Big visa day

Big visa day

October 27, 2012  |  Paperwork

My alarm clock rings at 6:30. I’m instantly awake. That’s something that doesn’t happen often, especially when I’m unable to fall asleep. I think I even saw the alarm clock jump to 04:00. Man, am I nervous! I quickly make some sandwiches, drink a cup of coffee and print the train schedule. A friend picks me up. He has to go to work. It saves me a good half hour of the three hours travel time to The Hague if I drive along with him. We talk about my nervousness. How my first application for the Pakistani visa was rejected due to not having a Letter of Invitation from a travel organisation in Pakistan and because I didn’t have my Iranian visa. At least I have those two this time. I tell him about how the travel organisation told me to keep my itinerary simple, only mention Islamabad and Lahore and not tell the embassy that I plan to travel overland. They’re not too fond of overlanders. Safety issues and all. Unfortunately enough I told the embassy everything about my plans in my first application. I’m not going to tell a whole different story at my second application. That will only make things worse I think.

We say goodbye and I walk to the train. It’s still two hours to the embassy from here. In the train I think about how I came up with the idea of this trip two years ago and when the plans took more shape how I started telling everyone, whether they wanted to hear it or not, about what I was going to do. And now, in just a few hours, some guy at the embassy in a ticket window has the ability to deny my visa application without giving reasons just because he feels so. There’s not really a way around Pakistan, along the north of Pakistan seems feasible but inevitably you have to go through China which is a bureaucratic hell and very expensive when traveling with your own vehicle. Also I haven’t heard of anyone who went by boat to India so I’m not placing my bets on that. I get sick to my stomach when I think of the impact it would have if I can’t go through Pakistan.

The embassy is exactly as I expected. A guy in a ticket window and a waiting room, very simplistic. When it’s my turn I hand him all my paperwork and he tells me to take place in the waiting room. Twenty minutes later he calls me back. He needs a copy of the first couple of pages of my Carnet de Passages and a bank statement that I have enough money. I did not really expected this but luckily I carried my Carnet the Passages with me and I also had a two month old copy of a bank statement somewhere in my bag. There’s a copier in the waiting room which I can use but it needs coins. Who carries coins these days? So I use my Garmin, which I slowly learn to love (I already envisioned tying it to a rocket and blowing it to hell when I spend a whole day last week to install a few routes), to navigate to the closest bank to get some money. At the embassy I hand over the bank statement and a copy of the CdP and take place once again in the waiting room. I start to worry again because my bank statement only shows a third of the money I’m planning to bring. A few moments later the guy calls me again and asks for copies of my Iranian and Indian visa. This is looking good! I copy them and bring them to him. I was already on my way to the waiting room again when : ‘Sir, wait.’ I turn around and he shoves a payment terminal through the little opening in the window. I pay the fee and he says: ‘Collect visa at 12:30’. What a relief!

One comment on “Big visa day

  1. Melanie on said:

    Rocco, wat een geweldige blog!! Ik heb vandaag ontdekt dat je deze reis maakt :O en vind voornamelijk dit verhaal errug goed!! Super stoer man! Ik ga je volgen :D .
    Goeie reis!! En doe voorzichtig ;) .
    Liefs uit Parijs :)

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