Across Continents

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Waiting in line…

You could easily have mistaken the place for a doctor’s surgery. The furniture, the decor, the same uncomfortable silence, an array of pamphlets dotted about, the odd children’s toy to keep the young amused, even a small collection of videos and DVDs. I’d come to collect one of my visas for the road ahead, quite an important one at that, given it represents a sizeable geographic chunk of my route across Asia. Waiting my turn, I couldn’t help but listen in to one unfortunate make his pleading to the consular official at the reception. She seemed unmoved, but, to be fair, I wasn’t buying his rather implausible story either. I was going to be here a while.

Skipping over the pamphlets proclaiming the supposed truth about a "suicide cult" and the odd exiled religious leader, I went for what I thought would be less contentious ground. Politics. Thought I had a pretty decent grasp how that worked in this particular nation. But no. I was mistaken. A multi-party system. And there was me thinking it was a one party state. Actually, a simple but understandable oversight. Delve a bit deeper and you find one party has a hundred times more members than all the others put together – I had plenty of time to tot up the numbers – which explains how the rest normally get overlooked. Or ignored. And then it was my turn to step forward to the counter. Fingers crossed.

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