Part One of Getting a Visa to Myanmar is Complete

Good grief. That was crazy. I’m so glad I went early. I was under the assumption that I’d be waiting INSIDE, not standing outside in this medium-sized courtyard that was pretty much a patch or dirt with a couple canopies, some plastic chairs and a table fan wired to the wall.

When the taxi driver first dropped me off, I was a little confused. I pointed to the building on our side of the street and asked if that was it. He pointed to the other side of the street and told me that was the embassy. All I saw was a group of people sitting outside of an opening in a sheet-metal and cement wall. You know the kind of sheet metal that is used on roofs? Yeah, that stuff. There was a gap in the wall of sheet metal with people sitting on either side, forming  little walkway. Down the street a little was a guard booth, but I didn’t see anyone in it. I asked a lady sitting on the ground if this is where I needed to go to get a visa and the guy next to her told me to go right inside and I’d find the visa line. Yeah, that was exactly how it happened. lol. I walked inside and all the freakin signs were in Burmese! If there had been something in Malaysian I’d have been able to figure it out or maybe Spanish (haha, right?), but Burmese? Please.

The top half of that picture reflects what the signs around that little area looked like. The bottom half just made me giggle. haha. Aside from the crazy signs, when I first walked through the gap in the wall, I was greeted by the scene I described before. There were tons of people just standing around and someone speaking into a mic, but I couldn’t see them. I stood there for a minute and started walking to the left, where most of the people were gathered, but the guy who had told me to go inside chased me down and directed me where to go. I thought it was kinda funny that he was trying to get my attention by making kissing noises. I actually saw a lot of people around there doing that. Anyways, instead of turning to the left, I should have just gone straight. Once I got underneath the canopy, I saw the one and only sign in English.

The sign is not visible when you first walk inside the ‘compound’. I feel weird calling it a compound or even an embassy because there are no guards, no people in uniforms, no type of ‘officialness’ anywhere at all. Even when you get up to the window, it’s a filthy window that is just above waist level (even the Malaysians had to bend over to speak into the window) and the people behind it don’t really speak to you. They just sit there, working on whatever they are doing. The lady played with some stuff for a minute before handing me some papers and then just sat there. I leaned into the little window (seriously, my behind was in the face of the guy sitting behind me because the window was so freakin low) to tell the lady that I already had applications filled out and she just shook the papers at me. I asked  her why I needed to fill the papers out again and the guy next to her said “new” and made an impatient gesture. So, I filled them out……..again. The only thing different about them was the way they looked. It was the EXACT same information. Nothing more, nothing less. *sigh* The guy who was behind me had been ‘stealthily’ looking over my application papers while we were waiting in line and while I was filling out the ‘new’ applications, he finished his processing and said, “Tracy, good luck. Have fun.” and walked away. It was strange.

Well, I guess it shouldn’t be. Black guys try to talk to me here sometimes. There was a Sudanese guy that followed me around a train station and tried to get me to sit with him on the train when I was going to visit Troy one day. He was nice enough to let me use his phone (i didn’t have one yet) to call Troy and let him know I was almost there and theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen, a week later, he called Troy’s phone to talk to me and see if I would meet up with him that night. Really? lol. He was a super nice guy, but apparently lacking in a bit of sense. When a girl mentions about 5,000 times that she is on her way to meet her boyfriend and that she is living with her boyfriend and then borrows your phone to call her boyfriend (he offered when the other person I asked said they didn’t have one), maybe you should take the hint that she is TAKEN. Anyways, he ended up finding me on facebook a few days later and sent me a message saying he was sorry for that. I seriously had a moment of feeling like I was being stalked. Another time, a very large and very built black guy tried to get me to talk to him in the mall, but I pretended like I didn’t hear him and walked away. He and his friend turned around and walked behind me for a little while, laughing and being all weird. That was a bit uncomfortable. I was on my way out of the mall to go to the train station, but I decided to duck into a toy store for a little while and they went away.

Anyways, once I got the new forms filled out, I gave them to the lady and she handed them back to me. She tapped the corner where the photos were supposed to go and I handed her my photos. Well, I tried to. She wouldn’t take them. She kept tapping the corner of the application. I seriously wanted to channel my sister-in-law and tell her to use her words. lol. It was a little frustrating. She finally told me to glue the photos to the application. Who on earth carries glue around with them? There was a green tube on the counter and when I picked it up to look at it, realized it was the glue she wanted me to use. And then I glued Troy’s photo to my application and mine to his. lol. Thankfully I noticed it before she started processing and got it changed. She paperclipped the spare photos to our passports and took my money and told me to come back tomorrow to get the visas. After an hour, I was all done. Yay!

I’m a little nervous about leaving our passports there, but it appears like a whole lot of people do that, so hopefully it will be okay. I’ll leave here about 3:30 tomorrow and get there about 4:00, which is the earliest the lady said I could pick up the visas.

Sometimes I was pretty pleased about was the trip there and back. I got a cab from the train station and it only cost RM16. I thought the lady said RM60 and just about had a heart attack, but was very relieved when she asked me for a 1 and gave me RM85 in change. The guy dropped me off right outside where I needed to be and when I left, there was a taxi waiting right around the corner and when I asked how much it would be to take me to the Little India by KL Sentral, he said RM20. I was pleasantly surprised. Usually taxi driver jack the prices up when someone is going to KL Sentral, but I had to agree with him when he told me it was a reasonable fare. I didn’t even haggle with him. I was happy at having a taxi and happy that he wasn’t trying to overcharge very much. Overall, my journey took about two hours. Hopefully tomorrow’s adventure doesn’t take quite so long.