Wednesday 2 April 2014

Too Much Time

Yup, too much time to think things over and to be able to get to the level of paranoia one can only envy…

Because I get to Bangkok International Airport and everyone scrambles out of the plane, changing shape from contorted lemurs to actual human beings (well, the Russians – of which there are so many – stay basically the same). And I think to myself ‘man, I should get my luggage, if, that is, it arrived’. But no, they point me to the ‘Visa on Arrival’ counter. And as I slalom through the specially erected corridor of tape, I see that before me there stands a great sea of young Indians or Pakistani, all waiting to get their visas on arrival.

I get out my passport, a picture and while waiting I fill in an application form. And that’s three things out of 7 on the list. Because I now see that there are 7 steps to follow and another two are ‘patiently wait in line’ and ‘give documents to officer’. But there’s one step which gives me the willies: ‘attach flight ticket out of Thailand’. Hmm, this one I don’t have. And so I wait. And while waiting (a lot!) I increasingly think about that damned ticket. What if they don’t give me the visa because I have no ticket out of the country? What if they make me go back? Back to where? How will I get my luggage that made it safe and sound inside Thailand…?

Tough 20 minutes, I tell you. And then I get in front of the officer, who, at an obvious advanced age, with trembling hands but mesmerising smile, takes the papers I have and starts leafing through them.
‘Yes’, he says. ‘Whele is ticke?’
‘What ticket?’ I ask, looking as docile as a new-born lamb.
‘Ticke flom Bangkok to Lomania.’
‘Well, no have ticke. I no go Lomania. I go Burma. I only come Bangkok for Burma visa.’
‘Need ticke. No possible Bangkok withou ticke…’
And so it goes on for at least 10 minutes throughout which he simply smiles his hypnotising smile and I go through a myriad of emotions from pleading to flirting to looking desperate. And then, just like he only wanted to fool around with my mental sanity, he smiles elfishly and scribbles something on my application and then tells me to wait at the next counter. So, together with the 60 or so Indians, I wait. And again have more than enough time to think about what that little written blob from my application actually means and how will the next officer react when he sees me and what if he asks me again about my outgoing ticket…? Suffice is to say that not even the Chinese drop could be as much of a torture for me as that was.

Of course, after the next 30-40 minutes or so I get to the next counter, where a nice young Thai lady warmly welcomes me in Thailand.

After I thought all the mental games are over, I have to go to the Myanmar Embassy to go through almost the same process. But. 

First of all, I arrive quite late and there’s literally a heap of people who are waiting for exactly the same thing but who've already filled in their applications. Secondly, I’m not really sure what I have to do. Apparently, I have to have my passport ready, two photos and a filled-in application form for the visa. But the form drives me nuts. And then the paranoia kicks in. Colour of hair, colour of eyes, height, skin complexion… But only after this does the real fun start. Religion? Wow, what should I say? Should I be completely honest and tell them I’m orthodox? They might look at me funny and maybe they’ll refuse my application. Maybe there are not so many Christian orthodox people applying… damn! I’ll only be Christian. As I turn the application form around, I remain agog about the following questions: current job title; describe your attributions; previous job title; describe your attributions. I’ve heard that jobs like journalist and writer are not very well seen but I think I can impress them if I write something along the lines of PR Officer. But as I fill in the job description, I realize it’s not that far from the attributions of, say, a journalist. But my time is running out and I can’t get another form. So I give my documents at some counter, they again scribble something on them and give them back to me along with a number. When my number will be called, I will be able to give the documents (and money) for a visa. And I wait. And I see people that have been turned around and didn’t get to leave their documents, which to me it means that they have been refused.

Long story short, I have two hours to sweat blood and think about what the refusal for the visa looks like. Do they write in big red letters on your passport ‘NO VISA!’ or can you try again in a couple of days? Do they shout at you and show you off at the other people, saying ‘See? This is what you’re not supposed to do…’? When I finally get to the counter, the nice lady asks me when I want to get my visa and I say 3 days later. ‘Then please give me 810 baht.’ And that’s it. My hands still trembling, I look at her and don’t even realize that she slips me a piece of paper that could be a receipt and waves me off. I only see what’s written on the paper when I get back home:

Lovely, isn’t it? Romania is giving them 810 baht and nothing more. Damn this waiting time and damn their mind games!!!


  1. Hey.... scrii din nou... super....Multa rabdare, multa, ca asa sunt de draguti incat te termina cu zile...

    1. @Vasi: da, da, incet şi cu simţul răspunderii...

  2. Sa inteleg ca functinarii romani mai trebuie sa invete? :-P

    1. O, da! Dar şi eu mai tre' să lucru la partea cu răbdarea, stressul... 8-}

  3. Cred ca rsti in locul potrivit sa-l gasesti pe Zen :-P

    1. Doar că Zen ăsta se cam ascunde de mine... :P