You know those moments when you realise you’ve made a MASSIVE mistake and your stomach drops away? Like when you text someone that the text message was about, or you find you missed two pages of the exam as they were stuck together, or discover that she’s actually a ladyboy? I had one of those moments yesterday. When I was stamped into Libya, I flicked excitedly through my passport only to discover the awful truth – my visa for Algeria expired that day, 28th February, yesterday.
I have never had a visa where the validity period lasted less than a month before – this one lasted just two and a half weeks. It never even occurred to me to look. I slapped my forehead like a Keystone Cop and muttered that this was another fine mess I’ve got me into.
WHY DIDN’T I GO TO ALGERIA ON FRIDAY?!?!?
Crikey – it didn’t seem like too big of a deal then, I could go on Monday – the ferry back to Italy didn’t leave until Tuesday anyway, it made no difference, right?
Wrong. It made ALL the difference.
Damn you Algeria. Damn you to hell. As I found out last time I was here, you can’t get an Algerian visa in Tunisia unless you are resident here, otherwise it’s back to London for you, young man.
Back to London?!
I would really, really like to get this whole silly adventure finished some time this year, I really would. I can’t afford to be making cock-ups like this, Graham you looooosertic.
Despairing for what else to do, I set off for the border anyway. Perhaps they won’t notice, maybe they’ll let me in anyway (they did in Nigeria and Cameroon), perhaps they’ll agree with me that it still is 28th February. In Hawaii.
Perhaps not. After a four-hour journey to the border I was to find that no, the visa was invalid and they weren’t going to let me in for love, nor money (I offered both).
Drat and double drat.
The border guys were friendly enough though. The guy I gave my passport to, his eyes lit up when he saw I was from Liverpool and he instantly wanted to talk to me about football. There was another guy who looked a little like Peter Sellers who spoke very good English and he was chatting to me about how welcome I was in Algeria, and how good it was to have tourists again, especially ones from England… things were looking hopeful… but then the boss came out, said an emphatic NO and I was sent packing.
All that time and effort for nothing. Nothing!! The Tunisians invalidated my exit stamp and back I came. I hopped a taxi back to Tabarka, the first town after the border, and then plunged back into a louage (shared minibus) for the disheartening trip back to Tunis.
What the hell do I do now?
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Doh! keep smiling.