Monday, July 11, 2005

We Had a Bad Day

What have we done in Paris?

Hmmmm. Today we went to the Indian Embassy. That was a disaster of bureaucratic proportions. That visit was followed by a rushed trip to the heavily armed US Embassy. After talking to men with guns we ended up at the US Consulate.

Waiting on the pavement, I listened to the crazy man in line before us, "I'm American I know this is an American place there are flags here I have no money so if you would just give me some food there'e boxes and boxes of food inside the building if I could have two or three everyday and I'll come on the weekend did you know that we are being invaded everywhere by foreign armies but we are strong look at the flags just a couple of boxes of food would be great see my passport..."

Chris may get his papers processed before our 11 days in Paris are finished but for me it may be impossible. Having plane tickets in and out of the country is irrelevant. Proof of funds, irrelevant. There are diplomatic games going on. The US offices have been slow doing paperwork for Indian citizens we were told that what goes around comes around. If I get a letter from the US government saying I'm an ok human being, maybe things can be expedited.

Anyway, now Chris is feeling my India pain. He might have thought I was exaggerating about how things go so ridiculously wrong for no apparent reason. But then, after almost five hours of waiting on a sidewalk, in a hallway, and in a tiny waiting room, the clerk who called him up to look at his application said, "No, impossible. You cannot get a visa in France. Go to Switzerland and file. NEXT." Chris, not pleased at all, told me he had been refused. I was at the clerk at the next window and shoved Chris's papers at him. "Oh yes, I can send off his papers to Switzerland and get his visa. No problem. But you cannot get a visa."

Maybe neither of us is going to India. Blah. We won't know for sure until we have made four more Embassy visits.

And Paris? We could see the tip of the Eiffel Tower from the Metro stop.


Anonymous Natasha said...

Ohh! Reminds me of a story my dad told me of when the US government was shut down due to budget (remember that?). At the embassy in Moscow the workers explained that they could not do any work on visas because the government was shut down. The Russians didn't understand so finally the embassy workers explained that the government had no money so they couldn't work. The Russians in line said they understood and pooled a bunch of money to pay the embassy workers, saying "we'll pay you and you can give us our visas, right?"

Jennifer, I wish my dad were still alive- he'd know someone to help you. When I was in Paris he knew a few people at the embassy to contact. It will come through eventually. Have a nutella gilatto and relax at the Seine. You are in Paris after all!

July 12, 2005 12:18 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

if it doesn't seem likely to work out, stop making yourself miserable and just ENJOY PARIS. You've never been there before after all and it's my very favorite city. Give the city a chance... Stop thinking India in Paris!

Get a nutella crepe with banana at Odeon and walk to the Luxembourg Gardens and people watch. Look for Catherine Deneuve in Place St. Sulpice, get mint tea and go to the hamman at la Mosquee. Roam le marais!

July 17, 2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger shokufeh said...

Have they imprisoned you while you wait for your paperwork to be processed?

July 29, 2005 4:07 PM  
Blogger Jennifer P. said...

The 20+ hours we spent at the Indian Embassy in Paris certainly felt like a term in prison... I didn't have the energy to write to a while. Feeling better now!

July 30, 2005 9:12 AM  

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