Monday, December 27, 2010

operation passport renewal

I just realised with an upcoming trip next year and 3 months left in my current passport, I'd better get it renewed.

Thinking that the Subang Immigration Dept was still at the old airport, I made my way there this morning, anticipating I would be back in time for lunch at home before I went out to catch up with IreneQ.

I had to make a few rounds before realising that it was tucked just before the refurbished SAAS airport. I was delighted to find that the parking lot was fairly empty, that must mean everyone's still on holidays.

My shortlived joy - the parking attendant informed me that the Immigration Dept had moved to Wisma Glomac at Kelana Jaya. And no, there was no sign announcing that, so good luck to those who didn't get to meet the attendant!

I had remembered seeing Glomac along the highway before, and at that point of time wished I had brought along my Garmin.

As with many of my road trips, I trusted my instincts to bring me to where I was supposed to go. I soon reached the block of Glomac buildings just before the turning out to Federal Highway - there, that was easy. Or so I thought.

It seemed rather odd that the place looked a bit deserted, with many shoplots unoccupied. Sensing something amiss, I decided to check with the guard on duty, and he said it was another block somewhere out there. Where, I asked. He pointed me to a yellow building which didn't look too far. I asked if I could walk, as I was quite tired of all the driving by then.

He was helpful with directions, and soon I was on my way walking along the edge of what seemed to be the Subang exit of the NKVE highway, passing what was potentially secondary forest, crossing some roads and a TNB substation and finally seeing the crowds of people found the place I had been looking for.

It was in a brand new building, but much smaller than the previous location at the Terminal 3. Apparently a lot of people were caught unawares, having gone through the same "mistake" as I had. A quick check revealed that the Immigration Dept had just moved in a few weeks ago, even the website still has the old address =.=

Being new and still having to serve prolly the same number of applicants, you could imagine the place was packed and a little chaotic, especially when there were no signs pointing to where the various counters/services were. I'm quite glad I had been back for a year+, so I had gained some patience for the Malaysian way of doing things.

Nevermind, it was a good thing I had brought along some blueberry muffins, for that filled me for the 1+ hour of waiting for my instant photo, and another 1+ hour of waiting for the passport to be ready after it was renewed via the kiosk.

But in between, I was sent off on a little adventure. It looked like renewing my passport was not going to be as straightforward as I had thought.

After taking into account the amount I would have to pay for parking (at another block of building!), the instant photos and to make copies of my IC, I realised I would be short of cash, so I enquired the officer if there were any ATMs nearby.

His slightly nonchalant look told me I'd best talk to the wall for answers. He gave some vague reply about trying the petrol stations, and smirked a little when I asked if the distance was walkable.

I hadn't come all the way through all these trouble to be put off by some lackadaisical attitude, so again wandered around trying to see how I could get some extra cash. This block was so new most of the lots were still empty, while some workers were seen putting up furniture and finishings to those occupied.

As I walked out to the main road, I realised I was nearing the Subang toll of the NKVE highway, and that's when I saw Petronas and Shell, side by side. Imagine my delight! I was fortunate that throughout all these, it was rather cloudy, and also not raining.

So finally went to the kiosk with the necessary documents and required $, the machine was quite efficient, but I still had to wait for 1 hour before I could get the new passport. I was glad to finally be able to sit down and do some reading before my name was called up. By then, it had already been almost 4 hours since I left home, my stomach was growling and all I wanted to do was go home for lunch.

But I decided since I was in the area, I might as well bring forward my appointment with IreneQ.

I'm quite glad for the exposure to walking from my years abroad. If I hadn't done backpacking and all those outdoorsy stuff, I think I'd think twice about walking along a busy (Malaysian) highway just to get to my destination. Of course, I couldn't help but miss the efficiency and conveniences of a certain developed country as well.

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