Saturday, December 17, 2005

Disaster! (Short term one)

As you all know, this sabbatical and extended leave has been in the planning for a long time now. Last minute packing aside (which for the benefit of the doubting Thomas’s out there went swimmingly) everything seemed to be on course for an inauspicious start.. Little was I aware that fate was about to play its hand.

Ever the dutiful son, brother and husband, I had carefully arranged and booked my family’s tickets and visas a long time ago. I had thought that everything was taken care of when a classic lesson of Not Taking Things For Granted was taught to old Mr.C (yes, I will turn 30 by the time I’m back). What I had of course forgotten to do was to check that I had a visa! Not a normal oversight you understand. Having been to Bangladesh about 5 times in the last 10 years, what I had forgotten was that I renewed my passport since the last visit so would also have to renew the visa. Duh!

In normal circumstances this is not such a big deal. You get to the other side and cough up $50 and Bob’s your uncle. However I had the misfortune, for the second time this week, to be on the wrong end of Small Man Syndrome. Nothing pleases uniformed petty officialdom than a minor clerical infraction. Not withstanding fear of liable, lets for arguments sake call him Prittesh Bhatt.

Now, I admit that I should have had a visa, but despite airlines having a process for making passengers indemnify them against the cost of the consequences of transporting passengers without valid documentation, this short man refused to let me on. I was fully prepared to burn plastic and sign anything that would cover the £2k that they would have been fined had I been arrested, incarcerated and sent back from Dhaka in shame in an orange jump suit, but no, this jumped up so and so smiled profusely and said he could do no more. He did however suggest that if I had an old passport with a similar visa, he could let me on, knowing fully well that there was no time to get this to him.

So we switch to sympathy. Surely any man would wilt at the thought of a ‘groom’ missing out on a ‘wedding’ function that loads of relatives around the world would be coming to – many on his own airline. Suffice it to say, it did not work and I had to be resigned to letting a now tearful Mrs C go on her own. (please comment on her blog to cheer her up)

Plan B was to get my old passport (with required visa) to Heathrow (I was at Gatwick), satisfy the staff there that I was kosher (so to speak), sign the indemnity and get a stand-by ticket. All of this actually did happen as the Heathrow staff were much more helpful, and I was left ‘hoping’ to benefit from some unknown passengers’ misfortune so I could be allocated their ticket. But they don’t call it the busy season for nothing – and there were no spare seats to be had.

The silver lining in this tale of woe, is that at least I managed to feign complete desperation at missing my ‘wedding’ long enough for a nice lady to ‘confirm’ new flights for tomorrow. But I won’t be Taking Things For Granted until I’m sitting on that plane from Gatwick. If I blog again tomorrow, you’ll know things really have gone skew-whiff.

Well I need some sleep – I’m cream crackered. Until the next time when Inshallah I will tell you of my adventures in the twighlight zone of Bangladeshi immigration. I shall have readies at the ready!

Any way, everything happens for a reason – you just don’t always know why.


Blogger mad as a cambridge bicycle said...

Wow, that's OLD!

5:10 pm  
Blogger mad as a cambridge bicycle said...

Only joking. My sympathies are very much with you both - I know how awful and draining an experience it can be. Poor Mr & Mrs C...

5:12 pm  
Blogger Pink said...

o that's terrible! they should also let u pay the $50 here if u don't have visa... mrs C has txtd informing me of her plans to spend ur emergency fund as reminder for future reference!! there goes ur paper anniversary gift :)
nothing like drama & chaos to force ppl to blog...

7:34 pm  
Blogger fudgebumpkin said...

That's hilarious. Although I do feel for poor Mrs C in her lonely state. I can just imagine a solitary tear streaming down her glistening cheek, as she realises the folly of marrying men almost in their dotard!

11:05 am  
Anonymous Ide said...

Well, whilst shackled to the desk at work dreaming of others flying off to the mystical east. One can only think - Why didn't you call we could have helped. Fingers crossed - hope all goes well 2morrow !!!

8:39 pm  
Blogger dazey said...

my my wat a fiasco. o n btw, my poor bro was sitting around trying to figure out wat on earth u were saying half the time ('wat language is he using?!'). but khayr iA im guessing ur in bd now:). happy wedding (again)!!

o n yeh thats OLD.


4:37 pm  
Blogger Sleepyhead said...

Oi! Enough with the old greybeard comments!! We ain't none of us growing any younger...
well I'm mean to say- I'm nearly 20!

"I'm cream crackered" A delightful expression. lol- did you create it yourself?

11:19 pm  
Anonymous dazey said...

'cream crackered'-think that was the best of the entire old fogey blog! tho yes we r none of us getting any younger, having left the utopian (yeh rite) realms of teenager..erm..hood for the twenties. bura hoi gelam!

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Beano said...

A true school boy error.

A valuable experience which no doubt will contribute to your repertoire of life skills. You shall no longer plan and organise early, sitting smuggly content that everything is sorted. A new dawn has arrived, you'll now be tempted to leave it all to the last minute safe in the knowledge that if something does go wrong you'll have some company in the departure lounge!

1:44 pm  
Blogger flea fly flo flap BANG! said...

poor Mr and Mrs C. dont worry Mr C i dont think ur old. and as a talented musician hu i cant remember once sang- 'age aint nothin but a number'. im very sorry to hear mrs c cried. bless her. hope u got to bangladesh in the end. and i too like the 'i'm cream crackered' phrase

2:57 pm  
Blogger Mr. C said...

Hey - the point about the post was not to comment on my age but to ponder on the vicissitudes of life! I may have grey hair but not over the hill yet!

1:20 pm  
Anonymous Nas said...

cream crackered = cockney slang for knackered

8:46 pm  
Anonymous Hola fellow blogger said...

Hola fellow blogger was just blogging and saw your blog and thought it was nice so I should drop in and say Hola fellow blogger. Anyways I would be interested in exchanging links if you are up for it.

3:12 am  

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