Vegas No More

Four years ago, I was lucky to get a US visa. No, please don’t ask me how I did it because my office applied it for me. They prepared all my documents and all I had to do was to show up at the embassy where I flashed my googely eyes. When my business trip did not push through, I did not have any reasons to go there, thus, the visa is still unused up till now. I always thought the cost would be too much for me to absorb and I can always use the money to gallivant around Asia for months. I have six more years to burn before it expires.

Then a few months ago, the significant other and I started making plans for our bi-annual vacation. A friend of his is scheduled to get married in Vegas in September and I was curiously happy with the prospect of visiting the US, given that I don’t have the urge to see anything (well, maybe Jack Karouac’s hometown, New York and Broadway, and maybe Louisiana for the blues… ok that’s a lot) at all. We started checking flights and we started to Look for Hotels. Heck, I even started thinking of ways on how to tell my boss that I am filing for yet another month of leave and ways on how to survive when she raises the axe to decapitate me.

The plan was simple. Fly to LAX and see the Universal Studios and Sunset Boulevard, maybe side-step to Music Center. We’ll rent a combi to drive to Vegas where we’ll spend a week with the newly-weds and waste precious hard-earned money on casinos, maybe see can-can girls dancing. After seven days of getting wasted, we’ll drive to San Francisco and visit City Lights bookstore where I’ll drown myself in Beat Poetry. Of course, I’d like to ride the cable cars and play Dr. Godspeed on Alcatraz

It was the perfect plan. Then a few months back, some German friends visited the Philippines and invited us to go to Komodo Island instead. I had to weigh the options. My fare to the US alone is my entire budget if I stay in Asia. Clearly, that’s all the reason I need. In the end, I decided (yes, he did not acknowledge that we both made the decision) to go back to Indonesia. With my money, I can cover Singapore, Bali (again, yey!), Lombok, Komodo, Sulawesi, and Malaysia this coming October. And yes, this will still be a month-long trip.

It is always funny when I get interviewed in Immigration counters. They’d always ask why I do not go to the US even if I can. I’d always smile and say I like maximizing my money. I know that there will come a time when I’d be filthy rich and I can surely spend for a US trip without batting an eyelash. But for now, I’ll stay in Asia. Vegas, you will have to wait…

Have you ever had the chance to visit a country and decided not push through because of costs?