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November 14, 2008

A little excursion in search of a visa ....

Last week I took my passport to the Embassy of Kazakhstan to apply for a visa - their consular section which deals with this is open between 0900 and 1200 on four days of the week only. Second, the don't offer a "same day service" even for those of us who have to travel considerable distances just to get it.

Perhaps I should explain that to get to London from my neck of the woods takes a minimum of 2 hours by train - no one in his right mind takes a car into central London if you don't need to! - and to get there between 0900 and 1200 means setting out very early. My train leaves Evesham at 0754 and arrives in London at 0935 and then you have the Underground to contend with. OK, so you would think that, even given the restricted times of opening, it should be a doddle to get the visa, even if it means posting the visa and passport. Er, well, normally - yes.

But apparently not at this particular embassy. An envelop was provided, the requisite fee paid to ensure it was posted "recorded delivery" and, as it would arrive while I was away in Chester, I had even arranged for the postman to deliver it to a neighbour. All to no avail - the passport failed to show up. The Post Office denied all knowledge, the Embassy failed to answer emails or the telephone (Perpetually engaged!) and so, it was off to London this morning to confront the consulate and find the passport even if it meant refusal of a visa and a "diplomatic incident".

Surprise, surprise, a brief search by their staff turned up the passport in the original envelop, with the story that it had been posted, but returned by the Royal Mail as "undeliverable" the following morning. Hmmmm, my Postie is a man who knows the score and he denies ever seeing it. Notably I wasn't given the chance to see the front of the envelop. My money is on its not having been posted at all.

Never mind, I now have the passport and the visa. So its off to Kazakhstan for me next Saturday. Hi Ho, I do get to the strangest and most interesting places sometimes and this will be no exception - as long as Messers Putin, Obama and Bush don't decide to start WW3.

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 14, 2008 08:44 PM

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Wow. It sounds horrible... I dread updating my passport. Though my friend said she went through it with no problem. Got my fingers crossed.

Posted by: vw bug at November 15, 2008 04:05 PM

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