Over the past few years many friends from overseas (especially friends from America) had been trying to get Mctc to visit them. His standard answer would be a smile and "I'm working on it".
Ever since the September 11 bombings in NY, Malaysians have to go through a short interview with an embassy's representative when applying for a US visa. Not only that, the processing fee is expensive, and if you do not pass the interview, they won't refund the fee. When I applied for the US visa in the year 2002, it cost about RM247 (something like that, I can't remember). Now it cost RM440 plus RM27.
Malaysians also need to have visas for countries like Australia, China, Canada...
This past week, he changed his words and told me... "one fine day, we'll go to _____ and _______." He told that to a few other friends too. He wanted to see snow. That was his main criteria. He wanted to see how people from the West lived.
Yesterday morning we were looking at the calendar. I've already checked for cheap flights to Australia, somewhere end Jul and early Aug. You can only find snow up on the mountains during winter time. Of course we could go visit Ruth in Minnesota during Christmas time too. There should be snow where she lives. But then, the hassle of getting the visa, and the flight cost a bomb especially during year end. We weren't so keen on European countries because the exchange rate and cost of living is high and also because of the language barrier.
He said his mother has 2 medical appointments in July and August. Sigh....Australia is out then.
Then suddenly he said... "Maybe we should plan something in May, somewhere mid-May?" I was thinking... May's next month. I said aloud, "What about Genting?" (Genting Highlands is another one of his "one fine day" which was suppose to materialised in February, but his mom was in the hospital and we forgot all about it.)
He said no.. that was for another fine day. He wants to go overseas. I calmly said... wait, let me check the cost of the flight tickets first. I went upstairs to check the price and came down smiling... gosh.. it was so cheap. I remembered my sister went to that same place last year and it cost her 3 times the amount I would be paying.
I reminded Mctc that there won't be any snow in that country in May. He said we could always go there again during winter.
We made up our minds immediately. But after a while, I remembered that our passports would be expiring in Nov this year. So I suggested taking our passport photos immediately (that was yesterday morning) and renewing our passports today.
We reached the immigration dept before 12pm, gave them 2 passport photos, our old passports and a form containing our particulars. We paid RM300 each and was told come collect our new passports at 2pm. Slightly after 2.30pm we went to get our new passports. I must say, I'm really impressed at this department. I didn't have to wait at all. Well, maybe only half a minute for the lady to check through a pile of approved passports lah.
Anyway, We got our new passports and went home to book our flights. It was RM600 more expensive, so I changed the return date to one day earlier.
As soon as the flights were confirmed we called up the person whom we were going to visit to tell her that we were coming over.
Now this is what I call "impromptu".