I’m off travelling for 4 months, starting September. Part of my half-arsed preparation involves organising Visas for some of the places I’m visiting. For the most part this has been pretty straightforward, although there was some brief confusion regarding my Cambodia Visa. I emailed their embassy in London with my query and received the following as a response:
Thank you for your enquiry.
It dipend of you you can apple by special deliverry. or you can apple at the border.
That’s almost sorted now - an apple at the border it is - obviously I was aware that fruit and veg was legal tender in most self-respecting countries, but I was all set to pack a shitload of spuds and magic beans, so it’s a good job I asked. Just need to find out who Suordsey is now…
Today I planned on sorting out my Vietnam Visa. Vicky called the Embassy here in Austria yesterday but ended up looking confused and handing the phone to me - she wasn’t even sure which language the guy was speaking. I managed to identify it as English, but still wasn’t sure exactly what he was saying. He never mentioned apples once though, so I figured my safest bet was to pop into the Embassy in person and figure this shit out.
After purchasing a bag of Granny Smiths en route, just in case, I found the place with relative ease - a grand mansion-esque place in the heart of a pretty affluent residential area of Vienna. The front door was ajar and a welcome mat greeted me as I cautiously walked in. The place was ominously quiet, and a touch spooky because of that. If you’ve ever played the original Resident Evil game, you’ll know how it felt - the interior was a bit like that house. There was no reception to be seen, nor were there people, undead or otherwise. The entrance hall was a high ceilinged, wooden floored affair, with a few vast doors leading off, and a grand, red carpeted staircase leading up. I figured I’d explore a bit before announcing my entrance - didn’t want to attract any zombies or mutant dogs since I had yet to find a weapon. The atmosphere was so surreal - each room was furnished immaculately - various decorative tapestries adorned the walls, and there were long, wooden tables laid out with fine china tea sets. But still no people, and nothing that resembled any kind of office. I decided to venture upstairs.
As I ascended I began to hear people chattering in what I assume must have been Vietnamese. As I reached the landing, the voices stopped, and I noticed various shoes and sandals scattered at the doorways to a couple more decidedly non-official looking rooms. I briefly contemplated removing my own flip-flops - partly to observe this particular custom, but also because it’s loads easier to run barefoot. I decided otherwise though - if I wasn’t about to be attacked, I might look pretty odd clutching my footwear and tensed ready to leg it. I popped my head around one of the doorways and found myself looking at a kitchen/dining room, where two people were sat with their backs to me, eating in silence. As far as I could tell, one was an old lady and the other was a guy dressed in smart shirt and trousers. But they were both probably ghosts so I backed up and prepared to flee. It was then that the ‘man’ stood and turned to me, and since he had a human face and was fully opaque I figured he might be the guy I needed to see.
He explained in broken English how the Visa department was closed but that if I left through the door I came in and went around the back of the house there’d be a table with the forms I needed. I could fill them in there and he’d call someone to come and “deal with me”. Fuck that - I’m getting what I need and leaving. I’ll return with the filled forms and a sidekick, thanks very much. I realised at this point that I’d unwittingly been gradually backing myself down the stairs to safety as we were talking, so I turned and covered the short distance to the door, pausing once to turn back to thank the man, only to see he’d vanished into thin air. Or back upstairs I guess.
Around the corner where he’d directed me to I found another room, again completely accessible yet almost empty. The sole furnishings were a table, with the application forms on and a single stool by a locked door. I contemplated picking up the stool and lobbing it at the door, but then remembered this was real life so I just took my forms and scarpered.
I’ll return in a couple of days so watch this space…