Sunday July 10th I skipped going to the 8:00 am English LDS Ward with most of the group so I could attend the 10:00 Indonesian speaking Jakarta Ward. In Sunday School the gospel doctrine teacher told a great story related to Alma 32 about faith and how as a teen he prayed to be able to find food for his family (he was tired of eating plain rice) and was led to a vacant lot where he found a variety of foods growing among the weeds. Several other times he was led to other free food sources. I asked him for more details and so we slipped into a spare room and I interviewed him during Priesthood meeting. After church good friends Subandriyo and Steffie took me to lunch of soto ayam (chicken soup). At 4:00 that afternoon our group presented a fireside discussion about seismic activity, safety and mitigation in Indonesia. The members who came from all over Jakarta (including many good friends from over the years) really liked the maps, models and simulations that Dr. Ron Harris (the mastermind behind this endeavor) and his students have created.
Monday morning we set out to procure research permits and research visas for the group (two BYU professors, five BYU graduate students (four geology, one linguistics), seven BYU undergraduate geology students—as part of a study abroad, three UVU professors (two geology and one public health) and two UVU students, plus a few other folks). The plan was to visit four government entities to get everything set. In anticipation we make sure everyone looked as professional as we could--long pants and no flip flops. Out first stop was at Ristek (where permits are granted for academics involved with research and technology). Six months ago we began the application process which morphed into a long process of additions and changes that also required additional letters of support. This all slowed down the approval process which then meant when we were finally able to apply for research visas to the Indonesian consulate in LA, it was too close to the Lebaran (end of Ramadan) holiday to get them processed in time. We thus were forced to enter on a 30 day tourist visa. The folks at Ristek were not happy and told us we should have delayed our departure (hard to do when airplane tickets for 23 have already been purchased). They then wanted us to all fly to Singapore to get the visas from the Embassy there. That was not in the budget. Finally after hours of negotiating and woe, it was decided that we could stay with our 30-day visas on arrival with a permit from Ristek, but we would not be able to qualify for additional approval and support from the police and departments of Home Affairs and Immigration.
Monday night I took some students to visit Istiqlal Mosque
Tuesday everyone in the group decided to join in a great, but long (5:20 am departure and return to hotel at 9:20pm) day trip to Krakatoa. We had scheduled three days in Jakarta to navigate the bureaucracy, but when that was no longer needed we decided to go see one of the world’s most impressive geologic places. I did this trip two years ago (see photos here: http://beitemmett.blogspot.co.id/2014/08/awesome-krakatoa.html) and was the one who promoted the idea and helped our local host make the arrangements. It was so fun to visit with a bunch of geologists who had a hard time containing their glee at everything they saw. Ron Harris has been to Indonesia many times but had never visited, neither had the local geology professor from Jogja. Snorkeling afterwards was an added bonus.