I was still standing still holding the iron fence on a side of the Arrival Hall Hamad International Airport. Separated by a glass partition, I still stared to the bronze statue nicknamed “Lamp Bear” which is the pride of the best airport in the Middle East region. While other passengers moved very fast with their respective travel trolleys. The yellow bear statue rised as high as seven meters and made every traveler who crosses it like a swarm of ants which busy with their own desires.
Soon I would pass through the immigration counter to adding stamp collection on my e-passport. Reading some stories of several homeland travelers who weren’t a bit rejected, I was already prepared with a lot of questions at the counter later. Understandably, I came to a country with the highest per capita income in the entire world. Meanwhile, my income from a salesman profession in Indonesia’s capital city was only a fingernail compared to the income of this country citizens.
“Don’t worry, Donny. You have prepared well”, I thought to calming down myself. Flashback to a month before departure, when I spoke with a female staff on duty at the front office of Qatar Embassy in Jakarta via telephone. “Entering Qatar doesn’t need a visa, Sir. The important thing is to bring 1,500 US dollars, plane ticket to leaving Qatar and booking confirmation from the hotel where you’ll be staying”, he briefly explained at the time.
Now I was in front of the immigration counter and directed by an officerto queue in a line which was still closed with a tape barrier. There was no immigration officers at the counter yet. Five minutes later the immigration officer came and entering into immigration box. Adding another five minutes to prepare computer, camera and some other supporting equipment. After that, the first traveler in queue came forward. She was told to move her position to take her beautiful face in a photo. Over and over….I got suspicious, maybe he collected those photos for himself…..Hahahaha #joked.
It was my turn in third queue to be called, I had prepared my passport, booking confirmation from Casper Hotel, Philippines Airlines e-ticket, and credit card. Less than 1,500 US dollars, as I recall, I only brought it with the remaining limit of 500 US dollars. If it was rejected…. Well, I would stay for four nights at the airport and would wait for my return schedule…. Crazy gamble.
A handsome officer with a thin beard in a white robe and turban caught my e-passport which almost fell on the counter. He had been flipping through that international identity for a long time. One by one, he looked at my track record. As far as I remembered, my green passport was already filled until page 32.
“Which countries did you go to before coming here?”, he asked, intently looking at me. “I went to Malaysia, India, Dubai, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain since 29 December, Sir”, I replied, slightly shaking with anxiety. He was still watching me, even before he asked again, I was a little proactive and tried my best to save the situation “This is my return ticket and this is my hotel booking confirmation, Sir”. He just slightly frowned as he said “Oh, No need … No need”. Ah finally, so easy, not as I feared.
Welcome Qatar!, my mind cheered with joy.
It was time to exploring Hamad International Airport before going to downtown. Come on….!
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