I had one of those ‘other sort’ of days today. It was not a fun day but it should have been.
My day started at 4 am as I had to be at the bus by 5.15. I skipped up the road with a smile on my face, I was happy. I was heading for Bangkok to complete the last step of the Visa process to go to Russia. It’s a complicated process and made a little more so as I am an Australian applying from Thailand to go to Russia. My employer had called the Russian Embassy in Bangkok on Tuesday to get an idea of costs and times. She was told that I could apply for an express service that would have the Visa processed in three days if I paid an extra $110 (US). She wanted me to use that service and they would of course pay for it. So I was skipping along imagining that this time next week I would be heading for Russia. I hopped on the bus at 5.30 and I was standing outside the Embassy at 8 am having had time for a bacon and egg breakfast and a large coffee.
The Embassy doesn’t open until 9, but I was determined to be the first in the queue, and I was. B001 was my allocated number, it was going to be a good day! I handed over my paperwork, all triple checked and ready for processing. The lady behind the counter took it and I asked for the Express/Urgent Visa service, and she asked me to wait. After a very short time my name was called by a young man. I went over with a big smile, I was a happy lass. He said, ‘we have no Express/Urgent service at this time.’ I was slightly taken aback but I just shrugged and said OK. There wasn’t a lot I could do, and the web site said the average processing time was usually 10 days. So I had to wait another week extra, not too big a deal really. I was still smiling at this point, then he dropped the bomb shell, ‘it will be ready on the 5th of December!’ I was stunned, three weeks, what? I have a letter of Invitation and a Work Permit, what’s the problem. Ok I said, thanked him, smiled and walked out.
In despair, I called my new boss and told her what had happened. She told me to wait while she called them. She called me back and said she had spoken to the Manager and that I was to go back and pay and the Visa would be ready on Tuesday. Back I toddled, and took yet another number, B033. I then spoke to the lovely young girl that works at the help desk and explained why I was there. Hang on she said, I talked to your boss, I’ll get someone for you.
The dour young man from earlier came over. He was surprised to see me but I explained I had let my Russian boss know that I would need to change the travel dates because the Visa would not be ready until the 5th. She had then said she wanted to talk to someone in the Embassy and I was told to come back. He was furious. ‘Well she didn’t talk to me, or any of my colleges, so let’s get this straight right now. You will not get your Visa before the 5th of December. IF (and it was emphasised) it is ready on the 5th we will call you,’ and then he stomped off. I felt about two inches tall. I had only done what I was asked to do and I was getting in the poop. I thanked the young lady that had tried to help me, she had looked dreadfully embarrassed through all this, and left.
So, first task not successful. Task number two was in need of tackling. The lovely lady that I am staying with (seems to be a trend to need somewhere to stay while awaiting a Visa) needed something that could only be bought in a hair salon in Bangkok. I was going to pick it up for her while I was there. I was in the process of negotiating a price for a multiple destination trip with the motorbike taxi and the Policeman from the Embassy guard post came over to help. He was trying to help and he grabbed my phone off me to talk to the Thai lady on the other end to get the right directions. He chatted to her for a bit and then went to give me back the phone but he tripped on the uneven path and dropped the phone! Heart in my mouth, I picked it up – sadly the screen had shattered. I was a bit stunned initially, and he was very, very apologetic. I was very calm with him and told him it was OK, I knew he was just trying to help. Inside I was bawling! So, then I had to start negotiations again as I wanted to add the Apple store as well.
Bangkok is a very scary place to drive and to say I had my eyes pretty much closed the whole trip might give you some idea of what it was like. But we made it to task two and then stood in the sun for 25 minutes waiting for the lady from the salon to come and get us because it was too hard to give the taxi man directions! When she did eventually arrive we followed her and it was about 5 minutes (if you walked it) from where we had been standing and it was the first right followed by the first right. How hard is that to explain! Anyway, task two completed and it was the Apple store next. It took less than five minutes to get there and he parked the bike and took me right to the shop. No problem, they could do it for 1,500BTH, but it was going to take about three hours. I wanted the day to be over and I still needed to get the bus back to Chon Buri so I elected to live with the phone as it was and hopped onto the motorbike for the final leg of the trip, back to Victory Monument and the bus home. My timing could not have been better, there was a bus due to depart in five minutes, and I was going to be on it.
I got back to Chon Buri at a little before three and wandered through the Mall on the walk home, its cooler to take that route! I saw the Apple shop there and decided to go in and have the phone fixed there. It was this store that told me that it was Apple Policy to not replace a screen, I would have to but a new phone as mine was out of warranty and not purchased in Thailand. The sales person then produced a $1,089 (Australian) phone and asked me what colour I wanted! When I queried her comment as to it being Apple Policy she just shrugged. I couldn’t resist mentioning that I had been in the Apple store in Bangkok less than two hours ago and they had said they could fix it but time had not permitted. Another shrug. It had been a bad day all round and this blatantly sales oriented, don’t really give a toss about the customer, person was the last straw, I finally spoke my mind …. I told her what I really thought … it wasn’t pretty!
Little Missy was at the door to meet me when I got back to Tracey’s, and vibrating with pleasure at my return. It’s pretty hard to remain grumpy at anything when that is how you are welcomed home. I had time to put my bag down, have a quick look at the emails and then I took a stroll up to meet Tracey on her way home from work. I knew we were having visitors so I wanted to pick up some ‘light refreshment’ for them, and me, and to catch up with Tracey’s day.
I have made some nice friends here in Chon Buri. We had a great night, we talked, we drank, we talked some more. We ate, we laughed, and continued to drink some more, and it was fun. I want to say a big thank you for cheering me up, making me laugh, and ending my day in a very happy way. My ‘other sort’ of day turned into a good day after all ….