Visas

Getting the visas was the most difficult part of the preparations, because each embassy has bureaucracy and it also has its own requests. Immediately when I get the visa for India I leave Romania.

At the border, the last call I receive is from the Iran embassy. If they would have called me 10 minutes later probably I wouldn’t had answered at an unknown number due to roaming reasons. The officer tells me that there is a small problem about my visa, they need more information and I have to pass by the embassy.

“- Now I am basically in Bulgaria. If there is a small problem let’s solve it by phone.
– It’s fine, you may pass by the embassy of Iran in Sofia as well.
– I’m sorry, I am going straight to Turkey and can’t stop in Bulgaria.
– Ok, it is possible to go to the embassy from Istanbul. But if you don’t pass by an embassy you won’t be allowed to enter in Iran.”

Further on, the Iran embassy cancels my visa for good… in 5 minutes! They simply mark a big X on the passport and write something (in parsi I think), without any other comments. Probably – canceled. They only said “this is the request from the embassy of Bucharest” and send me back to Romania for more information… to the same guys who were telling me “small problem- no problem”!?

The shock doesn’t appear as it should… somehow, a part of me was expecting this after the phone call…

I am losing myself on the Istanbul streets and my mind looks for solutions… it is holiday and at a mosque they share sheep meet with rice and “ayran” (a drink based on yogurt). Delicious!! The Turkish cooks the meet seep wonderful! And life goes on

I already have something planned for Turkey. The participants are very opened and friendly, interested of inter-cultural learning. I am performing a workshop about understanding the communication barriers and the cultural limitations. The time we spend adds value, we start friendships and design future projects.

I turn back to Bucharest and, with the pain in my boots, I ring at the gate of the Iran Embassy. Here, my “friends” serve me bullshit: “military operations are on your way, near the Eastern board with Pakistan”. But I have friends who were coming from Pakistan on the same way and they had no problems at all.

And the Iran Embassy rejects my request for a new visa, even for a transit one.

On these circumstances, the route Bulgaria-Turkey-Georgia-Russia-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India remains the only way, on land, to go for Nepal. This implies a lot of time, an increased risk, lots of visas and small chances of success. From Romania – zero chances!

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