Friday, January 8, 2010


Syrupsun had been going smoothly, a little too smoothly, and we got sloppy. We landed in Mumbai without a plan but, more importantly, without visas. We soon found ourselves in a small room with a few immigration officials who questioned us and began paperwork. We naively thought that there was some alternative, that we could get a visa on arrival. Some of the staff we talked to seemed willing to help, but when Clay looked over the form said "Refusal to Land." Despite pleas for help, we were soon on a plane back to where we'd come from, a place we hadn't wanted to go to in the first place: Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Before boarding, Kuwait Airlines handed us tickets to go all the way back to Amman where we'd left the previous morning. We refused to go that far or pay for those tickets. Luckily, we got our bags off the plane before they flew there. In Kuwait, we immediately went to the Indian Embassy and explained that we'd been deported and needed a visa asap. We were shuffled back and forth all day between the consulate and the passport office. At one point, we heard that we could get the visa the next day if we got a certain man's signature, at another point we were told that it would be a minimum of 10 days. After hours of no official answer on how long we'd have to wait, our top priority switched from getting into India to getting out of Kuwait.

We left the embassy with our passports and decided that if we had to wait, we'd do it somewhere beautiful, and cheap. Thailand. We found tickets online and surprisingly Thai Airways had a Kuwait office open until 8:00 pm every night. All day long regular people at the embassy had been helping us even as they dealt with their own problems. This continued as people in the internet cafe lent us cell phones, people on the street helped us with directions, and in the end, one guy walked us all the way to the airline office. We were amazed and grateful at the kindness of the people in Kuwait who made the ordeal bearable.

We flew to Thailand the following day. The Indian Embassy in Bangkok guaranteed our visas in five business days. It suddenly seemed so simple. After dropping off the passports we got on the first bus to the beach.

No comments: