Just over a week ago, I was up in Taipei without any of my official documents, trying to coordinate travel dates and arrangements with "M" for a trip to Bangalore, India. Thus started the flurry of phone calls and emails between "M", myself and my travel agent in Kaohsiung. After discussing all the different dates and scenarios, it still didn't seem real when my travel agent reserved flights for me. She said she'd confirm everything and arrange for payment when she returned from Korea nearly a week later.
Today I was feeling relieved that my visa was going to get done in time. I was all set but then we ran into a slight snag. Though all of my documents will arrive at the embassy later today (Tuesday), my paperwork won't get reviewed until Wednesday and for some reason the Indian Embassay would be closed on Thursday, so my visa wouldn't be ready until Friday.
Therein lay the problem. My friend was sending my passport up through another travel agent (mine being on vacation). After picking up my passport and visa on Friday the travel agent couldn't guarantee sending it back down right away since Saturday is Lunar New Year's Eve. Basically at the close of business on Friday, the travel agent and most businesses would be officially on vacation and they'd remain closed until the following Wednesday! That is just days before I'm supposed to depart (on February 3rd!) I tell you, everything here stops for the Lunar New Year!
I was in a panic. It was ridiculous to think I might have to actually personally go up to Taipei just to get this done! Fortunately, I remembered that I had a friend "F" up in Taipei who had mentioned that she would be coming down to Kaohsiung for a visit on the 1st of February. So I called her and asked her to do me the favor of intercepting my passport and bringing it down for me next week- just days before my slated date of departure!
I knew that I could count on "F"! What are friends for?! Boy am I ever glad for this coincidence. No one ever comes down to Kaohsiung for a visit- they just always say they're coming, but never seem to make it. Two consecutive cancellations around the holidays in December come to mind...