This week I'm in San Francisco, while Angela is packing up the rest of her clothes and puts the last finishing touches on our Mexico trip. Yesterday and today I managed to get two more visas: India for myself and Angela, and Peru, only for myself - since she doesn't need one.
The process at the Indian consulate was very fast and painless, only that I expected to get a 5-year visa - the maximum for US permanent residents, according to their website, and a 10-year visa for Angela, as a US citizen. It turns out that the 5-year visa is not available anymore so they told me they would grant me a 6-month visa, which would have been quite useless since we would not get to India until January 2008. I explained the situation, how we are going to travel around the world, therefore we need the visa early, and the woman at the counter said, looking at my application, in a confused tone: "But... you're working for Microsoft..." It probably seemed a little odd to her that somebody would travel for so long while still employed. "Well, I'm going to quit." - "OK, we can give you a 1-year visa." Good enough, I thought, and it was also cheaper; good thing I had some cash with me, since I couldn't use the cashier's check that I had prepared for the 5-year visa.
Today it was Peru. I waited for a while in a small room with a bunch of other people. To my knowledge, I was the only person there who wasn't Peruvian. Everybody else was at the consulate either to renew their Peruvian passport or for some other legal documents concerning only Peruvians and their government. It was not unlike the atmosphere at the Romanian consulate which I visited a few weeks before. Confirming my suspicions caused by the couple of phone calls that I had with them, the ladies who were working there knew very little English, but nevertheless we managed to understand each other and she gave me a visa, valid (from what I understand) for one entry within 90 days from the date of issue, for a 30-day stay. That should cover our dates, June 20 to July 16.
But the best part of this trip is hanging out in San Francisco, spending some time with Steve, his fiancee and their friends, and wandering the streets of this beautiful city for hours. And of course, part of what makes the experience so easy and fulfilling is not having that repressed, unavowed thought that this is just a short vacation and on Monday it will all be drowned in the routine of regular life, metro-boulot-dodo - commute, job, sleep... This is just a beginning, and beginning are always fascinating.