Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fu*@ing Bureaucrats!

One of the very last things I had to do in preparation for my trip was to apply for my Indian visa. The rules of the Consulate state that one cannot apply too much in advance of the travel date so as per my calculations; this was the week to apply. Accordingly, I went onto their website last week, downloaded the application forms, got my pics taken, put together all the documents listed as needed and decided that I'd go down there first thing Monday morning and get it done.

Monday, November 27th

9:42 am - I arrive at 1895 Yonge St. very happy that I was able to get there just 12 mins after the Consulate opened for visa apps.

9:43 am - I see a notice in the lobby stating that the Indian Consulate is no longer located there. The new address is 365 Bloor St. E

9:44 am - Thoroughly confused, I scramble for my visa application (that I had printed out just the previous week) and check the address printed on there. Yup, 1895 Yonge St.

9:45 am - Place a call to Jiblett to find out for me just where is 365 Bloor St.

10:14 am - Arrive at 365 Bloor St. Suite 700. See about 100 people crowding the reception of the Consulate and apparently no system/ order anywhere. Join the nearest "line" and cross my fingers.

10:22 am - Have to move to new line as things start to get "organized".

10:54 am - I move up 4 paces. There are approx 70 people in front of me and another 40 behind. The end of the line has moved into the stairwell.

11:17 am - The line starts to move much faster. Within a few minutes, I'm at the front where one of the Consulate Officials is checking documents. The first question I'm asked -Where is your ticket? - Note: that is NOT one of the documents mentioned in the list!
I say, I have an eticket... he looks at me most suspiciously. Then asks - What is your date of travel? I reply - Dec 14 and he snaps back - Come back on Dec 12.

By now, I am thoroughly confused and try to ask why I need to come back two days before my travel and have to pay the higher "emergency fee" when I have plenty of time to get the visa the regular way now. - No reply... he has moved on to someone else.

I move out of line and back towards the reception. I see a young lady who appears to work there and repeat my question to her. The answer - You can always mail it in. That way you're still paying the same fee.

Well! That was simple enough! Why wouldn't A**hole there have said that??? Oh... wait... that would mean that he would have had to actually LISTEN to what I was saying, and want to HELP.

11:55 am - I find the closest Post Office and send off my documents.

Now comes the long and tedious wait. Will I get my passport back on time? Will it contain the correct visa? For the correct time frame?

Stay tuned for the results.

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