Embassies seem to enjoy make a meal of obtaining visas, and each has its own particular flavour. Take, for instance, this exchange with the embassy of Iran:
“Yes, hello, yes?”
“Hi, I had a couple questions about getting my Iranian visa.”
“Well, for one, I’ve been reading about this ‘reference number’ I need, but I can find no mention of it on your website.”
“Yes. You have yours?”
“No… That’s my question… Do I need one?”
“Er, alright… If I don’t have one, what are the chances of my visa getting approved?”
“And if I do have one?”
“I see. And can you suggest where I might obtain one.”
“No. Don’t know.”
For those interested, get a reference number. It essentially means you bypass the Embassy and get approval directly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, which is kind of cool. The downside is that you have to farm that effort out to a tourism company in Iran, who charge for the pleasure. Their online presence is kind of sparse, so you have to do a bit of digging in the internet wasteland to find one that looks reputable. We ended up going with these guys, for what it’s worth.
India has been the best experience so far, with a very brief application and officials so friendly they could make an escort blush.
Meanwhile, I recently completed my first novel, which I then promptly submitted to the Pakistan Consulate for review. Let’s hope it gets picked up.
I understand the need for consular affairs, but this is the type of bureaucracy that would make Hermes Conrad proud. I imagine this is just a warm-up for the borders.
And speaking of borders, I am leaving the happy confines of Canada’s on July 29th to dwell a few weeks in the land of the Gauls. There, I will attempt to procure a working motor carriage from the provincials to ensure safe passage to Illyria and beyond. I have oft heard of the favorable economy of the Celts, so I may be crossing la Manche to conduct my affairs. I’ll need something big to barter, though…