The fact that I got out of bed this morning just goes to show how dedicated to the cause I am. Atheer didn’t get up until well after noon. First up, I needed my passport back.
After a quick (but surprising) fingerprint-taking session, the Iranian Embassy gave me my little burgundy booklet of travel, furnished with a brand new visa. I had Iran in the bag. Now I just have to get there before World War III kicks off.
I had got in touch with Jamel, a couchsurfer in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to ask if he could write me a new letter of invitation. No probs he said, but it would take him a couple of hours to get it proofed and everything. The Azerbaijan Embassy closed at 1pm and was way way way on the other side of town. I HAD to make it. At 11am I was on the internet at the backpackers a little more than worried. By 12 noon I was beginning to panic, but at 12.15pm the letter had come through. I emailed it over to Mehmet on the front desk and he printed it out for me. I grabbed it HOT OFF THE PRESS and began to RUN!!
I headed FULL PELT to the Sultanahmet Tram station, took it all the way to the end of the line where I changed for the Taksim Funicular, arriving at 12:41. I thundered through the station and jumped on the Metro service to Levent in the very north of the city. The train pulled in at 12:55.
You should possibly understand at this point how hungover and sleep-deprived I was. Madness, utter madness.
And, even though the bloomin’ escalator was out of service, I managed to bound up the mofo all the way into the clear crisp spring day that was awaiting my return to the surface, sweating beer and chagrin. 12:57. I pegged it up the road towards the Embassy like a man possessed, arriving at 12:59.
They let me in.
Panting, exhausted and ready to faint, I got into the little portacabin office on the right of the mansion house and presented my documents – bank statements, letter of employment, letter of invitation…
This is no good.
What? Sorry, I mean WHAT?!!?!
It must come from the government.
I was told it didn’t have to, I just needed a letter. From someone in Azerbaijan. Written in Azeri. Well, here it is.
Nope. No good.
He saw that I looked like I was about to burst into tears.
Why don’t you try the embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia?
Thanks for nothin’ Azerbaijan! And to think… you used to be my favourite word.
After yesterday’s gallivanting around the travel agencies of fair Istanbul, I knew that the buses for Georgia left at 6pm. There was nothing else for me here. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had been brutally murdered by Stormtroopers and they had totally trashed my T-16. How could I be expected to bullseye womp-rats now?
Atheer was up for one final crazy night out, but The Odyssey comes first. Georgia here I come.