Date: November 4, 2016.
Day: D 230 Day
(It happened during in Shenzen (close to Chinda Hong Kong HK border) during August 25 to 31)
I was Shenzhen then and next plan was to Hong Kong. Indian passport holders do not require visa for Hong Kong so I was cool. But when I reached to China – Hong Kong border, HK border authorities denied me entry saying I did not book accommodation. I had to come back to Shenzen in China. The worst was, my Chinese visa was supposed to expire in flat eight days.
For three days, I was studying how to buy a plane tickets to Australia. I was searching for direct flight tickets. There was no direct flight from China to Australia and I was afraid of transit issues. I do not want to spend additional money on transit visa.
I’m a man of land. I can tell you all tricks about how to cross land borders but international flight, was not my cup of tea.
I called couples of friends who cover airports for Indian newspapers. The more we discussed the more got complicated. I got paralyzed through analysis.
Even after three days, the discussion was heading nowhere. It was bit of tense, not for me. But my friends and sister was worried. I have deficit of tension factor. I cannot feel tension.
I used to frighten only when I’m taking power nap in afternoon and meanwhile if my grandpa or my former editor Carole Andrade happen to shout at me. That is frightening for me.
Since, I did not have Chinese mobile number so totally depend upon WiFi. On Whats App, I requested my friends to book a ticket for me. Most of them said “Vishnu take this Rs.20,000 and buy ticket through agents.”
One more fear factor was that there are at least four cities named Perth in Canada, UK US and one is in Australia. If you made mistake while booking ticket all Rs.20,000 gone with wind.
My journey rule is no agent. So far, I never went to agent to buy ticket or get visa or cross border, even in the “affected” of North East and Myanmar. All I did independently or with help of friends.
We had only 5 days to expire my Chinese visa. Chinese authorities had already extended my visa and for sure, they will not extend it now. Even, if I want to extend, the due date was over. Visa extension application should be done at least eight working days in advance. Tension was rising. Everyone was tensed, except me. I was worried for my mother and one of the sisters. Doctor had advised them to be cool.
On Friday afternoon, I got text from Indian origin Australian citizen Rajesh Pawar asking about progress of my travel plan. He had already helped me on other fronts. I told him all progress and ended up at plane ticket. Honestly, I told me my problem in booking flights tickets.
He asked me, when do I want to fly? I told him that my visa will expire Thursday so I want before that. He asked how is Tuesday? I said good.
Then he asked to read my name on passport, I did. He sent me two flight options and I said one of them is ok because it was midnight flight from Shenzhen and it will reach 3pm in Perth, both timings were convenient for intra city transport. He went off line so I went to washroom.
When I came back from washroom, the ticket was in my mail box. I was frightened not surprised! For one week we were worried, doing research, talking to experts about flight tickets and transit visa and he did it in flat three minutes.
Normally, it takes 45 minutes for me to book a railway ticket. I check, recheck and cross check several times. I told my friends that flight ticket is booked, even she had same reaction like mine. They bombarded me with questions. I noted their questions and forwarded to Rajesh. He replied all questions in one line with a smile.
I resend him transit visa question “Does Indian passport need transit of Malaysia as I have to change flight?” He said ‘NO’. I forward reply to my friend. She said that Rajesh might have Australian passport and not Indian. Again third time, I forward same question to him. He said “Just cool. Pack your bags. In case of problem, ring me. Happy journey!”
He had written one more line which we saw later. It says “Flight ticket is gift for your journey”. If anyone gifts you flight tickets to Australia naturally, you feel very very very very happy. But I was not because that moment mine and my friends’ minds were engrossed with worries of Malaysian Transit Visa.
Till the journey day, we were reading Malasiyan visa guidelines, writing emails to Malasian authorities and friends who are working in airlines. On the other hand, Rajesh was relaxed. And that is difference between having experience and not.
Thank you very much for your kind help, Rajesh and Neha Pawar. It helped me to extend my journey from Asia to Australia.