I'd like to take a moment to welcome the love of my life to the wonderful world of blogging. His blog is called Resonant Silence, and he just started it last night. This is the best possible name he could have chosen for his blog--it matches his personal vibe even better than he thinks. I don't mean to imply that he's highly secretive or that he's one of those guys who only says two words a year. It's just that he always thinks before he speaks, and this means that what he has to say is always worth hearing. He's a good writer, too, so I think blogland has a lot to be happy about, now that he's joined us. So go stop by and say hi!
Taz's first post is about red tape. He doesn't go into too much detail, but I have to say that getting organized for this trip to India has been a veritable (red) sea of paperwork and bureaucracy. A partial list of some of the things one or both of us has had do in order to prepare for this trip:
-Negotiate and schedule vacation time (this involved us changing the dates on our respective bosses at least three times. Each.)
-Buy plane tickets (which couldn't happen until we knew when we could travel)
-Schedule medical appointment for travel vaccinations (for me, but not covered on my insurance. At least I saved myself $500 by deciding that I'm not really going to be at great risk of contracting Japanese Encephalitis)
-Decide how much, if any, travel insurance to buy
-Apply for tourist visa (this one was only for me, but I discovered that before I could do so, I had to renew my passport--and pay double to "expedite" the process)
-Renew old passports (we both ended up having to do this)
-Go to the Indian consulate in person (again, we both had to do this. In my case, it wasn't too traumatic, except for waiting outside in the cold for an hour before they opened the doors, and getting crapped on by a pigeon)
-Get US visa validated (only Taz for this one, but boy is it a nightmare).*
Eventually, once this all works out, we will be able to breathe again, and have time for things like packing and buying hostess presents. Meanwhile, I've been doing a lot of knitting to calm my nerves (pictures soon, I promise), and reading the Lonely Planet Guide to India. I am sooooo looking forward to seeing Taz's mom again and meeting everyone else (including his lovely niece) in person and seeing new places and things and just generally having a great time. Fingers crossed that all goes relatively smoothly from here on out.
*He is supposed to have it done in India, but the nearest US consulate there is booked solid for this type of appointment until the Spring. So now he has to figure out if he is permitted do it somewhere else, but it's just so much more delightfully complicated than that. Even if they did have open appointments, in order to get one he'd need to have a family member in India go to a specific bank, make a payment, and get a receipt. Then he would have to use the receipt number as his reference number in making the appointment. Of course, if he had known back in, say, July, the exact dates he'd be in India, he might have been able to get an appointment. But if we had known our travel dates that far back, we would have paid about half as much for our plane tickets, too, so it's not like the delay was on purpose. Oh yeah, and if this doesn't get sorted out, he can't travel when we planned, since without a validated visa, they won't let him back in the country when we try to come home. I have faith that it will all work out, but it sure has been frustrating.