No ID? No Problem! From Kathmandu to Kolkata, finally

< There are some who have waited patiently for me to finish so they can start reading. For them, I say, tsk tsk, but here it is, the final installment of the series that started with Part 1 and then went from Part 2 to Part 3. It continued with Part 4 and ground on with Part 5. We then careened into Part 6 which saw some racing heartbeats, cooled by Part 7. >
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/95581815 The last day of my life dawned dull and grey. Someone had reached up and turned down the sun, or at least hung their shirt over it. The light was distinctly grey and thick cloud cover covered the sky. I sat in the coach heading for the airport, wild thoughts rushing through my head. There was a part of my brain developing a story, a part that had little men running around screaming at the top of their voice and another was repeating a mantra I had learned during my experimentation with (more…)

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 7

ilker's everest base camp trek , himalayas , nepal
ilker’s everest base camp trek , himalayas , nepal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
<Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6>
So there you have it folks!I was safe and sound, on the ground, repeating over and over “Thank god for terra firma, the more firmer, the less terror”.
What? You have no idea what I’m talking about, you say? Well, why not read Parts 1 – 6 first? I have very generously provided links at the top of this page. Go ahead and read them, I’ll wait.
Done?
So there you have it folks! I was safe and sound, on the ground, repeating over and over “Thank god for terra firma, the more firmer, the less terror”. Soon, however, I had to get myself off the nice soft bed and head out into the city to explore it’s streets, it’s sights, it’s sounds, it’s ups and downs for they weren’t a second nature to me now, like breathing out and breathing in. (more…)

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No ID? No Problem? – Part 6

It was indeed a DH6 Twin Otter coming in to land, the first of the two. The chaos meter in the check-in area went up past 11. An enterprising and resourceful type ran out behind the terminal building. There was the sound of breaking glass, a brief moment of silence, then he appeared through the office door clutching papers in his hands. Thirty seconds later boarding passes were being issued at break neck speed for both the flights simultaneously.

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 5

Tribhuvan International Airport The internatio...
Tribhuvan International Airport The international airport of Kathmandu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sunday morning came bright early and at 8:59 am I was at Everest Travels. <Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 here to get that background>
Less than 5 minutes later I was sitting in the private office of the manager.
“S… Tobacco picked it up. Your ticket is with them.”, he was apologetic. “But I can call my contact at home and find out who has it now”.
He made the call and turned to me.
“He’s coming right over now. Please wait here”.
Twenty minutes later a faintly annoyed man bustled into the room.
“Where were you? I sent the driver to the airport but you were not there. He has the ticket and your hotel reservation with him”.
His tone was accusatory and he brushed aside my attempt to explain that I had waited 90 minutes for someone to show up and there was only one flight in the morning from Calcutta so what the hell was he talking about. (more…)

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 4

<The story so far: Our hero, tempted by the prospects of bagging bushels of bullion, has bribed and begged his way into Nepal. He stands now inside the arrivals terminal at Tribhuvan International Airport with wuthering wit and seething senses. Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3 : Read those first.>

The city of Kathmandu at dusk on the night of ...
The city of Kathmandu at dusk on the night of Laxmi Puja in Tihar 2067. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was a bright clear morning in the fall. The leaves were turning, somewhere in the world. I wasn’t too concerned with them. I was calm. As calm as a person can be who has just landed in a strange city for the first time, has no means of support, knowing no one. Somewhere in the city there lived a person who had my hotel reservation. Somewhere in the city lay a warm soft bed. Somewhere in the city someone had my airline ticket in his pocket. (more…)

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 3

<Read Part I and Part 2>
As I walked across the tarmac to the terminal building, I clutched my briefcase a little tighter. Visions of Nepali jails flashed before my eyes in a strange collection of images from various Hollywood movies. All too soon,  I was facing a customs officer.

Briefcase Full of Blues
Briefcase Full of Blues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pleading no knowledge of the specific clauses of the Indo-Nepal treaty was like pleading before a deaf adder. He was adamant that he was going to deport me back to India on the first flight and he didn’t care if it went to Delhi or Calcutta. My whining went up a few notches and then 30 seconds later he snapped. (more…)

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 2

 

Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I left you hanging in Part 1, I was approaching the departure gate at Calcutta airport. I was headed out on the flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. I had no passport or any other form of photo id. In short nothing to prove I was who I said I was.
The gate was manned by this khaki-clad security guy carrying a rifle. I approached him, though sidled up to him would have described it better.
“How much”, I asked, “will it take to board that plane without a passport?”
“Do you have a ration card?”, he asked.
“Uh, no”.
“Then you can’t go” (more…)

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No ID? No Problem! – Part 1

So there we were, barely successful business owners. Tea had given us a hefty start up push <read about it here>, Dettol and Cherry Blossom had given us wings, so when the cigarette company called we were reasonably assured we knew what the hell we were doing. Within a couple of years, a successful relationship with Mr B, IT Manager at the cigarette factory down by the docks had developed into one of mutual respect.

English: Wool for sale, Kathmandu, Nepal
English: Wool for sale, Kathmandu, Nepal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mr B called one day to ask if I could come down and see him. He had potentially more work for us. The smell of more work had me down in his office less than an hour later. He was smoking again, apologetically, and he had a visitor with him. (more…)

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Punjabi in Paris – Groundwork and Gruntwork

<This is Part Three of the Punjabi in Paris series. Read the first two, too! Part 1 and Part 2 may be found, you guessed it right, congratulations!, by clicking on the words Part 1 and Part 2. Not these ones, the ones earlier in the sentence, the ones that are in blue, the cursor becomes a hand when you place your mouse over them..> As the Boeing took to the skies above Toronto, I was struck…

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