Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Taxi Drivers, Immigration Officers, and Jetlag

As we were leaving the airport, the taxi driver asked me if I liked India. I said I've only been here ten minutes. That was a lie. Firstly because I'd waited half an hour for another taxi driver to find him. He was in a restaurant or something. I'd paid in advance in the terminal so I couldn't jump in another taxi. Then, secondly, earlier I'd had an immigration officer who only reluctantly took my passport. She even went to pick up her newspaper again before resigning to the fact of my existence (and her job). When she did look at my passport she said "Broadhead" then laughed, and the smile didn't leave her face for the full two minutes I was in front of her. I made her day complete when she repeated the refrain "Broadhead [laughter]" as she stamped my entry date. I wanted to ask her what her surname was, but I didn't want to get back on the next plane to Cairo.

A week earlier the immigration officer at Cairo airport (actually both of them -- inbound and outbound) thought it amusing to question my intelligence. I bought a Egyptian tourist visa for 80 pounds at a strategically placed stall in the terminal. When I handed it to the immigration officer with my passport, he said "Why didn't you stick it in your passport?" As if I knew I was supposed to do so because I come here every day. He continued by demonstrating how to do it by peeling off its waxed back ... "Look, magic". 

[The photo is of a Mumbai taxi or two, taken from a Mumbai taxi (though not on the day of my arrival). Taken with my Nikon D80 and fitted with a Sigma 10-20mm. May 2008.]