Thursday, March 19, 2009

Iran & Syria

I wrote in January that we were organizing a trip to Iran and Syria. We're down to the final part of the process - visas.

Syria isn't particularly difficult, unless your passport shows you've been to Israel, in which case it's VERY difficult. I have a relatively new passport. No Israeli stamps.

For Americans to visit Iran we must have a local Iranian tour operator put together the trip and apply for a Visa Authorization Number. We made the application in early January, and for more than two months there was no sign we'd be approved.

Then just the other day we were authorized. That meant we could now send our passports and applications to Washington, which we did FedEx overnight, and actually get the visas. The only problem is that time is short. Norouz, the Persian New Year, begins tomorrow, so the Iranians (who are located in the Pakistani Embassy) won't be working. Nor will they work Monday. Our departure date is a week from Tuesday, the 31st.

I'm told by TDS, a visa facilitating company we're using, that we have enough time. We'll see. I don't trust foreign bureaucrats to move quickly. Check that. I don't trust any bureaucrat, foreign or domestic, to move quickly.

In the meantime there is nothing to do but make our final preparations and wait for the process to unfold. TDS knows they have to expedite things. They sound like they know what they're doing. And like I say, we'll see.

Telling people about this latest jaunt of ours elicits two reactions. First, "What?" Followed by, "Why?" Let's just say we like to visit places that are off the beaten track. For Americans at least, Iran and Syria qualify.

To be continued . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home