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Calcutta Day 3


A highly successful, functional day got off to an early start with my visa application at the Bangladeshi High Commission. Strangely the business was done out on the street and I arrived in good time to find sizeable queues already strung along the pavement, fortunately the one doling out the forms was not slow in going down. Inside beyond the meshed window sat bundles of previous applications tied up in bundles with string, piled high to the ceiling, it was India personified. The service holes in the mesh were so small that the guy had to roll the forms into a tube to pass them through, just one more ridiculous affair. I hadnt waited too long in the other queue either before an anonymous soul prompted me to go back to the first one, though unmarked it was allegedly a dedicated foreigners ie. non-Indians counter, with just one Japanese guy ahead of me. In the end, there was remarkably little bullshit considering the potential for it. I handed over my straightforward form, passport, photcopies and 3 photos, together with the small matter of Rupees totalling a whopping 40 quid. That was a bit steep for the standard 15 day allocation, I had requested a month but knew better than to dispute it, it was about all I had time for anyway. Walking back, priority number 2 for the day was now to bag a guidebook. Now that I was going to Bangladesh, I had to establish just exactly how and where. I had already made an early perusal of the local bookshops where the one 2nd hand copy of the required title was going for a pushy 800 Rupees, I had resolved to shop around. It was a blessing then when literally the first shop I tried this time round proferred another copy asking only 600, and readily accepted my offer of 5. That was a result indeed! The perfect formula was complete when I grabbed a rarely available chance to do laundry, and I polished off the day with another stab at my diary, these words right here! Back at the Paragon I arrived to find that another ingredient had been added to the mix, a hoard of French kids had materialised to compliment the Japs and Hippies, and poor little me stuck in the middle.

8th March

My job for today was very simple, head back to the Bangladeshis and fingers crossed pick up my visa, a task I achieved after a while of a wait but relatively painlessly. I was eventually ushered in the door by a midget man who was perhaps a candidate for the smallest human being I have ever seen in my life, though everything was in proportion he could not have been more than a metre tall and befittingly wore thick rimmed glasses like Joe 90. Picking up the phone, it was clearly a job for him to lift the receiver and the mouthpiece was too far away from his mouth, bizarre. The lone Jap guy I had queued with the day previous was there too, as was a strange female creature who turned out to be an American. Her deportment left me puzzled as to whether she was either Amish (unlikely), a particularly alternative new age freak or perhaps even a nun. She had had to shell out 5000 Rupees for the visa since the Americans were not in favour at the moment she explained. So whats new?! 15 days of Bangladesh in the bag, I celebrated the occasion in a quality Barista coffee shop and then checked out the buses to Dhaka. I could either leave immediately or wait 4 days, that was not so good.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in India

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