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Travels with Pavel: 15 February 2005

I wonder how they let me into Cambodia by land. The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh – actually the guard at the counter who wouldn’t even let me in to the main building – said that unless I was resident in Cambodia, I could not get a tourist visa to return to Thailand overland. As an Indian, I could only get a visa on arrival at the airport. I had to fly back to Thailand, as the official at the Indian embassy had told me. Pavel, of course, could walk on his hands or pole vault across for all the Thais cared. So that’s another lot of US dollars that I would have to spend to keep the Indian flag flying high in Taipei instead of in prison in Phnom Penh.

Gandhi and Me in Phnom Penh

Pavel came up with the idea of arriving exactly on the 24th at Bangkok so that I wouldn’t have to pay visa fees and proceed directly to the transit area and fly to Taipei. With my talent for attracting trouble, I’m likely to end getting lost again and with a 2-hour window to boarding my flight to Taipei, I knew I was likely to do everything within my power to cut things as fine as possible. Just the way it’s always been with me.

We are also extremely short of money. If the present situation does not call for a lot of prayers from the believer in the team, I don’t know what does. Are things as bad as they look? Or is it all just perfect?

Watching the Tom Hanks starrer, The Terminal about things that can go wrong with visas and at airports – Pavel had very considerately asked the guesthouse manager to screen it for my exclusive benefit – it was hard to miss the fact that in the end, it was only the Indian (Gupta, in this case) that got socked.

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