Got up at 5am, was at the airport at 6:15, only to be told by Air India that the flight to Delhi has been postponed for 17 (seventeen) hours. What to do? Other passengers were re-booked on a 4:30pm Singapore Airlines flight, but they didn’t book me, because I alledgedly was not booked on this mornings flight! Really! I made enough noise and fuss so that they finally did book me also on that afternoon flight. First hurdle taken!
Oh, and did I have a visa for India? I was asked. No, I didn’t, because I was told by the visa service in Seattle that starting on Nov 27 I don’t need a visa for India anymore, I could get it upon arrival in Delhi. Well then, this presented hurdle number two. So I stored my big luggage at the airport and took a taxi back downtown, where I arrived at the Indian Embassy at 9:30am. For hours they insisted: we can’t give you a visa on the same day! it takes 5 working days! (How long does it take to copy a form and put a stamp on it?) I kept telling them that they are a powerful embassy and can certainly do what they want. This conversation went back and forth for a few hours.
The embassy had closed to the public at 11:30 and after the last few strugglers were done, I was left there sitting by myself, getting more and more nervous. At 2pm they asked for payment – double of what a normal visa costs, and since I didn’t have that much cash in Singapore dollars, I had to run out and find a cash machine. $200!!! Done! – at which time my nerves were stretched to the limit and I had a nervous breakdown and began to cry. They deigned kindly to give me that document at 3pm, 1-1/2 hrs before my flight, when I was sure that I would miss my flight. Their work pace, I might remark, as I observed, was extremely slow. I had the feeling that one hardworking German could do the work of 5 people at that embassy.
They didn’t deign, however, to call me a taxi, so I had to go out into the street and find one. The taxi driver flew to the airport, whenever possible in the dense Singapore traffic. I got my luggage out of storage, checked in, and barely made the plane. In between rushing around I had to call my hotel in Delhi to advise them of my changed arrival time……..I thought during those hours that I would have a heart attack, and if I did, I would certainly know why.
Bliss is: to sit in an airplane to Delhi.