Remembering things I’d forgotten…

Posted By: gypsy on Jul 23, 2011 in Africa, Education, Mali

So I am leaving for the Philippines on Tuesday. After several flights and random jaunts/connects through the Middle East and N. Africa, I’m headed for Mali. Mali requires a visa. And since there’s not a lot of time now, even using expedition services, I decided to give the Malian embassy a call.

What the hell, I’m already in DC, right? Here’s more or less how it went:

12:59pm
Fax machine picks up, sounds annoyed.

1pm
Embassy: Hello?
Me: um… Hello?
Embassy: Yes?
Me: Is this “The Embassy”?
Embassy: Yes, it is.
Me: Great! I have a visa question. Can you connect me to the Consular’s Office?
Embassy: Yes. Hold on a minute.

*Series of automated connections, messages and beeps, finally resulting in the American-Malian Diplomatic Relations Machine giving up and hanging up on me.*

1:03pm
Embassy: Hello?
Me: Er… Hello?
Embassy: Yes?
Me: Is this “The Embassy”?
Embassy: Yes, it is.
Me: Great! I have a visa question. Can you connect me to the Consular’s Office?
Embassy: No. Can you call back later?
Me: Of course I can.

1:40pm
Embassy: Embassy of Mali
Me: Er… Hello?
Embassy: Yes?
Me: Hi, I have a visa question. Can you connect me to the Consular’s Office?
Embassy: Yes, hold please.
Consulat: Hello?
Me: Hi. I’m calling because I need to get a visa for Mali, but I won’t be coming in from the States. In fact, I’m leaving on Tuesday for the Philippines and…
Consulat: Excuse me!
Me: Yes?
Consulat: We are on our break. Can you call back in an hour?
Me: Of course I can.

2:40pm
Embassy: “Thank you for calling the Embassy of Mali. For English, press 1…”
Me: 1.
Embassy: “To speak to the Consular’s Office, press 3…”
Me: 3.
Consulat: “Hi, this is the Consulat, Mme. Suchandsuch. I’m not available so please leave me a message. Beep. Sorry, we can’t take messages. For English, press 1…”
Me: 1.
Embassy: “Hi, this is the Receptionist, M. Suchandsuch. I’m not available so please leave me a message. Beep. Sorry, we can’t take messages. For English, press 1…”

*Once again, the American-Malian Diplomatic Relations Machine gives up and hangs up on me before I have a chance to proceed.*

3:28pm
Embassy: Hello?
Me: Hello?
Embassy: Yes?
Me: Embassy?
Embassy: In the flesh.
Me: Great! I have a visa question. Can you connect me to the Consular’s Office?
Embassy: She has left for the day.
Me: Of course she has.

4:02pm
Embassy: Hello?
Me: Hi, Embassy.
Embassy: Yes?
Me: I still have this visa question. I’m going to be traveling from the Philippines, ultimately to Mali, and I need to arrange a visa in about 24 hours. Or if it’s possible in the airport… Will the Consular be coming back on Monday perhaps?
Embassy: She has left for the day, but she should be back Monday. You’re going to the Philippines?
Me: Yes.
Embassy: I’m from the Philippines.
Me: Of course you are.
Embassy: Why don’t you just come in Monday morning? They can do it for you right then.
Me: Of course they can.

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