Thursday, October 14, 2010

Traveling Oct and Nov

Here it comes - for much of the next two months I will be traveling - first to Iowa to see my daughter and her family and then to Madison Wisconsin to meet with fellow South Asian librarians and attend the South Asia Conference -- and then on to India, leaving the 20th October to go up to my Woodstock School again, and join Robert Bonham's Exotic Tour group staying at an ashram, seeing many of the north India famous monuments, and going to a tiger reserve, arriving back home in Charlottesville the evening of the 21st November, so I can get back to work on Monday the 22nd Nov.

I hope I can keep a fairly up-to-date blog with photos along the way. We'll see.

Already its been an unusual adventure.  I went ahead in July to buy my airplane round-trip ticket to Delhi and back, and bought into Robert's tour group - thinking, since I had just been to India last Oct/Nov my visa and passport would be fine.  Nope.  The 6-month visa expired in March.  And though the passport is valid until 2016, I needed to get a new visa.  Big problem, with new visa rules in August, in making a visa application one had to have a birth certificate now as part of the application.  Searching around for my birth certificate, I could find it anywhere.  So, I needed to get a duplicate from the US embassy or state department.  They suggested I log into the Nagpur (where I was born), search their database, and request a birth certificate.  Well, I was born way back in 1941, before Independence (1947) - the database turned up nothing.

Oh, no!  Now there was the possibility I could not get a visa, and I'd loose out all the money I'd spent for the airplane ticket and joining the tour.  Finally found some place within the State Department (Vital Statistics section in room 510) where I needed to apply - so, I bought two priority mail envelopes, fill out all the application information, plus sent photocopies of all required documents, so it would get there fast and be returned fast.  But sent it off on Thursday, a few days before Memorial Day Monday, so knew they wouldn't get it until probably Wed.  Then I waited and waited - some people said it took 4 to 6 months to get this duplicate birth certificate.  I finally found a phone number and email address for the Vital Statistics room - and called them at the end of Sept. on a Tuesday - and found out they had just then sent it back to me. It was a beautiful Birth Certificate with Hillary's signature on it.

It arrived Thursday (it was a beautiful Birth Certificate with Hillary's signature on it), and I filled in the India visa application, but it kept rejecting my request for a tourist visa.  I finally sent it in with my passport and copy of my new birth certificate, on Monday - it required, since I was born in India, I guess, that I apply for an entry visa. And lo and behold, here it came back to me with the visa in it the following Monday.

An unusual adventure, before the up-coming traveling adventure.

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