Go There & Back Dave & LeeAnne Travel the World in 2007

Papers Please

Passport Please
Passport Please

One of the more frustrating things here in India has been the India love affair with red tape. Fair warning to all those who come to visit: memorize your passport number. You will need to produce it at many (unexpected)turns. Like buying a train ticket, or booking a room in a hotel, or – most frustrating – getting online.

Producing your passport number at the train station is really just the tip of the iceberg. We also had to provide our home addresses in the US, our addresses in India and our ages …to get on the train!

Booking a room at a hotel can also be challenging: at one establishment both LeeAnne and I had to produce our passports, our Indian tourist visa numbers, the dates of issue and expiration for both and our home address and telephone number. I was half worried I’d need to call home and get my Mom to give me the date of my first day in kindergarten! All this to stay in a room for two nights. India, I implore you…

Here’s the rub. I would expect an eye for detail if we were traveling in say Germany or Austria, but this is India! It’s kind of crazy here. On the way to an internet cafe in Mumbai – where I had to give the guy at the front desk my Passport, Visa number and home address in the US just to use the internet – we saw:

  • A dog fight in the middle of a busy street
  • Cows holding up rush hour traffic
  • A woman in her Sari holding a new-born baby in one hand and a baboon on a leash in the other. That was crazy, but here’s the thing – she wasn’t trying to get anyones attention, she was just chillin. That’s her life.

So there’s all this insanity going on outside, but this guy needs my passport number to get online? Please explain!