When I’m done with all this, I plan to turn The Odyssey Expedition into a board game. The ‘Chance’ and ‘Community Chest’ cards are going to renamed ‘Shipping’ and ‘Visas’. I can plan for all other eventuality, but when it comes to shipping and visas, I keep getting dealt wild cards. Take today for instance, instead of just turning up at 2pm and picking up my visa, there was a problem: I had no East Timor visa in my passport.
I roll my eyes.
YES THAT’S BECAUSE I’M AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT COME HALFWAY ACROSS THE WORLD FROM MY OWN FREE AND FAIR COUNTRY TO SEEK ASYLUM IN YOUR COUNTRY WHICH HAS NO FREE HEALTH CARE, NO WELFARE STATE AND THE FRAKKIN’ DEATH PENALTY. WOOP WOOP WOOP!!
Or I could – could – have two passports. Maybe.
Oh. We need both passports.
I didn’t read this in the small print – I thought as long as I used a black pen, wrote a nice letter and had a red background (sounds like I used to be in the communist party) things would be PEACHY.
But no. For one ugly moment I thought I’d have to spend the entire weekend here while they sorted this out, but after making me wait a mere hour, they told me to come back at 4pm. I did as commanded and LO AND BEHOLD! I was given the visa that you get immediately most land borders (for half the price!) without all this monkeying about. But they had, rather bizarrely, stapled my two passports together, so now I was the only Englishman with a bumper 96 page passport. Kinda defeats the object of having two passports in the first place, but ho-hum.
Now free to flee this burg, Dan’s girlfriend Rita booked me on the bus back to Kupang in the morning. I grabbed the two Americans who were sharing my dorm at the backpackers and we headed off into the night. It was one of East Timor’s Independence Days (I think they have three) on Sunday and things were gearing up for a big party, but, sadly, tonight there was nothing much going on.
Something that I’ve found all over Asia is that these guys aren’t big on staying up late. It’s like we hit 9pm and everyone goes home (presumably to make more Asians). In a way, it’s the polar opposite of Latin America (where it needs to be 2am before anyone even thinks about leaving the house to go out on the lash). So places like Dili, Jakarta and, yes, even Bangkok sort of fizzle out before I’m quite wherever I want to be (usually in a gutter looking up at the stars).
But as I had to be up early in the morning, an early night might be a good thing. So anyways the two yanks, Eric and Greg, and I headed over to Castaway to shoot some pool at the free pool table. I ended up teamed with the tallest Dutchman in the world and we won one and lost one. He was pretty plastered. At some time that was a little too sensible for me, the Americans headed back to the backpackers. I stayed out playing pool with the locals before being invited out to another bar that was open dead late. I remember there was an American guy from Hawaii who did actually think Obama may be a cactus and I’m fairly sure I met a least one lesbian and possibly a pirate. Although he may not have been a pirate. Maybe he was a greengrocer.