It’s been a busy couple of days. As I enter my last full week in Beijing it has occurred to me that I have approximately six years’ worth of detritus that needs to be packed/shipped/stored/chucked/flogged. That’s quite a pile of stuff. After the various purges of the wardrobe, there are hundreds of books, photos, knick-knacks, kitchen bits & pieces – all of which need attention.
To add a dash of pressure, I’ve decided to bring my start date forward… to tomorrow. Cue packing frenzy and stressful afternoon.
Not at all helped, of course, by news from my Iranian travel agent that it’s highly likely that I will be rejected for my Iranian visa. I must admit, i was starting to wonder how long it might take, given that I applied around 3 weeks ago.
Well, after a flying start in the way of preparations, things seem to have hit a sticky patch. I am now subject to the various whims of Central Asian and Middle Eastern consulate bureaucracy, which I had tried my hardest to avoid.
I did my homework, dammit, I worked out where all the embassies were located, when they were open, how much things cost, how long they’d take to do. I came armed with officious-looking headed letters with red chops and everything, several hundred passport photos in various poses (smiling, non-smiling, blue back ground, white background, straight-on, off-to-one-side eyebrow-slightly raised etc.) and wads of red 100 RMB notes.
I smiled. I oozed charm. I befriended the dudes on crowd control. I even made friends with others in the (interminable) queues.
But now, it appears, the Uzbeks have run off with my passport and the Iranians are still in two minds whether to let me in altogether. Could it be that they are not fans of the rhubarb, my friends??