Day 218: Visas = bitch

Istanbul – floating fast food on the Bosphorus

Been in Turkey a week now, but seen more consulates and banks than mosques and bazaars. Damn them visas. We’re in the process of applying for four – Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – to pave way for our overland route home. It feels like a game of scavenger hunt where one must first decipher the various countries’ requirements, collect passport photocopies, trek out to the consulates (which are very far), complete application forms, trade them in for a week of waiting, return again, pay fees at banks, collect receipts, trade those in, successfully get visa.

Exhausting and mentally unsettling, but finally got 2 today – Iran & Uzbekistan – surprisingly smooth. What a contrast to how things went yesterday with a third consulate, probably the lousiest on earth.

Blue Mosque

Uzbekistan was straightforward. Submitted application last week, they told us to come back today and so we did. Arrived, told our visas were approved, picked up the invoice, paid fee at nearby bank, returned, waited 30 mins, and visa in passport no hiccups. Organized, orderly, efficient and polite. I’m impressed already.

Entrance to the Blue Mosque

As for the lousy consulate? Submitted application last week, they told us we could return yesterday and so we did. Arrived, paid fee at bank 20 mins walk away, waited 40 mins for 3 people in front of us (Turkish banks aren’t exactly efficient neither), returned to consulate, traded in payment receipt, got asked for something in a foreign language, had no clue what which resulted in being rudely waved aside so others could be served, watched people squeeze in and out of the box size room, waited, watched Stupid’s pathetic attempt at multitasking (he had an attention span of 10 seconds), waited some more, watched Stupid repeatedly flip through chaotic stacks of passports to return to their rightful owners (hasn’t he heard of alphabetical filing?), waited yet some more, watched Stupid take our passports back and forth to the backroom whilst doing other things in between (fucking focus goddamnit!), waited waited waited… an hour later, Stupid asked his lady colleague to translate:

“Your visa is not ready. Come back Friday”

Fuck you! You made us stand for an hour just to tell us that? It really ain’t rocket science…

I was disgusted. First impressions really count… and for now at least, I don’t feel sorry at all for Borat making fun of this country.

continued… Day 220: Certified World’s Lousiest!

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One Comment

  1. Lilliane says:

    AHA! you are living my life now. It's a comfort knowing not only us from the 3rd world country experience crap in securing visas! ;-)

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