Had a hell of a time at the Consulate trying to pick up a visa for longer than thirty days. I had my ducks about as lined up as I could, but it was going to come down to whether the consular official wanted to help me or not.
She didn't. Most useless human being I've encountered in a while. "So, by the rules, I'm sure I'm eligible for this visa..." - "I'm sorry, you're not." - "My friend got this same one, under these exact same circumstances, in Mongolia." - "Maybe you should go to Mongolia." - "The point is that it's the same rules there and here." - "You're an American. I'm sorry." - "Umm, right, yes, I'm American. So is my friend. I read all the rules that are available online, and I believe I'm eligible for this visa. I have the forms and money. Can you please just take the forms, the money, and put it into processing?" - "I can't do that. Next person, please." - "Excuse me, ma'am..." - "I can't help you. Next person."
That's just a snippet of the whole exchange. Man oh man, I've met some very friendly and useful and helpful consular officials and immigration officials, but I've also never seen a position with such uncalled-for amounts of arrogance. She wouldn't refer me to anyone else, wouldn't give me a copy of the rules that she's referring to (online, the website says I'm eligible) and was just a patronizing and nasty person. And I was pretty polite and friendly up until about 90% of the way through the conversation.
I run through all my options, and anything that's going to make a scene or escalate things is more likely to do harm to me than to get what I want.
I leave the Consulate, the security guard is very friendly and cool on the way out as I pick up the bag I left downstairs (thanks, that helped), and I sit down with some food and coffee.
And, huh, I realize it was only 65 minutes -
[8:30AM: Awake: 4 hours sleep]
9:05AM: (15 general-life, 10 maintenance, 10 walking)
9:30AM: (15 maintenance, 10 general-life)
10:25AM: (20 walking, 45 visa-applying)
10:45AM: (20 maintenance)
11:15AM: (20 visa-applying, 10 walking)
45 minutes of filling out forms, 20 minutes of working while I waited (no problem, had emails to reply to), and then 20 minutes of dealing with nonsense.
It felt like a long time and I was pretty steamed by the whole process. But it was only an hour. Okay, I just had an hour of my life not work out right at the Consulate. That's... not a big deal. I piss away an hour of my time accidentally with some regularity.
Maybe I'll go back with copies of the rules and even more thorough paperwork and letters of invitation and whatever - I've already got the forms filled out. Maybe I'll get it sorted out in Hong Kong. Don't know, need to think that through. But realizing - as much of an unpleasant start to the day as that was, it was only an hour lost. That's the tangible cost.
Well, I feel a lot better. Perspective. Context. That feels better. Transcend.
I do still hope she crashes her bicycle later, though.
I do still hope she crashes her bicycle later, though.
Brilliant. Man we have all had those days. Keep going though. You know that. It just means you have some exciting stuff around the corner.
Haha, I wonder what her time perception of the same event was like. I definitely know lots of people working under a bureaucracy who describe the "what a long day!" feeling after a particularly hectic day at work. It's nice to get a peek into that life every now and then, but never to live it.
I seriously don't understand these kinds of people, and I've met quite a few (come to Russia, you'll see :-). I'm always trying to be polite, and what can you tell him/her if she just ignores you and calls the next person. I've seen people take a stand and make a scandal, sometimes it worked, sometimes they just get escorted out (depending on what establishment it is).
The only thing to do is go to another official, or come back another day and hope they don't recognize you :-)
What a fascinating trip. I just did this route -
Beijing -> Erlianhaote -> Zamyn Uud -> Ulan Bator
Why do I choose such circuitous, crazy routes? Well, lots of reasons.
I want to understand as much as I can about the world, and taking out of the way routes - especially through important border towns - teaches a lot.
Often, you can manage a route like this in a way that's much less expensive than direct flights. Yes, time is money, but money is also money.
[I wrote this post on Google+ on Xmas Eve last year, and I decided to put it here as well.]
I've been struggling with a disability since 1993, almost 20 years now. The disability is invisible to those who don't know me.
I've had a herniated / collapsed disc in my lower back which bulges out against the sciatic nerve. When I'm walking, the pressure of gravity on the spine causes the disc to bulge out even further, causing pain in the lower back.
The longer I walk, the worse it gets. If I'm walking for more than 5 minutes, my legs go numb. As soon as I sit down or even rest and put my weight on something, it eases the pain and I get feeling coming back into my legs. Only for the numbness to return again when I continue walking.
It's something I've been able to cope with and manage. I get regular chiropractor sessions to put my skeletal structure back into place (the spinal weakness causes my muscles to compensate, which seems to pull my skeletal structure out of alignment on an ongoing basis). I also get regular massages, although I haven't done for a few months because my girlfriend does a lot of that these days, and gets my body feeling all relaxed. (From massage! Get your mind out of the gutter...)