Bike-Ride To Australia Monday 26th-December 2011 Calcutta. Considering this is quite a posh hotel, I don’t think much of the bar! They only ran out of beer. Then after switching to gin, they ran out of that! I wasn’t a happy bunny! However, I can’t complain about the breakfast. There’s a vast choice, with different stations, one serving a European style breakfast, eggs, bacon, croissants and the like. An American counter with pancakes, syrup and waffles. And an Asian counter. All very nice, and of course I’ve tried them all!
After breakfast, I went back to the Bangladeshi high commission. When I was there the other day, a guard had told me to be there by 8 o’clock as it gets busy! He also said which window to go to, as there were several. I arrived at the high commission at 7.45, and there was already a big queue! Luckily though, not at my window, which I also found out, didn’t open until 9.15!
As I waited for the window to open, touts kept coming up, trying to sell me a visa application form. In the end, I caved in and bought one. After all, it might save a bit of time, and I had nothing else to do while waiting! The man who sold me the form said that I needed two, which didn’t surprise me. He also said not to make any corrections on the form as it would get rejected. And yes, of course, I made a mistake and had to buy another form! Everything is so bureaucratic and gets duplicated here!
The window eventually opened at 10 o’clock, and I handed over the forms along with my passport and photographs. The woman behind the counter looked over my application, stamped it, gave me one of my forms back and told me to come back at 11.30 for an interview! Apparently, it’s just Indians that have to fill out two forms.
I went back at 11.30 and was taken through the high commission to see the ambassador. He was a jolly, chubby little man, not quite what I expected! It felt as if I was going for a job interview! But when I met him, I relaxed. He gave me a cup of tea and asked what I was doing. And that was it! He just said to come back tomorrow at 5 pm to pick up my passport and visa.
I now plan to leave Calcutta on Wednesday after breakfast. Some good friends from back home are in Bangladesh, so I hope to meet up with them.
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