Friday, January 11, 2013

This Kind of Thing Makes Me Nervous

Monday morning bright and, well, reasonably early, I headed to the India Visa Application Center.  I thought they might actually employ Indian people, who most likely would speak English, but there were only Chinese people in sight.  Fortunately, the most critical ones spoke English.  The lady at the the copier and the guy you pay can deal pretty well with sign language.   

However, I did not accomplish what I went to do, that is, apply for an Indian visa.  Suffice it to say that when you get Indian and Chinese efficiency working together, it is optimistic to expect everything to go smoothly and efficiently.  Turns out that there are several needed documents that were not listed on the website.  When I complained about this, the girl said matter-of-factly, "Oh yeah, the website.  They never update that."  Apparently it's never occurred to any of them that someone might need a list of requirements ahead of time.  An additional thing is that the requirements are slightly different for someone who is just passing through China as opposed to someone who lives here.  

Anyhow, two of the things were things that I could easily print myself, but I did have to call the university in Wuhan and disturb more than one person's afternoon to write and stamp a letter proving my employment and fax it to me.  Fortunately, somebody came through for me.  However, it was too late in the day by that point to finish the paperwork on Monday.  

So, I met a friend, Kelley, who lives in Jingzhou but was traveling in Beijing, for dinner, got the paperwork together, and then gave it another shot on Tuesday.  The center was much less crowded on Tuesday morning, and this time everything went pretty smoothly.   Now just to's supposed to take seven business days, which will mean I will get it the day before my flight.  It just makes me extremely nervous to have used my grace day I built in at the beginning.  If I don't get it on time, it's going to be a huge hassle, and probably involve a fairly large fee, to change my flight.  The girl helping me actually asked, "Well, why did you book a flight already?  You should wait until you have the visa before booking it."  In the next breath, she told me that a copy of my flight booking information showing my dates of leaving and returning was required to GET the visa.  Sooo...she didn't get the irony, apparently.  

Anyhow, it's all applied for, and now I'm just praying it does come through in the typical seven days...oh please oh please oh please oh please...


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