Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bubble Wrap and Vomit

Went back to the Angolan embassy in Lusaka today.  This time there was no run around, they just gave me a pass and sent me back to the waiting room.  The Embassy is being remodeled so there is pounding of hammers and dust.  A SA foreman was standing in the shade wearing short shorts and tall socks pulle dup over his calves.  He was smoking and yelling at his crew constantly.  His crew seemed to ignore his yells much like much like you might try to ignore someone talking loudly during a movie or play.  The waiting room had brand new chairs, still covered in their bublewrap, I found six people waiting there ahead of me.  For some reason the whole room smelled like vomit.  I sat down next to a young Zambian woman who told me she had been waiting for an hour and had seen no one, no one had even greeted her.  I notice her visior badge siad visitor #22, mine said visitor # 21.  Not too encouraging that this process would be orderly.   I thought about complaining immediately to the front desk but before I made a decision another women went out to complain.  She came back with a look that said ' I'm not sure that did any good'  but  not five minutes later we heard noise behind the mirrored glass and a little tiny window, about waist high  opened up.  20 minutes later I was bending down to look in the window and talk to teh officer myself, so far no one haead of me had gotten a visa.  My conversation with the two officials went something like this: 

" Hello I'd like an application for a visa please"
"Youc an only apply on Monday"
" No, I was told I could get an emergency visa today"
" Do you have a letter of invitation?"
" I don't know anyone in Angola, I'm just going for tourism, how could I get an invitation letter?"
"You have to know someone to go to Angola, what is your country of citizenship?"
" I'm from America"
"then you must get a visa from teh Angolan embassy in America, you can't get a visa from here"
"but I've been travelling for 5 months, how can I go back to America now, this is an angolan emabassy, I should be able to get a visa from here"
"No, you can't"
So you're telling me that it's impossible for me to go to Angola from here?"
"Just wait"
Wait for what?
"I'm going to talk to someone, wait"

She walked behind a partition and I sat down.  Both officers had been very polite, even borderline friendly, but at teh some time, not very helpful.  So I waited.  I talk to a gentelman next to me who had started a business in Angola ( I never really understood what type, his accent wa very thick)  This was his 5th trip to the Embassy to get a visa.  He'd been to Angola before, had a business there, had all his paper work but for some reason this time he couldn't get a Visa.  We talked about teh US ecoonomy, GM decaring bankrupcy, Obama's speech in Cairo.  When he left I went back to the window:

"Hello, I'm still waiting"
"Please wait, the Ms. is coming"

A few minutes later the officer returned and and asked for my passport.  And begain to look at teh 11 Visas I've had stamped in it since January.

"When you came from America you went where?" 
You went to Ethiopia?"
"You started in Ethiopia?"
"No, Egypt"
" But you said Cairo"
" yes, Cairo is in Egypt"
"Oh yes, Cairo is in Egypt, from there?

I gave her a run down of my travels and she picked up the phone.  After relaying all this information to whoever was on the other end she said: " fill this form, you need a passort photo.   COme back next week for your visa.  I was stunned.  "really?"  "yes, no problem".  I filled the form, they copied my passport and I left.  Will I get a Visa next week?  I'll let you know. 


Human Wrecking Ball said...

...and after reading your last two frustrating posts, why am I still jealous? Adventure of any kind, even trying to get a visa, is better than the 9-5. Come home and fix my bathroom!

Anonymous said...

so you got it or what?