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Great holmertz 2021-06-13 6:35

Hello Kasia,
Thank you very much for the dedication. It's a nice gift. ;-) I could have too many bananas, I only eat them for emergencies. But looking at them, and a mountain of guavas, is always a pleasure. I really like the rather typical Indian background too. In the WS I notice the shop offering plane and bus tickets. You wouldn't have found that kind of travel agency in Agra or anywhere else a few decades ago, when buying any kind of tickets was a very complicated matter.
Kind regards,
Gert

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Old 06-13-2021, 01:53 PM
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Thank you for you comments Gert!
These days you can book a train ticket online, fly budget airlines and get an electronic visa to travel to India. It changes at a mind-blowing speed.
Best wishes
Kasia
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Old 06-13-2021, 07:19 PM
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Hello Kasia and Gert,


My experience during my two most recent trips to the south of India was that booking train travel online was more complicated than in other countries.
In addition, all sleeping places are reserved well in advance (more than a month). You will then be placed on a waiting list. Since the cost of canceling until a few hours before departure is minimal, places do indeed become available. One books and cancels because this involves little costs. But you can't be sure until the last hours ... unless of course you just want to travel overnight with a regular seat.

Booking plane tickets with low-cost Indian airlines went very smoothly.

The online visa application form was the most comprehensive I've ever seen.
Compared to my online visa applications for Laos and Cambodia, it seemed like I had to put together an extensive file for India.
Among other things, they kept coming back with questions whether I, my parents, my grandparents ever had a Pakistani nationality.

The arrival forms at Mumbai airport were also extremely slow and poorly organised.
But I admit that this was also the same at JFK Airport in NYC this in stark contrast to for instance the international airport of Bangkok, where also many travellers depart and arrive and everything went very smoothly ...

Kind regards,
Paul
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:25 PM
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Default Booking transport in India

Hi Paul
This is what I mean by "a big beaurocratic country"... :-D I think since Mumbai attacks, they also ask if your great grand parents were Sri Lankan (cos you could be a European Tamil Tiger). I had a pleasure to apply for an Indian visa in 2012. Same ridiculous questions, but I had to get up very early, twice, and queue from 6 am, to be able to submit my application and then collect my passport before going to work. So my online application in 2020 still felt like a breeze.
I have applied online for visas to Australia, Turkey, Burma and a few others and yes, those were much simpler processes.
I booked one of the trains (Amritsar-Agra) online, two months before I travelled. It was a bit cumbersome but at least it worked (in Bangladesh, for example, you need to have a national ID to book trains online). I booked the Agra-Delhi train on arrival at Agra station, two days before travel. It was very easy. But may be more difficult during tourist season. I had read though that they always keep some seats for foreigners till the last moment. And I wasn't too worried as there are also lots of buses from Agra to Delhi.
The rest of my domestic transfers were with the budget airline called Indigo. As you say, as straightforward to book as Easyjet or Ryanair.
No, I take it back. Ryanair is much worse these days.
Best wishes
Kasia
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:35 PM
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Hello Kasia and Paul,
In 2009 I was in a town called Jorhat in Assam state. When I saw a travel agency offering flight tickets I went inside just to see what services they could offer. I asked if I could buy a ticket from Dibrugarh (further up the road) to Guwahati three days later. 'Sure'. And could I buy a ticket from Guwahati to Calcutta another few days later? 'Sure'. In a few minutes I had both tickets (and no need for reconfirmation, which used to be a plague in India) and payed with a credit card. I was totally shocked. ;-)
Gert
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:39 PM
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Hello K, G and P,

I was in India in 2004 and in 2009. I have no memories of Indian visas, probably I had just to go to the Embassy. But in 2004 I travelled a lot by trains and it was always a problem because one had to buy them well in advance. But if I asked in the hotel, they were able to organize it for a small fee. In 2009, after a few days, I rented a car with the driver and in the whole of Rajasthan the problem of transportation was solved, also the driver knew the hotels and restaurants.
Visa online is a fantastic solution. There were no such visas when I went to Burma. I sent the passport by post and then was very nervous if it wouldn't be lost. They sent it to me back just by the ordinary post. The most complicated was the Australian visa, 15 pages or so. But it was free. I have problems meeting conditions for a photo for a Kazakhstan visa. I was quite desperate, finally, my son somehow fixed it.
Best regrads MAlgo
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:34 PM
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Default Booking transport in India

That reminds me... for the Indian visa, in 2012, there was a THREE A4 page instruction on how to take a photo to submit with the application! For the Burma online visa, on the other hand, they requested a photo not older than 3 months. That meant I would have to have a new photo taken (I hate having "passport" photos of me taken and avoid it like plague). So I found an old passport photo, took a photo of the photo with my digital camera and sent with the application... :-D
Now, about paying for flights with a credit card... In 2017, while in Tanzania, I was thinking of booking a flight from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam (as I was rapidly running out of time to catch my flight back to Europe from Dar). I was shocked, as I entered a modern air-conditioned office and was told "cash only". I had to travel by bus (scheduled 12 hours that turned into actual 30 hours) and still got there on time, less than a day before my flight.
Have a nice weekend All!
Kasia
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:37 PM
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Default Booking transport in India

That reminds me... for the Indian visa, in 2012, there was a THREE A4 page instruction on how to take a photo to submit with the application! For the Burma online visa, on the other hand, they requested a photo not older than 3 months. That meant I would have to have a new photo taken (I hate having "passport" photos of me taken and avoid it like plague). So I found an old passport photo, took a photo of that photo with my digital camera and sent with the application... :-D
Now, about paying for flights with a credit card... In 2017, while in Tanzania, I was thinking of booking a flight from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam (as I was rapidly running out of time to catch my flight back to Europe from Dar). I was shocked, as I entered a modern air-conditioned office and was told "cash only". I had to travel by bus (scheduled 12 hours that turned into actual 30 hours) and still got there on time, less than a day before my flight.
Have a nice weekend All!
Kasia
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:21 AM
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Hi,


" In 2017, while in Tanzania" - we haven't seen any photos from Tanzania!
And from some other countries as well
How do they know how old is the photo? (of course, you can't use the same as in other documents, for instance for passport). Now, the good option is that an often online visa is just on a piece of paper. Important when visit in one country excludes the visit in another. I have no trace of my visit to Iran in my passport, important if I would like to go to the USA. But what if they ask me: Have you been to Iran? To lie or to tell the truth? It is just theoretical consideration at the moment.
32 deg in Warsaw
Have a nice weekend

Malgo
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:32 PM
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Default Booking transport in India

Yes Malgo, you're right... Tanzania, Indonesia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Israel, Costa Rica... I have been to some 75 countries and only about 50 of them feature on my TE profile. But I'm improving! :-)
I'm not sure I would lie to US immigration. I might have to one day, as Alaska is on my travel list. :-D When I was applying for Bangladeshi visa, I got into a friendly chat with the consulate official who I'd just handed my passport and application form to. He asked, as if concerned about my safety, if I had been to Bangladesh before and if I knew anyone there. I answered I didn't know anyone there (which was kind of true, but only kind of, as I was, among all, visiting the family of a person I work with in the UK) and said I knew I would be ok as I had visited most of the countries in the region. "Ah, so you like to travel", said he. "Have you been to Israel?".
Alarm bells rang... I had been to Israel only 5 months earlier. Strictly speaking, it was not FORBIDDEN to travel to Bangladesh after having visited Israel but... I had read, on this very consulate's webpage, that it was not permitted for the citizens of Israel to travel to Bangladesh - an obvious sign of not so friendly relationship between the two countries. So I decided it was not prudent to admit I had just been there. Instead of lying (again) I chose to say: "Why would one want to go there??"
Better still, I visited IRAN 4 months after my visit to Israel. Having more than one passport is a blessing. In Israel, they don't stamp your passport, they give you a temporary ID card instead. But, as I was leaving Israel on foot, Jordanian Immigration Office decided to stamp my passport thus creating evidence where I had crossed the border. As I landed in Shiraz, Iranian immigration searched a lot of people but I, with my humble rucksack, was just waved through. As I unpacked my luggage in the hotel, I realised with a shock that I had a career bag covered in Hebrew alphabet - apparently enough to secure a return flight home straight from the arrival airport (a procedure referred to as "deportation". :-)
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:17 PM
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Hi Kasia,

Funny story about the career bag with the Hebrew alphabet.

That reminds me of a real story.
A former Flemish colleague of mine bears the family name 'Guns'.
It is an existing family name in Flanders that may not be very common, but it does not seem strange here.
The pronunciation (and the meaning) in Dutch are different from how an English speaker would pronounce (and understand) it.

Years ago that colleague paid a visit to the USA and her name was mentioned in a fairly large size on her suitcase.
Everything went smoothly during the outward journey, but her suitcase caused quite a stir at the return airport

All the best!
Paul
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