25 November, 2010

Indian VISA

I had planned on going to India with my friend Chetna on Dec. 3rd. Upon arriving in Kathmandu last month, I wnet ot the Indian Embassy to apply for my visa. The morning of Nov. 1st, I met up with my friend Ashley and we then met up with another friend of hers. That friend told me (more than I ever wanted to know) about the Indian Visa process which she said takes a week and 3 trips to the Embassy. I was also informed that you have to arrive there and that the line starts at 8AM…well that day was shot for sure since by then it was almost noon.

The next morning armed with this new knowledge and all my paperwork carefully filled out (and like Santa I had checked it twice) I arrived at the Embassy by 8AM. As I stood in line outside with about 30 dark skinned gentlemen ahead of me, I checked over my paperwork once again. After about 15 minutes the very kind man in front of me suggested that maybe I was in the wrong line as he pointed to another line forming about ½ block away which consisted of a random mix of foreigners. I thanked him and quickly went to the proper line. When they opened the doors at 9AM, I was given number A5 and told to wait once again. Around 9:30 they started calling out the numbers, a seemingly random mix of A’s, F’s and B’s…

When my number was called I was instructed to give them one paper which I had filled out and proceed to the cashier to pay my 300 rupees. That paper was a fax that supposedly was to be sent to my country to find out if I’m on America’s Most Wanted list. Pretty confident that the US has no need to deny me entry into India, I handed the man my money, who then gave me a receipt stating that in exactly 7 days, I was to return and only then could I turn in my application. A bit depressed, I went back to my seat to contemplate what I was going to do in Kathmandu for 7 days. I was totally ready to go to DANG!

I continued my conversation with the guy next to me as I told him what just happened (and what will soon happen to him when they get to his number). Realizing that he will have to stay a week in KTM as well, we made tentative plans to get together and do something during the wait.

When I got back to the HVP school and talked to the UK volunteer, Sue we decided to go ahead and go to Dang for the Tihar festival (even though it would take one day to get there, stay 3 days and 1 day to return). The next day Eli and I met for coffee and, with CM and Bhola’s blessings, I invited him to come along. For whatever crazy reason, he accepted and we headed out the next morning: see TIHAR

Upon returning to KTM on Nov. 8th, we headed bright and early the next morning once again to the Indian Embassy, turned in our application and was told to return that evening to pick up our passports hopefully with a visa entry into India firmly attached to one of the pages. – Evening came and wallah! we had it! I hung out at Ashley’s for a couple days and then Eli and I traveled with a couple other people to Nargakot because I had a few days to kill while waiting for Erin from the US to arrive so we could go to CPH together. It was a short 2 day trip, but the views were worth it!

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