The Indian embassy is interesting.
Never been before.
No one warned me about the crazy visa man.
I went to pick up the passport/visa of a friend of mine who will be visiting India soon. The two Khmer security guards were friendly, showed me in– or showed me the door, rather. They pointed straight. “Go that way,” they said, but they didn’t come in. Actually they slammed the door on me. Huh, that was strange, I thought as I meandered down an exterior corridor of a large, fancy house. Strange-looking embassy, if you ask me.
I was beginning to think I got it wrong when I noticed an open window and a counter under it. It said “visa services”, or something to that effect. I approached and saw a man on the other side, sitting facing away from me, staring intently at a computer.
“Excuse me,” I said. The pale, spectacled man turned and glared at me.
I experienced a moment of doubt. Why was I here? “Uh, I need to pick up a passport.”
The man’s frowned deepened. “No, that’s not right.” It wasn’t? Was this a Jedi mind trick?
“Well, I’m picking it up for a friend, actually.” I started fishing for the receipt. He moved to a desk drawer and started pawing through a stack of passports. He seemed to hesitate on one, but the put them away and looked at me sharply. I gave him the receipt. After glancing at it but a moment, he said,
“Can’t you read?” He told me in the Queen’s English (or that’s what they say) with a pronounced Indian accent. “It says the 23rd.”
“It does?” I was amazed. I hadn’t realized the cryptic scribbles were actually writing, let alone in a language I could recognize. I looked it over. “No, actually, I can’t read that.”
“Come back then.” He started to go back to his desk.
“So, it isn’t ready yet…?” I ventured.
“Of course it isn’t ready yet!” The pale man spat, “How can it be ready? It isn’t the twenty-third!” He eyeballed me like I was wearing a big fat dunce cap.
“Uh, hm. Okay. I’ll… be back then. Goodbye.”
“Yes.” He dismissed me.
I was completely steamed when I signed out with the guards. “That guy is really rude!” I exclaimed in Khmer. They seemed to give me a look that said newb. I thanked them and left. I was still pissed until I called a friend, but as I told her what had happened, the crazy visa man sounded to start funnier and funnier.
Still, I wish I didn’t have to go back in two days…