Off to India

Providing the courier company gets me my passport on Saturday with my visa inside, I will be off to Mumbai on Sunday for three days.
This will be my first ever trip to India, so I’m pretty excited. I’ll be meeting members of the local Sun team and going to see a customer. Can’t wait – it’ll probably be my usual airport-hotel-meeting-Sun office-hotel-airport schedule, but I’m sure I’ll get to see some interesting stuff along the way. I don’t mind not seeing any sights on these trips – it’s meeting my local Sun colleages, visiting customers that I enjoy most.
I spent a long time at the Indian Consulate in Dubai going through the process of applying for a business visa. I can’t recommend the experience – it’s not very clear what you’re meant to do and signs are posted on A4 paper in very small letters, which means you tend to miss them. The website said I needed two photos and the visa application form said three. Or maybe I misread the website. You also need not only an invitation letter, but a letter from your local employer too, which confused me as well. I must learn to pay more attention.
Various doors were left open all the time, defeating the air conditioning. Waiting to hand my passport over to a cashier took nearly two hours in a crowded, sweaty room. Not much fun. Hopefully next time I visit someone will have fitted something to the doors to make them swing shut automatically, after seeing an irate sweaty Englishman jump up for the tenth time to push it shut.
Unfortunately you don’t have the option of picking your passport up yourself. That would have been my preferred choice, as I don’t have a very good track record with courier companies here. I really didn’t want to go through the usual ritual of someone burbling ‘what is your location’ at me down the phone before driving off to Abu Dhabi all day leaving me hanging around waiting for a delivery that never arrives when it’s supposed to.
Sadly you’re not given the option to collect yourself and things have already gone wrong – I got a call today asking ‘what is your location’ and telling me to expect someone at my residence at around midday. I called at five thirty to be told that actually my passport would be delivered on Saturday. Apparently the person calling me today was simply calling to tell me that the passport had arrived with them. I was obviously imagining things when he was giving me the delivery time and telling me it’d be here today, but never mind.
If it can’t be delivered today, why not tomorrow, you may ask? Thursday is a working day, is it not? Well, tomorrow is a government holiday, announced just a week ago. I don’t know why a courier company that doesn’t work on official holidays is being employed to deliver visas. These kinds of things tend to be time sensitive. I should have had it today, now I’m getting it on Saturday? What if I were travelling on Friday or Saturday morning? I applied in plenty of time. If Starbucks is open tomorrow, I don’t see why visa couriers can’t work as well. Give ’em a day off in lieu, same as me.
Using the usual approach here of pretending to get angry if you don’t like the first option you’re given, I was told that the couriers would try to rush my passport to me by eight this evening. Let’s see what happens next…

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