Ride Overland With Kanchan & Nick

  • Ethiopia: It’s time to get out of Africa!January 27, 2013 04:57:55

  • Kenya Part 2: Return to the land of Kalasinghas and what next?January 10, 2013 03:20:39

  • Uganda: A lush, green paradise!December 26, 2012 02:45:22

August 15, 2011

Knee-Deep in Bureaucracy

Since I don’t know much about bike mechanics, one of my jobs is to research the entry requirements for each country (visas)-yay.  Being a US citizen definitely has its perks, most countries you don’t need to have a visa for if you’re staying in the country for a certain number of days (usually 30-90days).  It’s funny, the smaller countries are like those biker guys with the tricked out bike and an exhaust  that reaches well over the legal decibel limit, so when he drives by you, you are deafened by the sound and in turn you look around… “what the hell is that?”…he accomplished his goal, he just wanted to let you know that he’s there. You know he’s just trying to make up for some ‘insecurity’.  Countries try to make up for theirs by wanting inane information and asking for forms filled out in duplicate, 4 pictures, a pay stub, an itinerary, a letter from your employer, letter of invitation, letter of intent…it just goes on and on.

So far we’re starting in India and would like to head east, Myanmar has proven to be one that’s stumped us and it seems no one has taken a bike across.  So we’ll just have to deal with that issue in India.  China is also one of those elusive countries for bikes.  You can’t take your own bike in without Chinese plates etc.  We decided to test our luck a bit at the consulate and try to get some customs info, and thoroughly pissed off one of the ladies there (she didn’t get it).  The funny things about  these consulates are the security guards though.  They know everything!  Each employee’s  personality, temperament, who to go to for this and that.  At the Chinese consulate the guard was so helpful and after we failed with one lady, he directed us towards a man at window #3.  This man was patient and ready to hear us out, no real answer yet.

Another thing about those security guards is that they talk so much smack about the country and the people of the consulate in which they are sitting (usually right near the drop off/pick up window).  This one guard at the Vietnamese consulate was just flat out “Man, these guys have no concept of time man! If I were you I’d get my shit  together, I’d get my shit  together.  They ain’t  gonna listen, they crazy!”  First of all I thought the Vietnamese consulate in Houston would be big! It was tiny!  And the security guard was like right up on the drop off window.  He proved to be quite annoying as we were trying to obtain a one year multiple entry visa (it said we could apply for it on the form, why were they denying us now?)  Try holding a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak English well through bulletproof glass and someone else shouting in your ear ‘They ain’t gonna do it, they crazy, they don’t care!’  Nick almost lost it on the security guard, we figured we’ll just get a 3 month visa in India.  Our work is piling up for Delhi.

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