“You come tomorrow at 11am.” That’s what the clerk told me on Saturday.
“But tomorrow is Sunday,” I said.
“You come, no problem.”
And so, there I was at the gate of District Office on Sunday, 11am. Nobody was around but of course, it was Sunday.
Then I saw the very clerk; pretending not to see me.
Me: You told me yesterday to come at 11am. Here I am…
Him: OK, you wait.
He went inside and later called me in. There was this officer.
Officer: What do u want?
Me: I need a permit to go to Khardung La, sir.
Officer: Where you from?
Officer: It is Sunday today.
Me: I know, but he asked me to come today at 11am.
Officer: You need to go to an agent.
Me: Can’t I do it myself?
Officer: No, agent will do it for you. We are closed today, it’s Sunday. And road to Khardung La is closed on Monday. You can only go on Tuesday.
Me: OK. thank you.
Finding an agent to do it for me; this part tells me that I’m going to be robbed on a broad daylight.
Finding an agent sounds so simple, literally. But going around in this small town trying to find AN AGENT, was not.
Went to 4 agents and they were all giving me the same answers, “You need to have another person to come with you..another foreigner.”
Problem is I don’t carry anybody with me; it’s just me. The minimum requirement is 2 persons per submission. They told me to find any foreigner who is in the same situation like me, who needs another foreigner to apply for the permit.
I can’t just wait and pray for that somebody to come, can I?
So, I went around until I found this one agency.
“No problem, we can do it for you. Fill-in this form.”
So I filled in the form and later was told to come the next day at 9.30am. And they need my passport to do it. OK to me.
All done and out I was for early dinner and came back fast for early bed. Warmed myself under thick blanket. It was snowing outside and I was shivering like crazy. Crazy that my teeth chattered. But funny thing was, I slept to the sound it.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Had a good of everything in the freezing temperature; good rest, good sleep and good hot shower. Went out for breakfast and later to the agency and waited till 9.45am. Office still closed. A guy from shop next door told me to go and have some tea and come back in half hour. This is Indian time, he said. Bummer! I totally forgot about that.
After some tea, I went to the agency again. “Sorry brother, we can’t do it for you. You have to find another agent,” the agent said. D’oh!
Process started all over again. Went to search another agent and finally found one who was willing to do it. Slightly higher fee…but that’s OK with me as long I get my permit. “You come back at 4pm. Leave your passport with me and fill up this form,” he instructed. I obeyed and off I went roaming about the small town for some pictures. I wanted to go and get some cash but as I didn’t have my passport, I have to wait until 4pm.
And there was the rain again and light snow.
Went to collect my permit and passport. Finally! Was in a list with a stranger but that’s so OK long as I got my permit. Weehoo!
Gonna be here for few days more…got my financial issue settled.
Back in my room and all set for the next journey.
Here is me, Khoda Hafez.