13 June 2009

Visas part 3 - quick results

Amazingly, after handing all the papers in at the Ethiopian embassy in person, after answering another bout of piercing questions and after waiting for an hour while watching bad daytime soaps (although Scandal! turned out to be strangely moreish), we were actually issued with a complete set of visas! We were stunned, but made with the cool until we left the compound. Then we whopped. And went to the next place, the Tanzanian embassy across the way.

This visa was meant to be next day, too, and as it turned out the process there was extremely streamlined. From the stacks of bundled South African passports in the office and the parked safari trucks outside we surmised that lots of South Africans head of for their holidays to Tanzania during the South African winter.

And true enough, we returned the next day, picked up the passports, and were done. Easy-peasy. Merryl also needed a visa for Rwanda, so we thought we'd try our luck while we were in town. The visa was meant to take 3 days, so we were prepared to leave the passport, but as it turned out we were on a roll. The young ladies in the office not only got us a visa while we waited, but also managed to wangle it for the exact dates we were after (one of the problems with visa applications for a long trip is that many countries issue visas only for a limited length of validity, between 1 and 6 months. If you don't make it to the destination country in time, the visa is forfeit. This means that we can't apply for a visa for Sudan, for example, until we are in Kenya, as it's only valid for a month.)

So suddenly, after a lot of prep and agony, we were done. We are still missing a bunch of visas, but those we are going to have to brave other African capitals for. Fun.

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