Archive for February, 2009

visa debacle

So I’m still trying to get a visa.  Everyone says I should get the visa for the full stay before I go, which is what I’m trying to do.  Open Society put through the paperwork and had everything sent to the embassy here.

Of course, it’s always the embassies that mess everything up.   I’ve called 4 times to try to find out what I need to bring to get my visa (and to find out if it’s ready).  The usual conversation goes like this:

me: Hi, I’m calling to find out if my visa is ready.

visa office:  What is your name?

me. Patel, Deepali.

visa office: Oh, right.  Mexican?

me: Um. No. American.

visa office: Is this a tourist or business visa?

me:  Student.

visa office: Oh. Let me call you back.

Of course, no one calls me back.

Today, I went to the visa office to pick up my visa, because I was told it was ready.  Well, it’s not.  Or at least, they don’t know if it is. Because apparently, it’s sitting in the safe and only the consular officer has access.

visa office:  Can you come back tomorrow?

me: Sure, what time?

visa office: What time do you want to come by?

me:  Um, when the consular officer is here?

What am I missing?

We decided on 9 am.  But then later I realized I couldn’t go that early, so I called to see if I could go by later.

me: Hi, I can’t come by tomorrow at 9 am. Can I come at 10?

visa office:  Yes.  Wait, is this a tourist visa?

me: Student.

visa office:  Let me call you back.

Sigh.

help me, obi-wan kenobi

Ok, the game is up.  I’m actually going to Tatooine.

I hope I don't have to kill it and sleep inside.

I hope I don’t have to kill it and sleep inside.

the plan

So the current plan is to depart DC on March 9th.  I will then drive to Toledo and sort through my stuff (also, I need to do my taxes. Why don’t we have a flat tax again?) to decide what to take.  Then, supposedly, I will fly out of Detroit, potentially through Salt Lake City and Honolulu, stopping for a few days to visit friends and family and get a little warmth.   Then on through Seoul (for a brief layover) and into Ulaan Baatar.

The annoying thing is that my funding comes from State, so I’m subject to the dreaded Fly America Act.  Luckily, I seem to have picked cities that are all Delta hubs, so I think I’m gold on Delta all the way to Seoul, where I’ll board a Korea Air flight (which is probably codeshare with Delta anyway).  Of course, this depends on cost.

I’m still not sure where I’ll be living, but these are minor details to be worked out.  Perhaps I can spend a few nights at the spa.

In the meantime, I’m getting rid of stuff, so anyone in DC need anything, do let me know!  Also, I’m trying to see all the last few sights that I never got around to in 15 years here, so partners-in-crime welcome!