My India Visa


Well, it seems that all I’ve gotten accomplished in Bangkok has been taking care of business.  After I got the AC adapter out of the way, I had to do things like groceries and other household stuff.  I’ve learned a lesson on that one too.  ALWAYS bring your reading glasses when shopping for laundry detergent in a foreign country.  I bought a little bottle only to get home to find out that the entire label is written in Thai…nary a word of English anywhere, not even pictures of the capfuls!.  Okay wiseguys I can already hear the snickers…who needs to read the label of the laundry detergent,right?  Well, if you’re so smart, how much do you add to a frontloading machine that is a combination washer and dryer and does the whole load of laundry on about 2 tablespoons of water?  I learned the hard way that a whole cap full is too much.  Way too much.

Today I spent a good chunk of time going to the Indian Embassy.  Seems they have this little bureaucratic hoop I have to jump through (called a visa) to visit their little country.  I spent a lot of time on their website this morning completing the online visa application (required) only to submit it and receive an appointment to show up in San Francisco next Tuesday.  Now I’ve got an even bigger dilemma than not having a birth certificate that does not have the nationality of both my parents listed.

I finally found the right webside, the India Embassy to Thailand in Bangkok. Completed the application again, gathered my mug shots, two copies of the inside of my passport, scrounged up 3,617 Thai Baht (exact change only please), figured out how to get there on the subway (I’m too tight for a taxi), made copies, and rehearsed my lines over and over as to why my birth certificate does not have all the information on it.  The main gist of my argument goes something like this:  “Birth certificates are a very controversial topic in the United States right now.  Ever hear of our Muslim president that was born in Kenya?  I have an almost identical situation, you really don’t want to get dragged into this mess too, do you?”  (Add wailing and tears as necessary).

Well, I got there, signed in, walked up to the window to a pleasant young gentleman that spoke as quietly as a church mouse and he was behind about 3 inches of plexiglass.  He took my money and my passport. 

He either said “come back Monday” or “there’s no way.”  I’m not totally sure which it was.

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4 thoughts on “My India Visa

  1. Or, he said, “Give me more money!” Isn’t learning a country their way fun?! The washer/dryer thing sounds quite interesting!

    I’ll tell you another of my adventures: with the European toilets! On my first trip to Germany, I discovered that everything from door knobs to toilets required a little getting used to. In Germany (I’ll offer a little explanation, just in case you don’t know this.) there’s very little water in the toilets and there’s a little shelf in the front and a hole at the back. When you flush the toilet, the water runs over the shelf and pushes off whatever is there into the little hole in the back. The only problem is, figuring how exactly to flush the darn things. In homes, there may be a handle, on the side, that you lift up, or in older homes, a chain from the ceiling to pull. In public, there’s usually a push button on the tank lid that you push down. After a month, I felt confident that I could do my business and exit without asking for assistance.

    A couple of years later, I returned to Europe. This time it was Germany, Switzerland, France and England on one of those whirlwind tours. All goes well in Germany and Switzerland, but those darn French have to do it their way. We had stopped at a roadside rest area. The restrooms were actually in a skywalk above the highway. I go in. First, there are no seats: just the rim. I can manage. Then I go to flush. There’s a screw like button sticking up an inch or so on the tank lid. I push it with my hand, nothing. I try again, nothing. I hike up my skirt and put my foot on the button, nothing. I’m getting pretty frustrated, so I grab the button and pull, flush! Of course, it was just the opposite of the German flush toilet!

    Thanks again, for sharing your stories. It causes me to think of my adventures. Maybe I’ll get to travel again when I retire! I’ll be calling on you for assistance as you’ll be the wise old sage of a world traveler!

  2. Shew, this part of the trip is making me nerves…But is is good to know that our laundry sounds like it was way clean.. Also I am thinking that maybe you should ask for pictures of “the guy at the Embassy”, visuals are always helpful…:) Just simply explain you have many who are “mentally” joining you on this RS….

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