Immigration Strikes Again & A Weekend Of Fun

Bureaucracy And Even More Bureaucracy

So, just when you think it's all over, out comes another issue with good old immigration. 

For those of you who have been following my blog since the start, you will know that my departure from the UK was delayed by the joy of the Malaysian immigration services deciding to change the way they process foreign workers. It used to be the case that you could simply enter the country on a tourist visa whilst your work permit was processing. They decided that for some reason this was a bad idea and now you have to gain your permit approval letter prior to coming over. 

Immigration is a nightmare
So, what's the problem, I hear you cry? I already have my permit and my shiny new ID card. The
problems comes from the need to get my family here. We were under the impression that those who were going to claim dependent status would still be able to come over on a simple tourist visa and then apply once here, thus giving us plenty of time. Because of this I have been focusing on other things, such as housing, my job and settling into the country in the knowledge that my family would soon be with me. As it turns out, they have also changed the rules on dependents as well, and as such there is now somewhat of a rush for us to get the visas for the whole family sorted ASAP as they are due to fly in 5 and a half weeks. 

As with everything else the school have been wonderful and and working very hard to get the process expedited as quickly as possible. There may also be one more spanner in the works as well, anyone that has had children will know the problems involved with getting a 3 week old baby to keep it's eyes open for long enough to take a proper passport photo. This wasn't a problem for the UK passport office who where more than happy to accept photos with my daughter eyes shut. The Malaysian immigration department however may well be a different story. We really don't know, so please everyone keep your fingers crossed.

To be honest I hope that everything will be OK, but I just really don't like the unknown, especially

when I have been apart from my family, newly born daughter included, for over 5 weeks now. In fact I've not even met my daughter yet!

A Weekend To Remember

The view of turn 4 from the K2 stand where we were sat.
Malaysia is famous for a lot of things, but one of the things that probably doesn't immediately spring to mind would be Motorsport. As it happens the country has one of the best Formula 1 circuits in the world, Sepang, and this weekend was the Malaysian Grand Prix. When I realised that it was coming up so soon my initial thought was it was going to cost far too much to consider going. I was wrong, very wrong. My ticket cost a little over 100rm (About 20 of your British Pounds) and included access to the music concert on Sunday after the race. Seriously, an absolute bargain.

So, my first formula 1, I can't believe it's my first seeing as I follow the sport quite closely, and it's in sunny Malaysia. We booked into the K2 stand which is just a hillside, so I was a little concerned about the weather, but we had nothing but sunshine and a nice breeze to keep us cool. If it had been in England I can guarantee I would have been stood in the mud whilst it rained for the whole weekend. 

Getting there was interesting, it's about an hour from where I live in Petaling Jaya, so I needed to get a taxi. Not a problem in Malaysia as both Uber and Grab have a great service running and it's cheap. My one word of advice would be to check both of the apps for price on a journey that long. Uber was by far and away the cheapest option, it was nearly a third of the cost of Grab.

For an event that has been running for years you would have thought that they would have the organisation down to a fine art form. Sadly not. There was almost no signage around to let you know where to go, and what there was had little or no relevance to what it was actually pointing you towards. That said there was the occasional map that had enough detail in it to work out where you needed to go. 

Food and drink was an interesting experience. There was very little of it anywhere, but it wasn't as expensive as I thought it might be. To be honest I think they were missing out on a trick here, if they had more food and beverage stands they could have made a lot of money. You had to walk for quite a long way just to get a bottle of water or a beer, and even then they ran out quickly of both. Not ideal.

On the plus side I can really recommend K2 as a spot to watch the racing from, the view was spectacular and as long as you have a ticket the stewards really don't care what you bring in. That means next year we are going to be taking a gazebo and cool box full of lovely things.

I took this from the treeline in stand K2, what an amazing view

I really don't think I need to explain how amazing it was to see the racing, anyone who follows the F1 will know that Lewis Hamilton was on fire ... until his engine exploded. Guess what, it happened right next to us and watching Lewis on his knees and then being driven off on the back of a moped was something I'll never forget. 

A Concert Of Surprise

One of the warm-up acts before Usher
After the racing was all done and dusted we then had access to the evening entertainment, Usher. I can't say I was looking forward to it, not my type of music and not something I would ever pay to go and see. I was persuaded to go, after all it was included in the cost of the ticket, so why not.

The warm up acts were all local Malaysian artists that all did a mixture of covers of western songs and some of their own. They were really good and kept us all entertained until the sun began to set and it was time for the main event.

Usher performing onstage
Now, User is a global name and no matter what you think of his music you will more than likely have heard of him. Things really didn't start well for him as he kept the audience waiting for well over an hour with no explanation of why, if you want a giggle have a look at his Twitter feed, he got some serious abuse. When he did eventually come out he just sort of carried on as if  nothing had happened, I can't say that impressed me at all.

The concert was not what I had expected at all, to say I was surprised is an understatement, it was fantastic. Even if you don't like his music, you would enjoy seeing him live, he really is an amazing showman and knows how to entertain a crowd. On top of all of this I had forgotten how many of his songs I actually knew, including some of his more modern ones!

Overall a fab end to and amazing weekend.

As always, comments are welcome.


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