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Setback #1

6 Sep

So it’s Tuesday, September 6 and I’m writing from Vienna. I should have been in Madagascar for the past few days, but I’ve run into some delays.

 

The problems started a few weeks ago when I was leaving the US to come back to Vienna. I had sent my passport to the Madagascar Embassy in Washington DC to obtain my special long-term visa. After a few days of processing, they mailed my passport containing the visa back to me. I waited for a week with no sign of their package and I realized that my passport was lost in the mail and was not going to show up.

 

No passport meant no boarding my flight to Vienna, so I changed my flight and spent the next week obtaining a new passport. So, only a week after I had originally planned, I finally made it back to Vienna to finish preparations for my half-a-year in the bush.

 

Now for those astute readers out there, you’ll pick up on one very important detail: I once again have a passport in hand, but this passport has no Madagascar visa within. So with a few week left before departure I had to reapply for a visa with the nearest Madagascar embassy in Berlin.

 

Having sent all of the same application materials to the Berlin embassy as I had to successfully receive a visa from the Washington DC embassy, I assumed that there would be no problem in issuing the new visa. I assumed wrong, very wrong. It was bad enough that I needed to reapply and that they couldn’t reissue the visa I had already been granted, but now they never seemed happy with my documents. Once they received my application, they informed me that I also needed a criminal record check and proof of health insurance. With the days rapidly ticking away until my trans-equatorial flight, I spent the day running around Vienna gathering up these documents for them. Once they got these docs, they wanted even more from me: proof of my funding for my Madagascar ┬áresearch.

 

With all of these delays in processing my new visa application, my passport was still with the embassy in Berlin when I was supposed to be boarding a plane to Madagascar. So once again, I delayed my flight a week to get everything in order.

 

I now have my passport and new visa in hand and I’m all packed and ready to leave this Friday. Wish me a good flight and the next update will be from the capitol of Madagascar, Antananarivo (or Tana for short).

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