One of the things you hold on most when you are traveling is your passport. Oh, how I hate when checking in a hostel they want to keep it “safe” during your stay! Even if it is just an hour in order to make photocopies, I get nervous knowing it lays in other hands than mine. So, just imagine leaving is to an embassy for 24 hours! (it happened to me in Sri Lanka for my Indian visa)
And now imagine being separated of your only identification form for 10 DAYS in a foreign country… That is what just happened to me. 10 days wandering around Kolkata undocumented (!)
A Visa To Bangladesh
The procedure to get the visa was really unclear. I had read tons of travelers’ blogs and official embassy websites, and each statement was different. So I ventured directly to the visa office for confirmation. I have been told there that I needed to fill an online form on https://www.visa.gov.bd/ and bring it printed, along with my passport and three passport-size picture.
I do not know why everything seems to always go wrong between me and the visas, but I guess that is my karma and I will deal with it. So Apparently, there was a separate window for the foreigners, but I missed it and dove directly in the crowd of Indians as if I missed the Nicobar’s waiting queues back in Chennai… (refer to my article ….)
Although I had read online testimonials of travelers saying that the procedure was relatively fast, it took 10 days to process my visa from the moment I submitted my documents to the office! 10 days wandering around Kolkata undocumented…(!)
In the end, everything went very smoothly (when I think about the Bangladeshis willing to travel to Switzerland, I feel like crying of shame). I got my passport back yesterday evening, and after paying for it, I finally discovered the visa between its’ pages as I was standing in the middle of the crowd on the street. I started tearing of happiness. I got it. Visiting Bangladesh is my dream, and it is going to come true.
But the majority of westerners always ask me: Why Bangladesh? Why are you so obsessed with this country? What is there to see over there?
And obviously, have they thing to say about it… Don’t go! Go to Nepal instead! Go to Bhutan! Go to South East Asia! Or just stay in India! You’re crazy! It is not safe! Are you going alone?? You’re a girl! It’s a Muslim country! Don’t go, or at least don’t go alone!
The others always know better. None of these people have stepped a foot in Bangladesh, but there are afraid of it. Because it is the unknown. It doesn’t have such a tourist infrastructure like the countries around it, it is off the “Gringo Trail”, it is not backpacker friendly and because no one ever speaks about Bangladesh, not even the media. The forgotten little country surrounded by India and Myanmar.
That is why I am going there. I want to see it. I want to witness it. I want to write about it. I want to feel it.
So YES, I am a GIRL and YES, I am traveling ALONE and NO, I am NOT AFRAID!!!
Because shit can happen anywhere. Shit can happen in your own country, in your own town and even in front of your own house.
Because I am not afraid of other cultures or religions.
Because I believe people are good.
Because good girls go to heaven, and rebels go wherever they want.