Bike-Ride To Australia Tuesday 3rd-January 2012 Dhaka. This morning I went to see my local bank manager! I arrived at the NCC bank, which is more or less opposite my hotel, and was shown to the office of Mr Ehsan, who invited me to take a cup of tea with him. Standard practice over here for absolutely anything, from what I can work out!
After chatting with Mr Ehsan for a while, he gave the welcome news that he could help me with my letter of encasement. I handed over my dollars and, in return, got a receipt. He said it would take about half an hour to process, and I was welcome to wait in his office if I wanted to. I sensed he was saying this more out of courtesy than anything. So I said I’ll go and do a few bits and return later.
I returned to the bank an hour later and once again served tea while I waited! It didn’t take long before Mr Ehsan came out to see me, and in his hand was the certificate. I thanked Mr Ehsan very much for all his help, and he said if I had any more problems, I was to go back and see him.
Let’s Book This Flight
Certificate in hand, I went back to the travel agent. Confident that I could book my flight to China. Only to be told by the travel agent that I had the wrong letter! “Sorry, what, the wrong one?” I said. “Sorry, sir, yes, it’s the wrong one!” The agent replied. I couldn’t believe it, just as I thought I’d sorted things out, I was back to square one! No flight and no visa, what a stupid system! I can’t get a visa without a flight, but I can’t get a flight without a visa! And this certificate seems just as elusive!
Back I went to the NCC bank to see Mr Ehsan, who rang up the travel agent to see what the problem was. Apparently, the letter of encasement has to come from a different sort of bank!? Mr Ehsan’s bank wasn’t licensed to do it, but out of the kindness of his heart, he’d sent one of his employees to another agent. Who he thought could do it. He said there’s nothing wrong with my certificate. It just has to come from a bank! Which he didn’t quite get, but not to worry, we’ll sort it out! After a few phone calls, I was on my way in a rickshaw with one of the bank’s employees to the agent to get my money back!
We arrived at the agent’s and went inside to get my money back. But when he handed it over, it was 200 dollars short! “What’s this,” I asked, “tax”, he replied. Tax my arse, 200 dollars, I don’t think so! That was nearly half of what I’d paid! So I started to argue with him! Eventually, I was told to sit down while the bank employee rang his boss. The phone was handed to the agent. And after what sounded like a heated debate (but then they all do!), the agent returned all my money.
We then walked down the road to the Trust bank, where a Mr Ali met us. He asked me what I wanted, of course, over a cup of tea! I think he might have had to issue one of these letters before, as he seemed to know exactly what I needed. After being introduced to several of his employees, Mr Ali took my money and issued another certificate. After thanking him, it was back to the travel agent once more.
I sat down and gave the certificate to the agent. He looked at it, then passed it around the office with everybody looking at it shaking their heads! Things weren’t looking good, I felt like crying, another certificate and still, it’s wrong! I think they sensed I was getting upset and annoyed, two certificates both wrong, what do I do. After a few phone calls, they reluctantly accepted it and proceeded to book my flights, not without asking where my visa was once again, though! I’ve just got to hope that I get the visa now!
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