Across Continents

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The Great Game

I’d met Charles in his basement office, hidden behind a small door beneath an apartment block in the suburbs of Malta’s Capital, Valletta. He’d listened intently as I’d explained my project, elaborating on the few brief details I’d given on the phone a few hours earlier. My predicament, I added, was that I needed some help obtaining all the requisite documentation to secure the various visas for Asia. Could he help, I asked? Yes, he said, smiling.

Much of Asia can be fraught with difficulty when it comes to obtaining visas, especially so as an independent traveller crossing from country to country. Success depends as much on the whim of Consular staff, the odd extra fee paid in crisp notes, and knowing the correct answer to the questions. It’s a bit of a game. Get it wrong and you could have months of detouring. There are rules of course. Never, ever lie. Ever. Countries have borders, I have boundaries. But, remember, plans do change, so what’s true today may not necessarily be so the next. Disingenuous? Maybe. Dishonest? No.

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