Once a year I wear a long-sleeved shirt. It’s the day that I have to renew my visa. The renewal is always at the whim of the immigration officials, so it’s best to look smart and act humble/polite. Of course, I also dress up because I won’t want to be confused with the flotsam and jetsam of Western society (society?) that wash up on Thailand’s shore.

The day started with a visit to the government bank where I’ve deposited a substantial sum of money to secure my visa. I simply needed two letters from them, one to show that I’d transferred money from abroad, and the other that I’d invested said substantial sum in a fixed term account. To make things easier I brought copies of last year’s letters. But nothing here is easy…

To start with, there were about 20 university students in the queue ahead of me who were opening accounts. Their tight shirts, stretched across their breasts and gaping at the gaps, were quite a distraction, as were their tight, short skirts. Heaven forfend that any one of them should ever have to bend over.

After waiting about 20 minutes one of the staff approached me to determine my business. She took my documents and spend ten minutes in a discussion with three colleagues about what needed to be done, to no avail.

Then my turn in the queue arrived, so I had to explain everything again to someone else.

To cut a long (and tedious) story short, I eventually got my letters having spend an hour on business that should have taken but a few minutes.

In the afternoon I went to the Immigration office. Hurrah! There was no queue. Less Hurrah! The official had never encountered my type of visa before and didn’t have a clue what to do. She made numerous ‘phone calls and eventually gave me the necessary stamps.

So, here I am, legal for another year.


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