Behind the counters pot-bellied men wearing button up shirts, shiny badges and khaki pants sit sipping tea, chatting. Their feet are propped on desks. A few lady administrators sit behind large stacks of money. They yawn, look at their nails. Meanwhile, a handful of young scruffy westerners sit on plastic waiting-room chairs, vulnerable.
As I wait, I jot down a list of ingredients that must be universal to immigration offices, particularly in the developing world:
- yawning ladies behind desks
- pot bellied men with mustaches
- scrawny men in blue uniforms by door
- 2 -5 flies buzzing
- peeling paint
- young westerners with large faded backpacks, sandals and sunburns. seemingly malnourished.
- a few older tourist couples – man wears Hawaian-type shirt, pants that can zip off into shorts, woman has a fanny pack, short hair, guidebook in hand
- cracked plastic waiting room seats
- foggy/stained plexi-glass barriers at each counter
- exorbitant visa fees (to pay for all the salaries)
- drips in the corner
- rusty, crooked filing cabinets
- smell of must
Please add any I’ve missed. There are bound to be more.