Worst. Trip. Ever.

Posted by Garth on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Do you remember when Adam Sandler was on Saturday Night Live and he used to play the Travel Correspondent during the News bit?  He'd go to Disney World, and his entire report would be about his hotel room because he never left it?  Well, that's me.  Let me explain.

My last visa run was to Singapore, wherein I obtained a 90 day Non-Immigrant B Visa.  I did not yet have my work permit, so I needed to get the B Visa in order to apply for the work permit.  Once I had the work permit I was supposed to be able to extend my B Visa in 90 day increments for the duration of the permit.  However, when it came time to go to the Immigration Office, Sean's lawyers did not have the appropriate documentation, nor did they (apparently) have time to prepare it.  So they told me I needed to leave the country and reapply for another 90 day B Visa.  Though this would cost way more than simply extending my existing visa, I figured what the hell, I'll make a mini vacation out of it.  I decided to go to the Philippines because they speak English and the only other country around here where English is common is Singapore, and I've already been there twice.  So, I booked my flight and decided to stay for 10 days.

The night before I was to leave for the Philippines, I twisted my ankle AGAIN.  That's 3 times now.  I know, I'm retarded.  At any rate, the next day was a mad rush to the plane and I made it to the airport with literally 9 minutes to spare, and still somehow managed to get on my flight.  The lawyers had prepared a ton of documents, and with these in tow I was off.  My first two days in Manila consisted of me laid up in a crappy hotel room barely able to walk to the bathroom to go pee.  After two days of this (and with a week left) I switched to a slightly more expensive, but much nicer hotel.  After one night there (here, as I'm writing this) I gathered all my documents and headed off to the Thai Embassy.

The "official" (not sure what his actual title is - basically the guy that accepts/processes the visa applications) was a total jackass.  There was a guy from Switzerland in queue before me who was trying to get a Tourist Visa, and the "official" told him that he had to do that in his home country.  This is complete and utter bullshit.  Then it was my turn.  I limped up to the counter with all my documents, passport, work permit, photos, etc. and handed them to the guy.  He looked through it and started asking me stupid questions -

"Why didn't you just extend this in Thailand?"
"Because the lawyer wasn't able to prepare the appropriate documentation in time before my stamp expired."

"Why did you come to the Philippines?"
"Because I figured I'd make a mini vacation out of it."

"So you just came here to get a Visa?"
"Well, not exactly, but that was my primary purpose."

Then he proceeded to tell me that I was missing 4 documents.  Now, I'm telling you, I have a STACK of papers that I handed the guy, all in Thai.  There must be 40 pages of shit here, including a copy of my work permit, my passport, and Sean's passport.  WAY more than I had when I got the original B Visa in Singapore.  But that wasn't enough.  And when I explained my situation to him as nicely as I could, he basically said too bad.  Get the documents emailed, print them off and bring them back in.  So, I left and came back to my hotel and proceeded to call Sean, Simon and Chanisa, trying to get ahold of the appropriate documents.  And just now (about 6 hours later) I received a call back from Chanisa saying that she talked to the lawyer and that they can't (won't?) do anything.  So I'm stuck in a hotel in the Philippines with a swollen ankle, barely able to walk, on a trip that cost me over $1000 CAD, for NOTHING!  I have absolutely nothing to show for it.  And I'm stuck here until Tuesday.

So, when anyone asks me how my trip to the Philippines was, I'll let them know just how nice my hotel room was.  Cuz if my ankle doesn't get any better then that's all I'm gonna be seeing.  Good fucking times.


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