Tuesday, November 22, 2005

where's the corruption when you need it?

my visa extension has been rejected! sometime in the last year they apparently changed the rules. back then, no problem. now, i need a 1 year or longer visa to extend it here at the state level. but because mine is only 6 months, i would have to go to delhi and endure the mother of all bureaucracies, with no guarantee of success. no thanks. the policy makes no sense, but no one expects it to, except for the occasional silly foreigner.

to make matters worse i had to hire an agent (actually my company did), who i had to accompany in line at the commissioner's office, only to learn that this sort of extension is never allowed. why couldn't my agent simply have learned this on his own? why did the agent give me a different story earlier? i wonder what this level of uselessness costs.

and before you ask, yes, we tried offering to pay "special fees", but apparently this is something even a bribe can't fix.

so instead i'll fly to sri lanka sometime before dec 8th and get a brand new 6 month multiple entry tourist visa. should be simple enough. right?

speaking of bribes, i was in my girlfriend's car a few nights ago (as passenger) and a cop pulled us over on a trumped up charge. this not being my country, i thought it best to let her do the talking at first, as i contemplated how i should best approach the situation should things degrade and the cop decide to run us in. playing the foreigner card would definitely come in handy here, should i need it. as i ran though different, mostly 'midnight express-ish' scenarios, they argued over whether there was any sort of offense at all. i certainly didn't see one, and if there was then everyone around us was committing the same. but this wasn't helping to resolve anything. so she went in for the helpless teary eyed female bit. she also threw in that she was showing around a tourist (me), and what must he think of this country? this approach was effective, and the "fine" was negotiated down to 100 rupees ($2 and change). of course he neglected to fill out any paperwork. i was excited to finally be part of a police bribe in india. and i was impressed and somewhat frightened by my girlfriend's effective manipulation.