Thursday, July 05, 2007


It's only a week until I fly to India and I went to get a visa on Tuesday. The Indian consulate in London is almost as fun as the one I've applied at before in Hong Kong, where the queue goes out the front door and into the lift lobby.

From what I've heard, Indian consulates all over the world are the same. They function as a kind of disclaimer, warning of the chaos that will ensue when you enter the country.

On the advice of several blogs (thanks Google), I arrived at the consulate half an hour before the opening time. The queue snaked and I only caught a bit of it below. Still, I only waited an hour before getting served.

Checking out the other people in the queue was quite entertaining. There were a lot of young people about to head off on gap years and I couldn't believe how many of them were there with parents.

Let go! If they're going to overseas alone they need to be able to handle the consulate by themselves!

A couple of gap year girls were wearing particularly skimpy clothing and attracted a lot of attention. People were obviously wondering if they were going to modify their attire while on holiday.

I was on best behaviour when I handed in my documents because the lady in front of me had got yelled at for attaching photos in the wrong place. I felt so sorry for her. She was making applications for her whole family and had arranged everything particularly neatly.

I got away unscathed. While I waited for the visa to be processed, I went for a walk across Waterloo Bridge and along the South Bank.

I stopped for a minute, trying to figure out how someone got the t-shirt on this Anthony Gormley sculpture (arms first and then the head).

And went back to pick up my passport and new visa. Yay!


Iqbal Khaldun said...

Yes that is a very good question. I wonder if Urban Nomad can use his spacial intelligence skills to work it out.

I lined up there with my dad last winter, it really is like a preparation for what India will be like. Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, we had to leave early because we worked out my dad wasn't around long enough to collect his passport. But yes something to behold those long zig zag lines outside India House.

Knuffy's Owner said...

OMG! I thought that statue was a real person! It freaked me out!

You really have to wonder about these teenie boppers going on their first big overseas trip alone. When I advertised our spare room for rent I got an email from a man in France asking about the room for his 19 year old daughter, and even asked how he should pay the rent, as he would be paying the rent for her!

You really have to wonder how someone like that is going to survive on their own on the other side of the world.

Joe said...

Mus - yes the queue was very impressive. It's quite an organised system, though, once you figure out what is going on!

KO, that's real crazy! It's hard to know whether it's the parent or the child that is the problem there.

I'll see them in Delhi next week - huge backpacks on, lonely planet guides out, confused expressions
and very vulnerable!

j a s o n said...

I wonder how you have to look to fit-in in India though...Indian to begin with I guess helps, or is it good being a dreadlocked Hippie?

If not a trusty Lonely Planet and confused look on - then how? Plus being 18-25 probably wont help.

I just have to keep asking people for directions and information...otherwise you tend to miss twice daily buses and ferries...

I give up trying to look a local - I mean look at me, I would only kinda fit in in Asia, and even then...the way you walk the way you move, the huge lens on camera you use...

we are all easy targets. Even in London, we soon learn to recognise who is a local and who is a bewildered tourist...

i am just embracing it.

Oh and I reallz miss my back pack!!! A duffel bag is not the same!

Joe said...

hehe... it's less about trying to look local and more about trying not to look ripe for the picking.

A determined look on your face and decent walking speed can prevent a lot of hassle.

Speaking of your backpack - when we helped DSD move house I had to tuck in a flap at the front to hide the Australian flag :)