I am not very good at waiting, especially when the consequences of long delays are big and expensive. I’m of course talking about my visa for India. I phoned the embassy this morning, attempting to find when my visa would be available and all he could say was that it wasn’t ready yet and that I should expect it sometime next week, which is of course my last week here. I’m sure that it will all be ok but it’s frustrating. Maybe its my inner control freak having problems with a large, bureaucratic organisation being in charge of my life.
Apart from that my plans are all going as scheduled. All the books and items that I ordered from Amazon to be mailed to my folks house in the Uk have arrived and are there waiting for me. My “To Do” list is getting ticked off by the day and my leaving is starting to seem more like a reality every day.
The prospect of leaving my man at home for a few months is seeming all the more real as well, and I’m not liking it much. I’m hoping the excitement and anticipation will overshadow that feeling as it gets nearer to my departure.
I have started the process of obtaining a 6 month tourist visa for India in Dublin. On Tuesday I got up early and headed off to the Indian Embassy in the south of the city, via the post office to get a postal order to pay for the visa. The procedure was relatively painless, a couple of forms to fill in. There were no queues and only a handful of other people doing the same thing. I think there where only two other westerners applying for visas today. A woman from possibly Holland who had to go and get another postal order for the money for the express service (an extra 50 Euro) and a British guy who is also going to Delhi around the same time as me.
This was the first time I have been ever asked for references when applying for a visa, I put my boss from work and my boyfriend and the woman at the counter said that that would be fine (although I told her my boyfriend was my flatmate). I very much doubt that they will follow the references up though, especially as I gave only postal addresses and no phone numbers. The whole procedure of applying for the visa was quick though, I got to the embassy around 10 am and had left by 10.30 am. All I have to do now is wait 7 to 10 days for an email saying I should go and collect my passport.
Now I am just a bit worried that the two and a half weeks that I have allowed for the visa application won’t be enough, even though the embassy website states to allow two weeks, and the woman in the office said it should take no more than 7 to 10 days. I guess I am not very good at waiting. As they visas for India are now valid from the date of Issue rather than the date of entry it makes sense to apply for them as late as possible but it makes it all the more stressful.
Only nine more shifts to work (13.5 hour shifts though), twenty two days or three weeks until I get on a plane to leave Ireland. It hasn’t been a particularly interesting week though, but I guess I will have interesting coming out of my ears soon enough.
The only noteworthy thing to happen this week is that I have opened a new current account which shouldn’t cost me the earth to use from outside Ireland. Its with the Halifax and as far as I can tell apart from being overdrawn, which I’m not and the expected charges for getting money overseas its free.
Yesterday my man and I went to the Irish Museum of Modern Art which is about a 10 minute walk from home and had a look at some of the exhibitions and had some lunch. The museum is in the grounds of what once was the Royal Hospital so the buildings and courtyard are in themselves interesting. Some of the art was far too abstract and really not my taste but I particularly enjoyed the sculptures by James McKenna. He was an Irish sculptor who died a few years ago and most of his sculptures are of people including some self portraits.
Today we went for a walk by the sea. We where both pretty desperate to get out of the city and get some fresh air so my man and I got on a train to Killiney which is a little way south of Dublin and walked along the beach and then meandering through paths and roads to the next station along and got the train home. Living in the city can get a bit oppressive sometimes so it is essential for both myself and my man to see some countryside every so often. I guess I am a country girl at heart. There where loads of dogs around today, I guess the weather wasn’t good enough for most people to go for a walk without a good reason, and taking a dog out is always a good reason. We got adopted for a while by a Golden Retriever who I think was just using us as an excuse to take a break from fetching balls. The owner did say that she was a particularly lazy dog, I was thinking it was all because the dog was old but no, she was only 2 years old, just fat and lazy.
It seems so far but so near. I’m part really excited and part sad. I’m not really sure what I should be feeling though.
I have told my work when I will be leaving and have all my shifts for the next 4 weeks booked and in my diary. I have been making all sorts of little preparations like ordering the latest Lonely Planet from Amazon to be delivered to my folks address and writing packing lists and to do lists endlessly.
I’m trying to do some sort of planning by reading up on the country, even though I have been there before. I got pretty much every book out of the library that wasn’t a guidebook from 15 years ago or a huge coffee table book full of pictures. That was only 3 books mind. One a collection of short stories about Calcutta (The Weekenders – Adventures in Calcutta), and the others are a book about a woman cycling around the places associated with the Ramayana (Two Wheels in the Dust by Anne Mustoe) and one about a hippy travelling on an elephant aptly called Travels on my Elephant (by Mark Shand) . I am reading the all pretty much at the same time. I have been taking the weekenders to work however, and recently that is where most of my reading gets done (on my breaks).
I have even gone as far as buying a moleskine notebook to take with me. I had a squared moleskine notebook (around A5 size) which I wrote into and scrapbooked on my last trip. This notebook survived the rigours of living in my bag for 11 months remarkably well, totally unlike the notebooks I used on my Australia and previous India trips. This one is virtually the same as the last, just lined instead of squared.
I have also given into temptation and paid the $25 for a pro Flikr account. Well I reasoned that I could backup all my photos with it and show them to everybody into the bargain. Also being able to access all my photographs from anywhere in the world is very appealing for someone who doesn’t know where she will end up.
The build up to a big trip is always extreme in its emotional impact. For me this only seems to start after the ticket has been bought and I am therefore committed to the date and destination and can only change it with difficulty (not that I ever have). I am feeling both extremely excited and exhilarated and contrastingly a bit sad that I cannot take my man with me to experience this with me but he would not like India.
This will be my 4th big trip. The first was Australia back in 1996 to 1997, the second India and Nepal in 2000, the third 2005 to 2006 round South East Asia and then this fourth trip that will be to India and then who knows. This will be the first time that I will be returning to somewhere I have been before but I don’t think that that will be much of an issue.
I have been doing some research on the web, well looking through the boards of India Mike and the Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forums. On the whole India Mike is by far the most informative and interesting reading, maybe because it has got quite a few expats who regularly post to it as well as the resident Indians and travellers. It has also been interesting to checkout the photos on Flikr.
I have been trying to figure out the best way to show the photographs from my trip to my friends and family. Last trip I sent out bulk emails to everybody but I don’t think I will do it that way. I have been toying with the idea of using this blog as a means of reaching all my friends.
I have been having fun the past few days going through all of my old photos from my last big trip and putting them on Flikr and then onto this blog. It seems that I will have more than enough storage for the photos that I want to post by using Flikr to store them and this blog to link to them. I think I have just about finished uploading the photos for now so the next photos uploaded should be from Delhi.