Section 127 is sharing the fruits of Empire
“This” the man declared eloquently, “no good. This wrong visa, your stay more than 72 hours. Not Transit visa. Pay £30.”
“No” insisted Vernon, I’m arriving at this time, here, and leaving here look and that is clearly less than 72 hours.”
He wondered gloomily if different time zones had different lengths of time measurement. The officious man took his application and consulted his two colleagues who were still in discussion. Another 30 minutes elapsed and the man reappeared. “Here” he said, “go there and pay.” Vernon’s gaze followed the direction of his stabbing finger. He was indicating the particular counter Vernon had begun at. “So I can apply… and pay… and settle this?” Vernon dared to ask.
“Yes, Transit Visa, Pay there” Vernon battled his way through a crowd of shiny students, threadbare paan-chewing business men, wild troglodyte new age travellers, leather –clad couriers for fast-track visa application companies and the extended Punjabi family who were struggling to placate their tetchy offspring.
Returning again to his starting point after two hours and forty minutes he resigned himself to more interrogation.
“I have approval to submit this application.” Vernon said. “It’s for a Transit Visa; £8” Pulling himself up assertively to his five foot five, he handed over a £20 note and waited.
“How long is your stay?” the cashier asked taking his money reluctantly as if it were a soiled nappy.
“Less than 72 hours” said Vernon, losing the will to live, but holding on nevertheless by instinct rather than choice.
The woman subjected his banknote to intense and resentful scrutiny, looking closely at the silver strip and said, “We are not taking £20 notes.”
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