Flushed with my 100% strike rate in the last two days, I approached Day 3 confidently. Three visas in three days. Honestly, how hard could it be?
The Tajik embassy was the last embassy on the list. So again, after breakfast, it was yet another taxi ride with the ever-present Shafiq to the embassy at 10am – well past the opening time of 9am for visa applications according to the embassy website. Ominously though, the website also clearly stated that “Visa processing takes 4 working days”.
It was at the embassy gate where things began to unravel. The security guard seemed to be indicating that nobody was home. Using Shafiq as an impromtu translator, the security guard had apparently said that everybody had left today (Thursday) and would not be back until Monday. This news had the potential to be disastrous financially as every extra day would cost me about $50 at the NCG. Just as I was comtemplating my next move, a Pakistani businessman arrived to apply for a visa and asked ME what was happening. Under the circumstances, I was the person least likely to know what was happening. I explained to him what I THOUGHT was happening and he then very kindly offered to try to clarify the situation. After talking with the security guard, the guard went inside the embassy and returned a short time later with an embassy official who was able to tell us that the visa consul was away today and would be back tomorrow (Friday) to accept visa applications. Crisis averted – partially.
Suitably deflated, all that remained to do now was to return to the NCG where the hitherto honest Shafiq charged me double for the taxi fare. Because I had failed to follow the golden rule of always agreeing on a price before getting in the taxi I was obliged to pay the exhorbitant fare. The only consolation was that Shafiq would no longer be getting any fares from me as I still had to return to the Tajik embassy tomorrow for a second attempt at getting the visa.
So there was to be no hat-trick for me today. In fact, I had been smashed back over the bowler’s head for six!
Tomorrow will hopefully bear better returns.