Allow me to begin with a reverse disclaimer for a very reverse racist post. I have many European friends, of all nationalities, including Germany. I find Europeans individually can be enlightened and thoughtful and engaged and opeminded. But as a unit…
So I’m going to Germany in June (wheeeeee! Especially because I get to travel with my NYC soulmate WHEEEEE) and I had to go get a visa. Now, it’s been a long time since I applied for a Schengen–2007–and things have only gotten more psychotic in the intervening years. I must add that I applied that time in the White Passport land of New York and this time in the Brown Passport land of Delhi.* So okay, you no longer allow electronic devices inside the embassy. It’s a bit much in a world that’s rapidly switching to tablets and smartphones for entertainment when made to wait in ahem long lines, but I guess you don’t want people yakking away on their phones while you make them wait around and theoretically it’s all Security. You’re even nice enough to let us keep our stuff at the other gate, the staff gate.
There’s a new utterly ridiculous rule about getting an appointment with the MAYOR to get your letter of invitation and support notarized when you invite someone to visit you in a schengen country. The workaround is also ridiculously easy, show proof of hotel reservations. Seriously. Make a reservation, pay no money and cancel it immediately–that’s a better way to keep track of where I am than telling you the names of the friends I have in your country. Yes truly brilliant.
But you know, I get it. The world is complicated and you need your processes. Sure. You even employ local consular officials! Amazing! I’m impressed.
You ask me to come back between 2 and 230pm in MAY to collect my passport. On a weekday. When it’s 43 degrees and blaring sun. When you don’t have anywhere for me to sit. When you don’t have the passports ready and alphabetized so you can find them easily. “Madam I’m still waiting for a batch of stamped passports. Please wait.” When you refuse to give us the option to have the passport couriered to us, which we are happy to pay for and Blue Dart is happy to do.
The kicker though: No you cannot bring anything in. Ok fine, we’ll walk to the other gate. In the blazing sun. Guard at other gate mutters into walkie talkie and says no, he didn’t send anyone here to leave their belongings. Please ask him again, tell him it’s the three women who were standing right outside the gate and said ok sir we’ll go drop our stuff off at the other gate. No. He says he didn’t send you. So then walk back to first gate (please remember the 43 degree heat) in understandably a bit of snit only to have first guard say BUT YOU NEVER SAID YOU WERE GOING I THOUGHT YOU WERE OFF TO YOUR CAR. Refrain from punching him and tell him to fucking radio the fucking guard already. Walk BACK to the other gate. drop off your cell phone. Walk back to the first gate. Go inside. to be met by scatty lady who says oh wait for your passport. It is now 230pm. Who’s willing to BET that if I’d showed up at 230pm they’d have told me to fuck off and return another day?
FINALLY get passport. walk back to other gate to retrieve phone and kindle. Hope fervently that all immunodeficient Germans inside have now got your virulent tonsillitis of the inferior citizenship that cannot be trusted to deposit a cell phone.
Not that the Spanish embassy in NY was much better. Still we were sitting on the carpeted floor inside a building, and they allowed us to take things inside. I can’t imagine the OUTRAGE any European would express at being treated like this at an Indian embassy. Wait on the road. No how DARE you sit under the tree in front of the gate. Keep your distance until I call you. I don’t care if it’s hot enough to cook your brains. Ok you can come in. No, run around in circles and leave your entertainment somewhere else. Now just wait. outdoors. Without drinking water.
No, we cannot treat them like this because they are better than us. The fundamental problem with Europe is its deepseated conviction that it is the greatest place with the greatest culture and thus it is the cradle of civilization. After all Europe went forth and ‘civilized’ Africa, India and the Americas. Europe invented science. Europe inventes colonialism AND postcolonialism. Oh you Philistines who don’t appreciate unpasteurised cheese or Verdi or siestas. And the reason I think this consular visit shows that? Who are the people who don’t need visas to visit the Schengen countries? Think about it. What colour are THEIR passports?
*Spare me the ‘but my passport is blue durrrrr’ comments please