A fun, LDC type, day.
I am “stuck” in Honiara. My wife and pups have flown to the land of Oz without me.
The Aussie High Comm here decided it was more efficient to allow a private company to run their visa matters. A standard visa costs 1000.00 SBD and takes 3 to 5 business days to get administrated. This is supposed to be much more efficient than the service the Aussie HC offered in past history. Noting that in all my years I never once had a problem or a delay getting an Aussie visa for myself, while also noting that any resident or immigrant or student visa to any country is traditionally a trial of patience and wallet.
So, 3 – 5 business days. My visa should be a “turnaround” application in that I have held many of these and travel to Aus all the time. They know who I am and have all my details on record many times over. I should be a matter simple of paying an annual fee for renewing the visa.
This time it did not work.
My application was delivered to this esteemed business house in Honiara 14 days ago. They receipted the application, made one query that we answered same the day. The application then went to Port Moresby. This was all done two weeks ago.
Last Monday was a public holiday here so on Tuesday we enquired as per the status of the application. We were told that we would get an email when it was confirmed. We noted the Thursday departure date and were told “not to worry”. The “long weekend” was mentioned time and again.
Wednesday was very similar to Tuesday but we are confidently assured that the visa would come in Thursday morning.
By 10 am I was in their office being friendly but insistence. By 11am I had the big boss, Ashoke, on the phone. Ashoke assured me all was in order but that they had no reply and… much was blamed on the Easter long weekend, again… You could hear the back peddling over the phone.
So many excuses made.
I believe he hand carried the application, yesterday morning, to the High Comm in PNG with a vague hope of getting things done my 2pm yesterday. And with a similar vague hope I presented myself for check-in at the airport.
I didn’t fly and lost the cut-price plane ticket.
But, insult to injury, by 9am this morning the visa was on my computer. It appears as though this new Visa Centre did not lodge my application until yesterday. And then got approval in 24 hours. All, very, very efficient… I am impressed.
A day late, an airfare lost, and a story to tell.
Don’t ya juz luv them islands?