Apr 12, 2015

Bangkok Diaries - Day 1

I dreaded the Visa on arrival the minute I heard that I would have to go for that given that I had to travel at a short notice. I remember the last time my wife and I were quite lucky to get an almost empty line. 

This time, it wasn't the same. Half my country was here. The Indian tradition of asking for a pen - usually found in banks and government offices could be seen here. The fights when someone cut the line was rampant. A gentleman, when the authorities asked why he couldn't write a particular field legibly in the application form, said "I didn't get my specs" was simply dumbfounding. It would have been hilarious if one was an observer and not a part of the process. It is not that only Indians underwent this. The drama was a symptom of a bad process. 

I asked whoever I thought would know the answer "what is the difference between this line and the other?" a distraught european said "No idea mate, I have no idea!".

I saw an uncle and his daughter (I think) - who was a Anushka Sharma doppleganger - who were also trying to understand what was happening. So I joined them and went through the process and commenting with the new found friends about the process of giving visas, the people, etc., basically 'being there for each other' and the two hours appeared small. I thought I'd do a selfie with the doppleganger but out of respect for who I thought was her dad, I let it go.

Once I headed out of the airport, the familiar buildings appeared. It was exactly the same two years ago. The coloured taxis, familiar smell, hawkers on the street, the police, street signs et., all of it came back within 20 minutes and all I wanted to do was to go back to my country having seen enough.

(If you are traveling, try to avoid visa on arrival and get it from India itself. You'll save tons of your time, energy and will earn good karma)