane and Crosby Colapinto — is reportedly looking to invest in a surf camp in the Mentawais and entered with a business visa. @lost_indo’s Instagram shared a photo of the crew with the caption “Strictly Business… Essential AF”
From the looks of it, they’ll be conducting business from the Sibon Baru, a 62-foot catamaran with six cabins that operates out of Padang.
The forecast looks insane, with multiple 6-10 foot swells lined up through September 13, so they’ll presumably be able to surf a bit between meetings.
Strider Wasilewski is another American in Indo at the moment, enjoying Bali without crowds. Maybe he’s doing business, too?
According to Travel Document Systems, a visa expediting service out of L.A., the requirements for a business visa include a letter from your business, a letter of invitation from a business in Indonesia, among other things. Maybe it’s time you finally open that Mexican food spot you claim Bali so desperately needs? (“But like, real Mexican.”)
Strider’s hashtags were #likebaliinthe70s and #findaway. Remember when I talked about Pandemic Pioneers? The people that would do what it took — bust through red tape or wiggle through loopholes — to get to these places and experience this momentary regression to a simpler, less crowded time? This is what I was talking about. Good for you, Strider. Good for you, San Clemente crew. I can’t wait to visit your surf camp, and try your Mexican food.
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