One Thousand and Five Hundred Dollars in Qatar Immigration

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Peeking Departure Hall.

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.

The last documents in front of the immigration counter.

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.

Free Visa with one month old.

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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Kuwait Airways KU 614 from Bahrain to Kuwait

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KU 614 flight route (source: https://www.radarbox.com/)

Exactly on five in the morning I started to wash my body in the bathroom of Bahrain Plaza Hotel. That day, I would leave Bahrain and heading to Kuwait. After making sure all equipments wasn’t left behind, I went down to the first floor to hand over the key and headed to the nearest bus shelter. Not far, just three hundred meters at south of the hotel, right in front of Manama Cemetery.

Ten minutes later, the bus from MAN manufacturer numbered A1 arrived. Entering from its front door and tapping Go Card to pay the fare worth BHD 0.300, I drove to Bahrain International Airport for the next a hour.

Arriving at the airport on 07:45 hours, I went straight to 1st floor. Its check-in area wan’t better than the same counter owned by Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (second airport in Jakarta). The flight number which didn’t appeared yet on the Departure Hall LCD gave me time to exchange the remaining Bahraini Dinar (BHD). Apparently the money changer on the 1st floor didn’t want to accept small amount of Dinar, fortunately the Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) on the 0th floor was still willing to accept it.

On 9:30 hours, the check-in counter for Kuwait Airways flight KU 614 began to open. I briefly explained that I was going to Qatar with two non-connecting flights and would transit in Kuwait. The young male staff only once asked me about the Qatar Visa. “Qatar visa is free for Indonesian, Sir“, I answered to ending the conversation and he gave two tickets with the blue bird logo at once. The ticket itself I ordered on nine months before departure.

Kuwait Airways was the 27th airline which I boarded.

Smoothly passing through the immigration counter, I immediately headed to Gate 15 which was located in the corner of departure waiting hall with a narrow hallway which connects to the aerobridge. Waiting for boarding time, I continued to observe the flow of Gulf Air, a well-known airline belonging to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Departure waiting room.

A little late, I started boarding on 11:51 hours. Couldn’t wait to experience the first time flying with Kuwait Airways, the airline belonging to the Kingdom of Kuwait.

Late for a hour.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Immediately took a seat as stated on the boarding pass and preparing for a short flight of 420 km which would be covered in 1 hour 10 minutes.

Seat number 17A was where I sat.
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Alburaq inflight magazine.

It appeared that some of the airline’s aircrew were from the Philippines and some from African region. During the flight, I noticed that alcohol bottles weren’t visible on food trolley, it looked like the Kuwait Airways flight was an alcohol-free flight…..It was cool.

Watching “The Martian“.
The Low Fat Meal (LFML) menu which I ordered together with the ticket order.

That afternoon the air on the southwest bank of Persian Gulf was clear. This made my flight felt very smooth, with no turbulence at all. Nice flight.

Sunny weather in early January.
How did the feel, flying with Middle East people?.

DIn the last quarter of flight, the plane began to lower and revealed the land of Kuwait which looked arid and hot. I myself couldn’t wait to get to know Kuwait International Airport which was the main hub of Kuwait Airways.

Middle East mainland which typical sandy brown.
Busyness at Terminal 2 Expansion Project.
Kuwait city view.

The time was 13:35 hours. After the plane came to a perfect stop, I immediately left the fuselage for Transit Hall of Kuwait International Airport. I would patiently wait until four o’clock on the next morning to heading to Qatar.

A320-251N Neo Generation of Airbus

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