This morning, after expensive and mysterious wranglings, I took delivery of my passport, with renewed visa.
That says that this reprobate is allowed to stay here in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam until June 1 this year.
Visa renewal is achieved here in one of three ways;
- Pay somebody who knows somebody a wad of cash to get the job done. Expensive, and a little risky, since it means sending your passport via the mail. But hassle-free, and it works.
USD$225 for three months in my case. Score one for corruption.
- Do the time-honoured ‘Visa run’, which involves leaving the target country, and returning forthwith. Slightly cheaper, but a tonne of hassle. Borders, hotels, passports, papers, planes, buses, trucks, taxis.Not for me.
- Going to the local Immigration Office and wading through enough bureaucracy to make a half-grown man cry. You should go armed with a tame Vietnamese who can translate for you, and a tonne of patience, and time. Cheap, but probably the path to madness.
So the choice is a lighter wallet, or a helluva headache. I chose the former.
Which gives me some wriggle room to finesse the cheapest flight(s) home anytime from now until then. That’s my likely reaction should my Y8 ( 8th Grade ) and Y9 students be ordered to remain home on or before our March 16 school return date.