After three weeks of paper-pushing, vast numbers of explanatory emails and too many phonecalls to count, my visa to work in Sri Lanka came through today. Yahoo! I am delighted!
The success is mostly thanks to Firasa who works in Land O’ Lakes, Colombo and who navigated through the process so efficiently. All I had to do was show up at the Embassy a few times, and basically just sit there, reminding them we were not going to give up with our quest for a visa.
The visa stamp itself fills a full page of my passport and of all the pages they could have used, they chose the page next to the Garda Siochana stamp, approving my entry to Cork, Ireland on March 27, 2016 ….. a little over six months to the day. Serendipitous me thinks.
There was quite the degree of excitement during the wait at the Embassy today …..
- In the many years the Embassy staff have been working in Kathmandu, they have never had to process an Entry Visa for a foreigner. They have processed many tourist visas for foreigners, but never an Entry Visa. A first for them (which probably explained the slightly bumpy approval process!).
- A guy from Himalaya Airlines was at the Embassy today finalizing the visas for the crew of their inaugural direct flight from Kathmandu to Colombo scheduled to commence on Saturday October 1. The staff were positively thrilled with a direct flight – not only does it mean a reduction in travel time from 17 hours (due to layovers) to 4 hours flying time when they go home for a visit, they were also very excited at the prospect of frequently receiving fresh seafood and tropical fruits & veggies from ‘home’. This service operates three times a week you see.
- As it happens, I am on that very same inaugural flight on October 1! And the guy from Himalaya Airlines told me I was the first member of the public to book the inaugural flight. I suppose there are not many Kathleen Coffeys booking flights in Nepal. But there is something about remembering the name of your first client – some 25 years later, I still remember the name of the first client at J.Rothschild International. I know, very geeky.
But really, how’s that for synchrony?! (Peter Wing’s words).
In my book, being the first member of the public to book the inaugural flight surely makes me Special. Don’t you think?
Perhaps they are planning a champagne reception as a surprise? Maybe I will get free lifetime flights with Himalaya Airlines, as Cormorant Marine does for anyone born on the water taxi from Bowen Island to Horseshoe Bay??
To be on the safe side, I best get the hair as straight as I can in this humidity and the make-up perfect for next Saturday … in readiness for the paparazzi don’t you know.