Guess what? Only 2 more months before the Mongol Rally begins!! Also… I haven’t applied for any tourist visas!! Nope. Not one. Does that scare me? Oh, just a wee bit…
My original plan (OMG I have been using those 3 words a lot lately) was to ‘move’ to Bangkok for the sole purpose of applying for tourist visas. After all, almost all of the embassies are here (except Turkmenistan). Easy peasy. Until I tried to apply for my Mongolian visa a week early, and then I was sick with a nasty cold and felt like death. So, goodbye last week, hello this week, oh wait, I still do not have a single visa for the Mongol Rally. Fail.
It’s 5:45am Thursday May 17, 2012. I haven’t slept yet. I tried, a few times. I blame being in bed for 4 days. I’d go to sleep now, but I really think I should make an honest effort to get at least one visa this week. So, I’m going to hop (not literally) onto the BTS (skytrain) and make an honest effort to be at the Mongolian Embassy for around 9am. The good news is that I filled out the paperwork last week when I went, so all I have to do is hand it over, then go to their bank branch and pay the fee. I’ll ask for a rush job, and have it tomorrow afternoon. Score!
Do you see a slight problem? Need a hint? I’m applying for the last visa first. It’s odd, yes, but it’s easy. I’m doing this because it’s cheap in Bangkok and the embassy is very laid back. Plus, I can then say I have a visa, and pray that I will feel slightly better about my laziness.
I must admit, some of the tourist visas scare me, especially the ones that require a letter of invitation. Part of me wonders if it matters where I book a hotel. Like, if I book a hotel in Novosibirsk, Russia, but enter Russia from a very distant border, will they care? Will they find out and deny me the pleasure of exiting their country so I can enter into Mongolia? It sounds extreme, I know, but what if they do?! I’m not travelling on my own agenda. I’m in a car rally, with teammates, and deadlines. During the Mongol Rally my schedule is somewhat specific in terms of border crossings, so being denied entry or exit would be a bad thing. It would be a potentially funny story, afterward, but at the time it would suck, like a lot!
I also worry about Azerbaijan. A fellow travel blogger, Katie Aune, tipped me off on a travel agent in Tbilisi, Georgia who can process our visas in 24 hours. It’s exciting, and unnerving. What if she doesn’t pull through? What if we’re stuck in Georgia for a week? Oh well, we’ll deal with it. It just means we’ll be driving a few 18hr days to make up for it. Plus, it could be a funny story, afterward, but not so much when it’s actually happening.
This seems to be my Mongol Rally mantra, ‘It could be a funny story, afterward, but not so much when it’s actually happening‘. Believe it or not, I have used that line as part of my sponsor pitches when they ask about breakdowns, or bribes. I usually say it with an excited, and nervous laugh. Then make it sound awesome. It’s like they’re asking me ‘What if you’re maimed by the Mafia?!” with panic stricken faces, and I reply with “OMG can you imagine?! That would be awkward, but damn, it could be a funny story afterward!’, then I laugh like a girl who is high and pray they think I’m high on adventure, and not cocaine! (For the record, I’ve never tried the Blow, never will, just like the reference)
‘M’ is for Mongol Rally, Manic, magical, mesmerizing, methodical, Mafia, madness, mechanics, Mongolia, meltdowns… I think you get the picture. Right? If not, send me an email and I’ll try to figure out my exact point between now and then. LOL
Tourist visas. You’re a beast, but I shall conquer you, and hopefully before you’ve swallowed me whole and tried to digest me! (Sorry, I haven’t slept yet)