Yesterday morning we returned to the Immigration Office again, this time bright and early about 7:20 am hoping to beat the mad rush…we were sadly disappointed. We walked into an already full waiting room and very long que. With the wickets set to up at 7:30 we got into long at the wicket we had gone to the afternoon before.
Very much like France, this country ques for everything it seems. But unlike France the ques are not necessarily orderly. This one in particular seemed to be insane. We stood, and stood, and stood…..by 8:00 am a couple of wickets had opened but they were not the ones that we needed in order to secure our Visa Exemptions. The crowd was growing and becoming increasingly more restless. This was the Friday before the Independence Day weekend with both Monday and Tuesday being public holidays. Everyone was in a rush to have their visa applications submitted before the long weekend.
Out from behind the wickets and the office area came an official looking gentleman. All staff at the Ministry of Immigration wear uniforms that look that similar to Canada’s naval uniforms of navy pants/skirts and white shirts with epaulets. This gentleman began to enquire who was waiting for what service. He then told us all to remain in the lines in which we were already in. 15 minutes later, out came someone else to reorganize us. This time we were separated up into lines for each actual wicket. 20 minutes later with no one still getting service we were given new instructions on how to que. This meant that there was a mad dash for the front of the line in which I was in….as a short person I am assuming that no one actually saw me…in fact I was pummelled by at least 5 different women and their immense handbags as they pushed and shoved to the wicket. Fortunately there was a lovely kind gentleman in line behind me with whom I had been talking. He graciously moved into a position to protect me from being trampled by the stampede. Thank heavens for gentlemen!
The trampling was not for nothing at least. My Visa Exemption is now in process but unfortunately the couple that came from Canada at the same time as me have not been so lucky. They are living common-law and so there are many more hoops that they must jump through it would seem before their visa exemption application will be completed.