India Visa Mission.
Today we had to travel to Colombo to get our Visas for India. We needed the bus that goes up the coast road and is a 3 hour bus ride from Galle. So we had our Tuk Tuk pick us up at 0900 even though we didn’t get out until 0915 as every morning our breakfast is slooowww. Got to the bus stop Galle approx. 0945 and we found ourselves a ‘luxury’ bus to Colombo. Got on and were off at 1000. The luxury bus means it is smaller than the usual school bus and has AC, that is it. It still stops wherever people flag it down within 100meters of the bus stop.
Actually I don’t even know if that is true, people seemed to get on and off randomly. The bus got so full that it was standing room only and more people were still able to pile on. It was quite funny for a luxury bus.
Arrived Colombo and the traffic was shocking getting into the place. The driver became very crazy when he reached the city, it was horn and get out of my way all the way to our stop at Unity Plaza. As usual Summer had researched this trip to death and we knew when to get off and what streets to take to get to the visa office.
Arrived 1300 and made our way to the Visa centre. Placed the forms in and was immediately declined, ‘application incorrect‘, the guy says and didn’t even read them, ‘must go over the road to re-do‘. The sections that were incorrect was the address which we put as our home address as that is how it reads. The staff at the visa place insisted this must be address in Sri Lanka, entry into India which we put as Trivandrum as that is where we are flying into. This should be ‘all ports‘.
Our passport photos were also the wrong size, seemed really dodge, but what were we to do, we had just spent 3 hours on the bus and then finally he tells us visa applications close at 1400. Summer started to hit the roof, as we walked over to the travel agent across the road, she spent hours typing all of them up and got them printed out at our homestay, she even cut up the passport photos that we have in stock for visa applications. We went to a cafe/travel agent and they redid all the paperwork for us for a fee of 300 rupee each.
Summer then went over with 2 of the completed passports and got the ball rolling at the visa app place just after 1400. Lucky for us they still had a couple more customers and we were able to get a ticket. I returned with the other 2 visa apps approx. 1420. When we went upstairs to lodge the visa the staff were less than impressed but had to submit as we had been issued a ticket. All got lodged and we were out of there 1445. We are to return a week later to put the passports in and then pick up completed passports the following day, so another adventures awaits us.
We then walked back to the bus stop but we needed lunch so grabbed some rolls from a bakery. They were really nice with sweet butter rolls for the girls with a Sri Lankan twist, while Summer and I got some veggied curry rolls, with soft drinks this cost us 310 rupee, under $3 Aust. Walked over to the bus stop and boarded a standard public bus for the return leg. It was busy when we got on so we had to sit separately. We were soon crammed in and it was standing room only with plenty of sweat being shared amongst passengers. It was so hot until we got out of Colombo and on the coast road. It was fun on the bus with the Sri Lankan pop music blaring out of the speakers as we flew out of Colombo.
Little Spring started to get travel sick and needed a plastic bag. The ticket guy and a man behind Summer supplied one for Spring to spew in. She then slept in and out for 2 hours of the ride while Summer held onto her spew bag. Got into Galle approx. 1845 45 minute later than we expected. Our Tuk Tuk guy was there waiting for us and he took us back to Hot Rock for some dinner. A pretty good experience on the local bus for us all.