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Posts tagged ‘Travel’

365 Day 9 Excited

Awesome.

It’s time to get out of town with a buddy and a backpack and walk the Lycian Way. It’s been five years since we trekked this part of the world and I reaslise that in that time, while I have continued to travel, no experience has yet left me with the happiness I felt when I last actually got off the beaten path. It’s going to be so wonderful to leave the world behind, get close to nature, and indulge my ever-increasing misanthropic personality.

The Lycian Way, or the section which we travelled across five years ago, is stunningly beautiful. It’s also mostly devoid of people, buildings, administration, traffic, areas that stink of urine, trash, banks, and other necessary evils in my Istanbul existence. Instead, we will be surrounded by gorgeousness. Olive groves, tall pines, jagged cliffs, goats, grass, and essentially, almost no creature with the power of speech.

Yesterday I purchased a backpack. Today it’s time to get back to the guide book for a few more bits of information. And tomorrow I’ll be jumping about with excitement.

 

 

Why I love my passport

The mark of a worthy passport is not having to collect the stamps in the first place.

Today I’m sitting in bed and chuckling to myself though the clock warns me it’s 5:30am, a time I assume has meaning in other people’s lives, but not mine.

Late yesterday morning a colleague at work informed me I needed to organise air tickets for two staff. They were required to travel to neighbouring Bahrain, just an hours’ flight away from Dubai International Airport. Rejoicing at the joy of e-ticketing that has come with the Internet, I was swiftly able to locate and reserve two seats for DXB-BAH, leaving at 7:15am the following morning and returning late in the evening on the same day.

Be thankful for a passport that give affords you unhindered travel

Still, it was never going to be as simple as that. You see, if all Consulates and Embassies warn us in an unreadable, minuscule font that the granting of a visa does not guarantee entry into the territory which the diplomatic office represents, those of us with passports from rich and powerful nations never consider, or rarely, that we may actually be denied entry.

This trait doesn’t belong to many citizens from less powerful or little-liked nations, or from countries deemed hostile to the dominant world order. One of my staff travels with an Indian passport, and he was already undoubtedly used to encountering the misplaced bureaucracy that comes with border crossings.

When I called the Bahrain Embassy in Abu Dhabi to learn the process for him to obtain a visa, I received a response that was unsure and hesitant. A e-visa could be issued within the next two weeks. Useless for a 7:15am flight the following morning. Could he obtain a visa on arrival at the airport? No, out of the question. Unless. If I could persuade the company in Bahrain where my colleague had an appointment to issue a formal, signed and stamped Letter of Invitation, it might just work. I started to feel constipated.

Five hours later I managed a smile

Though the last rays of the sun were already sinking past the gleaming spires of Dubai when I received the second attempt at a Letter of Invitation with accurate itinerary dates, passport numbers and correctly spelled names, I jumped a little excitedly that I’d managed to pull it off. He would be able to attend the training session in Bahrain.

but an hour ago, at 4:30, my colleague woke me from contented slumber. In the background I could hear the familiar noises of the airport departure hall, that continuous voice over system announcing a thousand flights to ten thousand bleary-eyed travellers taking the red-eye specials, dressed in suit and without any check-in luggage. ‘No need to tell me… you’re not going?’ Even before customs had the opportunity to scan and manhandle and glare condescendingly at him, the check-in counter steward had refused to issue a boarding pass. Why? Well, to some people and governments out there, your job title is an important thing.

I don’t what your job title is but have a good idea what I’d like to call you

Since with word ‘manager’ was nowhere to be seen on my colleague’s UAE residency permit, the check-in clerk believed he would be refused a visa on arrival in Bahrain. Does it really matter? Yes, to some people it clearly does.

I asked to speak with the airline staff member and knew that I wouldn’t be rolling back into my bed within the next half hour. Thanking another gift of technology, I took my mobile phone into the kitchen and prepared a fresh pot of coffee. I was already agitated so I thought I’d just help myself along a little more.

Somehow, and certainly not due to my bedside manners and endless charm, my colleague got to Bahrain. The day went well. Yet again, I am grateful for my passport. And must remember more often not to take it for granted. I am visiting Bahrain in less than a fortnight and won’t even have to think about obtaining a visa beforehand. Or should I? Nah, that kind of thing never happens to me.